The Scoop: News & Blog

The Seniors Helping Seniors® Greater Richmond story continues to evolve, and we’re excited to share with you all the ways we’re growing our mission! As we regularly add chapters to our beautiful care narrative, we invite you to check in often for our latest blogs, news and tips on how we’re Bringing Love into the lives of Seniors with Dignity and Respect®.

Spread Love & Kindness: 5 Ways To Recognize Seniors Helping Seniors® Caregivers

Seniors Helping Seniors® 23 Feb 2024

Even though Valentine’s Day has passed, there are no rules on when you can show gratitude toward those who matter most. Throughout the year, Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services demonstrate that Love is in our Care®. We do this with heartfelt acts of service and compassion. Our caregivers work tirelessly to provide exceptional assistance to seniors nationwide, and we cannot thank them enough for their hard work!

To show our appreciation, we’ve compiled a list of five simple yet thoughtful ways to help you surprise your or your loved one’s Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver. These ideas will allow you to acknowledge their commitment and show how much you value and appreciate their service.

1.      Write A Personalized Card

Crafting a tailored card is an easy but also profound way to express gratitude to your Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver. Write down specific instances in which they made a difference in your life and let them know how much you appreciate their dedication. Whether it’s store-bought or homemade, a heartfelt card can convey genuine emotions and make your caregiver feel truly valued on this special day.

2.      Give A Small Token Of Appreciation

Small gestures can leave a lasting impression, so consider giving your caregiver a thoughtful gift that reflects your gratitude. It could be something as simple as a handcrafted item, a personalized trinket, or a homemade sweet treat. These small tokens of appreciation are tangible reminders of how much you care, and they’ll make your caregiver feel cherished and recognized for their hard work.

3.      Plan A Friendly Outing

Spending quality time together outside of the home can be a great way to express your appreciation and foster a deeper connection with your Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver. Plan a “friend date” where you can enjoy a casual lunch, a relaxing coffee break, or even a visit to a local attraction. By making plans to spend time together, you can connect personally and create joyous memories that strengthen your relationship.

4.      Make A Care Package

Assembling a thoughtful care package with items catering to your caregiver’s well-being is another way to show your gratitude. Include scented candles, soothing teas, or a cozy blanket to create a relaxing atmosphere. Or put together a basket with their favorite candies and treats! Make this care package even more meaningful by adding a personalized note expressing your thanks.

5.      Perform An Act Of Kindness

Finally, kind acts can be a powerful way to display your appreciation. Whether it’s extending a heartfelt compliment, brewing your caregiver’s favorite coffee, or planning an activity together at home, these small acts of kindness show that you recognize their hard work and want to make their day a little brighter.

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Boost Brainpower: Eight Seniors Helping Seniors® Games For Better Mental Agility

Seniors Helping Seniors® 17 Jan 2024

While physical fitness is crucial for seniors’ health, nurturing one’s mind is equally as important. Brain exercises enhance cognitive abilities, memory, and focus, similar to how diverse workouts target specific muscle groups. At Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services, we understand the unique needs of our clients in the Northeast. That’s why we’ve gathered eight enjoyable memory games designed to improve mental skills and keep the mind agile. Read on to discover these delightful, brain-boosting activities and let’s play!

Jigsaw Puzzles

Solving jigsaw puzzles can enhance visual-spatial skills and improve problem-solving abilities. Connecting pieces of different shapes and colors tests patience and sharpens an individual’s eye for detail.

Simon Says

Playing Simon Says, a classic childhood game, encourages active listening and short-term memory. It’s a fun way to exercise one’s ability to follow instructions accurately while encouraging quick thinking and coordination. Partner up with a Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver and give it a try!

Trivia

Answering trivia questions is a great way for seniors to test their knowledge of different subjects, while also learning new facts and improving memory. Looking for a topic? Consider exploring the Northeast’s history, geography, and local culture. Challenge friends, family, or a caregiver to a few rounds and see who wins the title of ultimate trivia champ!

Crossword Puzzles or Sudoku

Completing crossword puzzles and Sudoku challenges vocabulary, logic, and problem-solving skills. Tricky brain teasers promote mental agility and are a delightful, accessible way to keep the mind sharp and active.

Word Recall

Word Recall is a fun game that involves remembering and reciting words. To start the game, pick a word. Next, each player takes turns adding a new word that begins with the last letter of the previous word. For example, if the first word is “apple,” the next could be “elephant,” and so on. This simple game is an engaging way to improve language processing and recall.

Chess or Checkers

Challenge a Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver to a game of chess or checkers! Strategy games demand critical thinking, planning, and foresight. Playing a few rounds hones analytical skills and enhances concentration and decision-making abilities — all from the comfort of home.

Name That Tune

How well do you or your senior loved one know your favorite songs? Our clients can test their music knowledge with this enjoyable recall game. To get started, have a Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver play a few seconds of a song and try to guess the title and who sings it. Studies show that music can stimulate the part of the brain responsible for memory and emotion. Not to mention, hearing familiar tunes can also bring back positive feelings of nostalgia.

Memory Tray

Improve short-term memory using items found around the house. Participants will need a partner for this one — a Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver makes the perfect teammate! Start by asking them to place some items on a tray or tabletop. Study the pieces for a minute or two and then have them remove the objects. Afterward, try to recall as many items as possible. This game is an interactive way to challenge attention, concentration, and visual-spatial abilities.

These memory games are specifically tailored to engage seniors, providing enjoyable moments of connection while challenging their minds. Activities like playing word games or testing analytical skills can boost brain function, improve cognitive skills, and enhance seniors’ overall mental acuity. When paired with Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services, mental agility training enables seniors to live their golden years to the fullest potential, while staying connected to their community and their roots.

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Remembering 2023: Preserve The Year’s Cherished Moments With Seniors Helping Seniors® In-Home Care Services

Seniors Helping Seniors® 18 Dec 2023

Every passing year leaves behind its own set of special memories. The Seniors Helping Seniors® family loves helping those we serve to reflect on the past and document its most meaningful parts. The result is a tangible keepsake showcasing our clients’ treasured moments and personal growth.

From scrapbooking, organizing digital files, and creating memory boxes to journaling and expressing through art, we’ll explore various ways to reflect on the past year’s experiences below. Whether looking to capture the significant events that brought joy or the small moments that warmed the heart, Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers can help you or a senior loved one create a beautiful picture of the year gone by.

Document Valued Moments in a Journal

Writing down thoughts, experiences, and emotions at the end of the year is a personal time capsule, providing a vivid account of cherished memories for seniors to revisit and reflect upon. Through journaling, you or a family member can remember highlights, challenges, and personal growth encountered throughout the year in a reflective and meaningful medium.

Capture Memories with Scrapbooking

Transform treasured memories into tangible keepsakes by creating a personalized scrapbook. Artistically compile photographs, mementos, written anecdotes, and other important items in a book or binder to share with loved ones. This creative outlet helps you reflect on your or your special senior’s life, showcasing the resilience, joy, and beauty in everyday experiences.

Create a Personal Time Capsule

Gather special items from the year, like souvenirs, letters, and trinkets, to make a curated collection of memories. It’s like a treasure chest full of important moments, stories, and emotions, enabling seniors to touch the past in a meaningful way.

Organize Digital Files

Thoughtfully arrange digital photos, videos, and documents to keep them safe and accessible. Sorting digital files can bring back beautiful moments and feelings from the past, eliciting happy memories whenever seniors need a little nostalgia.

Chart The Year’s Journey

Create a visual map or timeline of places visited, events attended, or experiences had during the year. This guide allows seniors to trace their journey, giving them a clear picture of the special moments they’ve cherished.

Express Memories with Art

Artistic endeavors like painting, drawing, or crafting let seniors creatively show their feelings and memories. Use different materials to make something unique and forever capture a favorite moment.

Share The Experience!

The only thing better than walking down memory lane is doing it with a good friend, like a Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver. No matter which method you or your loved one uses to document 2023, there are so many opportunities to share stories and form closer connections along the way! Whether it is a tale of triumph, disappointment, or a story that always gets a laugh, our caregivers love learning about the events that make our clients who they are.

As the year draws to a close, the Seniors Helping Seniors® team recognizes that the power of journaling, scrapbooking, and creating becomes ever more apparent. These aren’t just creative outlets; they’re time capsules of a year lived fully. As we turn the page to a new year, try implementing one of these creative avenues into your routine or that of a loved one. The moments captured today will build a legacy of memories for tomorrow!

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Stay Connected During the Holidays! Eight Essential Tech Tips for Seniors Helping Seniors® Clients

Seniors Helping Seniors® 02 Dec 2023

The holiday season calls for joy, celebration, and connection! Technology can help increase accessibility during this festive period; however, many seniors feel overwhelmed navigating the digital space. To help our clients stay active and engaged during the holiday season, the Seniors Helping Seniors® team has put together a handy guide with easy-to-follow tech tips designed to elevate every experience during this special time of year.

1.      Monitor Winter Weather with a Mobile App

Stay updated and ready for shifting weather in the Northeast by using a dependable weather app on your phone or mobile device. Monitor conditions and declining temperatures to organize your plans and prioritize safety throughout the winter months. Unsure about downloading apps? Reach out to a Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver for assistance!

2.      Add Smart Devices to Your Home

Simplify your daily routine with smart devices like voice-activated assistants or smart thermostats. Voice-activated assistants help you stay on track during the holidays by tracking shipments, providing information, and setting reminders. Smart thermostats automatically adjust the temperature of your home so you can be comfortable without lifting a finger.

3.      Connect with Faraway Loved Ones via Video Chat

Virtually celebrate with long-distance friends and family this holiday season through face-to-face video chats. User-friendly platforms make it easy to share festive moments, exchange stories, and express love despite the miles separating you. Ask your Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver to help you schedule a call.

4.      Try Online Holiday Shopping

Avoid crowds and long lines during the busy holiday season by shopping online from the comfort of home. Using the internet, you can effortlessly search websites for gifts, compare prices, and have items delivered directly to your doorstep.

5.      Send Personalized E-Cards to Friends and Family

Add a personal touch to your holiday greetings by sending customized e-cards. Express your warmth and well wishes digitally, selecting from various designs and messages to spread joy to family and friends.

6.      Schedule Medication Reminders on Your Devices

The hustle and bustle of the holidays make it easy to forget to take medications on time. Maintain your health regimen throughout the season by setting up medication reminders on your devices.

7.      Embrace the Festive Spirit with Online Music and Video Streaming

Set the holiday mood by streaming your favorite festive movies and songs. Music streaming platforms have millions of seasonal tunes to create a cheerful ambiance at home. You can also use video streaming platforms to find the perfect film for a holiday movie night.

8.      Arm Yourself Against Holiday Scams

Scammers frequently exploit the festive spirit, aiming to deceive seniors through fake charity appeals, bogus online shopping offers, or fraudulent calls posing as relatives in need. Remain vigilant and stay informed to safeguard your finances and personal information.

The Seniors Helping Seniors® family wants to help you stay connected, secure, and enjoy the season’s festivities. Whether checking the weather or video chatting with family, these tech tips make the holidays cozier and more convenient. Paired with the compassionate assistance of a Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver, you’ll be set to savor a fun and safe holiday season!

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Sounds of the Season: Create the Perfect Autumn Playlist With Seniors Helping Seniors® In-Home Care Services

Seniors Helping Seniors® 06 Nov 2023

Autumn represents change and reflection, making it the perfect backdrop for seniors to embrace the therapeutic benefits of music. During this transformative season, sentimental and nostalgic feelings often arise. Creating an uplifting fall song playlist can be a cathartic way to express emotions. In this blog post, we explore music’s profound impact on seniors’ emotional, physical, and social well-being. Continue reading for a few Seniors Helping Seniors® recommendations on curating an inspiring autumn soundtrack.

Explore The Power Of Music

Music therapy, a method of using music to promote well-being, is a powerful tool for seniors in the autumn. The practice uses musical elements, such as sound, rhythm, melody, and lyrics, to facilitate personal growth. Music’s ability to evoke emotions and memories is particularly influential this time of year.

Listening to mindfully chosen melodies provides plenty of benefits for the senior community. These might include:

  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Improved mood
  • Stimulated cognitive function

In addition, Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers can use elements of music therapy to foster social interaction, communication, and self-expression, contributing to a holistic approach to in-home senior care.

Introducing music therapy into your autumn routine can be as simple as curating a playlist that mirrors the season’s essence. You can make a compilation by jotting down your favorite songs, hand-picking albums from your record collection, creating a custom CD, or digitally organizing your songs on a music streaming platform. Whichever method you choose, Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers are ready to provide their support. Below, we’ve outlined four different categories and inventive ideas to guide you in creating an ideal fall-themed playlist.

1.      Let Emotions Lead

Autumn’s emotional depth can be your guide when curating a playlist. Consider a mood or feeling you want to evoke and choose resonant songs. For a joyful tone, go for lively tracks with optimistic lyrics and cheerful melodies. Alternatively, select songs with slower beats and contemplative themes for a more reflective sound.

2.      Stick to a Genre

Add thematic structure to your playlist by focusing on a singular genre. Select a style that resonates with the season’s mood. Consider genres like folk for a cozy, reflective ambiance or classic rock for a more celebratory feel.

3.      Pick a Topic

Base your playlist on an autumn-related topic. Whether it’s songs about cozy nights around a bonfire or the beauty of falling leaves, concentrating on fall subjects allows for a playlist with a consistent theme tailored to the unique aspects of the season.

4.      Stay on Beat

Mirror your autumn mood through your playlist’s tempo. Include slower, melodic tunes for reflection and introduce faster beats for celebration. Focusing on musical rhythm creates a dynamic soundtrack for your fall routine.

Crafting a themed playlist during autumn can be a simple and enriching experience. Listening to music that evokes certain feelings, whether through a singular genre, specific song topics, or precise musical rhythm, can stimulate seniors to connect with feelings that arise in the fall. No matter your musical preferences, Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers can help you find harmonious notes for an introspective autumn soundtrack.

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Break the Ice: 5 Fun Questions To Help You Get To Know Your Seniors Helping Seniors® Caregiver

Seniors Helping Seniors® 19 Oct 2023

The Seniors Helping Seniors® family takes pride in facilitating meaningful, lasting connections between caregivers, clients, and families. We base our mission around the importance of forming a positive relationship between those giving and receiving in-home senior care.

Strong, trust-based comradery contributes to an efficient, fulfilling, and enjoyable experience for everyone involved. So this month, let’s make it a point to get to know one another a little better!

The Benefits of a Positive Client-Caregiver Relationship

As dedicated companions, Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers add moments of joy to each day. Fostering a deep connection offers countless benefits to physical and mental well-being. Once you feel comfortable around your caregiver, their presence can alleviate stress and anxiety surrounding your or your loved one’s in-home care.

A strong bond provides emotional support and instills a sense of belonging as well. As with any friendship, it’ll take time to get to know your caregiver. However, inquiring about their life and uncovering their personality is an easy-going way to become close.

The Purpose of Asking Questions

Giving your caregiver a friendly “3rd degree” helps improve communication skills and encourages them – and you – to open up. After all, sharing details about yourself is often easier when both parties are participating in the conversation! This dynamic exchange can lead to better understanding, reduced stress, and a more personalized care experience.

As you know, Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services makes pairing caregivers and clients with similar interests and backgrounds a priority, so our caregivers often have plenty in common with those we serve. Who knows what similarities you can uncover with a few fun-loving questions! Enjoyable conversations form the foundation of a strong bond, and provide an endless array of meaningful topics to explore.

Ready to get started? Here are five lighthearted questions Seniors Helping Seniors® clients can ask their caregivers for a deeper friendship.

Question 1: Did you or your family have any traditions growing up? What were they?

This question encourages your caregiver to share cherished memories and customs that have been passed down. You’ll be able to glimpse into their cultural heritage, upbringing, and the bonds they share within their family.

Whether it’s a holiday tradition, a special family ritual, or a unique celebration, this question evokes meaningful stories from their past, fostering a deeper connection and understanding between you and your caregiver.

Question 2: Is there a book, movie, or song that holds a special place in your heart? Why is it important to you?

Preferences in literature, cinema, and music are often deeply rooted in our emotions and personal experiences. This question encourages your caregiver to share their artistic tastes along with the feelings, memories, and life events associated with it. Discussions about art, music, and literature can give you insight on the unique perspectives that shape your caregiver’s character.

Question 3: What is the most treasured item you own and what’s the story behind it?

Personal possessions frequently carry sentimental value and powerful memories. By inquiring about their most cherished belongings, you invite your caregiver to share the emotions, experiences, and stories attached to the physical object.

This question opens a window into their past, allowing them to reminisce about meaningful moments or relationships that have shaped their life. In turn, you’re able to gain a deeper understanding of their values, attachments, and what brings them joy.

Question 4: What’s the most interesting place you’ve ever traveled to, and why did you love it?

One’s choice of a favorite travel destination often reveals personal preferences, interests, and the experiences that have left a lasting impact. Asking this question to your Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver can lead to engaging conversations about cities, cultures, landscapes, and funny moments on the road. Their response reveals their unique experiences and perspectives that have contributed to their personal growth and worldview.

Question 5: Is there anything specific you’d like to know about me or my life?

Friendship is a two-way street; sharing is just as important as asking! Opening yourself up demonstrates your willingness to create a reciprocal connection. It encourages your caregiver to get to know you better, creating a space for deeper conversations and mutual understanding. You never know, they may surprise you with the fun questions they ask!

Watching our caregivers and clients form quick and lasting connections is one of the most rewarding aspects of our in-home senior care. It’s also one of the many ways we provide assistance that feels less like a service, more like getting a little help from your friends®! Ultimately, the act of asking questions, along with the genuine exchange of stories and insights, lies at the heart of our mission to provide not just care but also lasting connections and joy every day.

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Get Festive this Fall! 3 Mess-Free, Seniors Helping Seniors® Alternatives to Pumpkin Carving

Seniors Helping Seniors® 07 Oct 2023

Crafting beautiful and festive pumpkins doesn’t have to involve sharp tools and a big mess to clean up. For seniors in the Heartland looking for an orderly and safer way to decorate their fall gourds, the Seniors Helping Seniors® family has gathered a range of creative options that promise all the charm of pumpkin decoration without the fuss.

In this article, we’ll explore accessible hands-on crafts that allow seniors to showcase their creativity, embrace the season, and make beautiful decorations to display at home. Keep reading for a list of fun, pumpkin carving alternatives every senior in the Heartland can do this autumn!

Painting

You don’t have to be an expert artist to create a fall masterpiece. With a palette of acrylic paints, brushes, and a pumpkin as your canvas, you can let your imagination run wild without any sharp tools or messy pieces.

This art form can be easily tailored to individual preferences and skill levels. The sky’s the limit of what you can paint on your pumpkin! Draw a silly face, paint a fun pattern, or stick to one color to match your home décor. Need a bit of inspiration? Draw from the beautiful nature of the Heartland area.

Glitter

Add some sparkle to the season with this easy and fabulous DIY project. Start with a clean, dry pumpkin of your choice and apply a layer of adhesive or glue evenly onto the surface. Make sure the areas where you want the glitter to adhere are fully covered. Then, sprinkle glitter generously onto the glue, making sure to coat the pumpkin thoroughly. The result is a dazzling pumpkin that celebrates fall with a touch of glamor.

Buttons

Break out your button collection for this cozy, fall craft! Enlist the help of your Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver to pick a variety of buttons in different sizes, shapes, and colors to suit your creative vision. Using a strong adhesive like craft glue, carefully stick the buttons onto the pumpkin’s surface, arranging them in patterns, designs, or even creating whimsical faces. Your button-adorned pumpkin will be a unique and delightful addition to your space.

Tip: If you want to keep your buttons, use a pin instead of glue so you can remove them once the season is over.

Fabric

Add warmth and texture to your fall decorations by wrapping a pumpkin in fabric. Start by choosing the material. You can pick a fall-themed flannel or burlap, or think outside the box with vibrant colors and prints.

Next, cut the fabric into small pieces or strips that can be easily wrapped on the pumpkin’s surface. Using a strong adhesive like craft glue or a hot glue gun, carefully stick the fabric pieces to the pumpkin, layering and overlapping them to achieve your desired look. You’ll be left with a cozy, homespun pumpkin that will make a perfect addition to your fall décor.

Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers love helping our clients tap into their creativity, so be sure to invite them to join the fun. After all, crafts are even more enjoyable with friends! A pumpkin decorating party makes for the perfect fall get together as well. Invite a few friends or family members over, whip up some fall snacks, and let’s craft some beautiful memories together!

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Tips for Balancing Caring for Aging Parents and Raising Children

Seniors Helping Seniors® 29 Sep 2023

Growing older can be an amazing experience, and having your aging parents involved in your life and your children’s can be an enriching and wonderful thing for all concerned. However, as our parents move through their golden years, some additional challenges may emerge around balancing caring for them and caring for the younger members of your family. While this may seem difficult, it’s generally not an insurmountable issue. Seniors Helping Seniors understands the complexities of elder care, so with that experience in mind, we’d like to offer some tips for balancing caring for aging parents and raising children. It is not a proscriptive list, so feel free to pick, choose, and adapt our suggestions to work for you.

Clear communication is key: As in all human relationships and all family ventures, clear, consistent, and open communication is the key to success. As we age, we may become less adaptive to change, be it personal or within the family. You might want to include your aging parents in the conversation if you’re moving, if your kids are changing schools or going to college, or if your work schedule is changing. Give them a space where voice concerns, ask questions, and otherwise get comfortable with the new things happening around them.

Listening is part of communication, but unfortunately, we all sometimes forget to listen to our family members–especially the elderly. The fact is that your aging parents are still adults, and they still have needs, feelings, and preferences. As part of clear communication, ensuring that you’re listening to their desires, opinions, and thoughts is a big step in ensuring that they’re being taken care of and that you can better balance their needs with everything going on in your life.

Just as you need to involve your parents and listen to their needs, it’s also important to keep your children in the loop when it comes to life changes, particularly those regarding your aging parents. Young children may need some help understanding why their grandparents are coming to live with them, are less mobile than they used to be, or are moving to an assisted living facility. Older children have their own emotional needs, and as young adults, they deserve to have their thoughts and needs heard.

Take care of–and make time for–yourself! In all of this, you are important, and you deserve to be loved, cared for, supported, and treated with kindness. You’re a human and you’ll need to take breaks, do things you enjoy, or just rest now and then. Involve other family members, reach out to friends and neighbors, and find supportive programs to help you take care of your parents and keep the kids occupied while you do the things that make you happy and help you feel good about life.

Finally, and maybe most importantly: ask for help when you need it and accept help when it’s offered. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that all of this is your responsibility, 24 hours a day forever. The reality is that you need time for yourself, as we pointed out above, and your aging parents may need some additional care or companionship that you’re not in a position to offer them. By using the available resources to get the help that you and your parents need, you’ll make everyone’s life easier and make the time you spend with them that much richer.

Caring for older adults can be challenging, but Seniors Helping Seniors is here to help. Our team of senior volunteers understands what their fellow seniors need, and are there to help with a variety of day-to-day tasks or provide a bit of age-appropriate companionship as needed. The golden years are a precious time, meant to be enjoyed to its fullest, and our unique approach to senior care helps all involved get the most out of them. If you’d like a little help or company for an aging parent, if you’re a senior who could use a hand at home, or if you’d like to volunteer, get in touch with us today!

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Make the Most Of Healthy Aging Month! Prioritize Personal Wellness With Seniors Helping Seniors® In-Home Care Services

Seniors Helping Seniors® 26 Sep 2023

Healthy Aging Month, celebrated every September, brings awareness to the physical and mental changes seniors experience as they age. This month-long observance also reminds seniors to care for physical and mental health throughout the golden years. Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services enable older adults to lead a vibrant and fulfilling life. A kind hand and a positive perspective will help you or your senior loved one remain connected, curious, and content as you navigate the later years.

The Significance Of Healthy Aging

Healthy aging is a conscious choice with remarkable benefits for older adults. The goal is not only living longer, but living better. Prioritizing physical and mental health enables seniors to improve their well-being and outlook. This includes lifestyle changes like engaging in regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and finding activities that bring joy. Continue reading for four Seniors Helping Seniors® ways to promote healthy aging this month.

1.     Focus On Physical Well-Being

During Healthy Aging Month, make movement an enjoyable part of your or your special senior’s routine. Non-strenuous activity helps us stay fit while improving overall well-being, and an active lifestyle builds muscle and mobility for everyday life.

Aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. Explore workouts that match your fitness level or that of a loved one. Some options that the Seniors Helping Seniors® family loves include yoga, swimming, walking, and even dancing!

2.     Nurture Emotional Health

Mental health matters as much as physical health. Prioritize self-care this month by incorporating mindfulness into a daily routine.

Peaceful activities like meditation, breathing exercises, or journaling center thoughts and reduce stress. Seek opportunities to connect with friends and family. Sharing stories, laughing, and being present with loved ones combats feelings of isolation and loneliness, contributing to a positive state of mind. If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health, don’t hesitate to contact a professional for help.

3.     Take Preventative Measures

Healthy Aging Month is the perfect time to schedule regular check-ups with a healthcare provider. Monitor health and keep up with recommended screenings, such as mammograms, colonoscopies, and bone density tests. Be sure to follow recommended vaccines, including influenza, pneumococcal, and shingles.

Your Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver is happy to give you or a senior loved one a ride to any appointments. Proactive measures empower seniors to take control of health, allowing our clients to continue enjoying life to the fullest.

4.     Make Positive Lifestyle Choices

Lastly, this month offers an excellent opportunity to incorporate better habits into a daily routine. Consider setting specific goals that align with your well-being aspirations or those of a loved one.

Aiming to eat healthier? Start cooking with more nutritious, nutrient-rich foods. Want to build a better sleep schedule? Try going to bed an hour earlier and reading before going to sleep. Or, get more organized by committing to decluttering at home. It takes about two months for a new habit to stick, so don’t wait to make lifestyle changes.

Healthy Aging Month reminds seniors to take care of their well-being. As we age, each day presents an opportunity to make positive changes. Whether embarking on a new exercise routine, practicing daily mindfulness, or starting a positive habit, there are plenty of ways to nurture physical, mental, and emotional health. Add a layer of support by enlisting help from a Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver. With their assistance, the seniors we serve can confidently navigate this journey, knowing that their well-being is in capable hands.

The post Make the Most Of Healthy Aging Month! Prioritize Personal Wellness With Seniors Helping Seniors® In-Home Care Services appeared first on Seniors Helping Seniors.

Make the Most of Healthy Aging Month with Personal Wellness

shschesterfieldcountyva 14 Sep 2023

Healthy aging: one third of seniors ages 65-74 report being in good health. One quarter of adults 65+ report good or excellent healthHealthy Aging Month, celebrated every September, brings awareness to the physical and mental changes seniors experience as they age. This month-long observance also reminds seniors to care for physical and mental health throughout the golden years. Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services enable older adults to lead a vibrant and fulfilling life. A kind hand and a positive perspective will help you or your senior loved one remain connected, curious, and content as you navigate the later years.

The Significance Of Healthy Aging

Healthy aging is a conscious choice with remarkable benefits for older adults. The goal is not only living longer, but living better. Prioritizing physical and mental health enables seniors to improve their well-being and outlook. This includes lifestyle changes like engaging in regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and finding activities that bring joy. Continue reading for four Seniors Helping Seniors® ways to promote healthy aging this month.

1.    Healthy Aging: Focus On Physical Well-Being

During Healthy Aging Month, make movement an enjoyable part of your or your special senior’s routine. Non-strenuous activity helps us stay fit while improving overall well-being, and an active lifestyle builds muscle and mobility for everyday life.

Aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. Explore workouts that match your fitness level or that of a loved one. Some options that the Seniors Helping Seniors® family loves include yoga, swimming, walking, and even dancing!

2.    Nurture Emotional Health

Mental health matters as much as physical health. Prioritize self-care this month by incorporating mindfulness into a daily routine.

Peaceful activities like meditation, breathing exercises, or journaling center thoughts and reduce stress. Seek opportunities to connect with friends and family. Sharing stories, laughing, and being present with loved ones combats feelings of isolation and loneliness, contributing to a positive state of mind. If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health, don’t hesitate to contact a professional for help.

3.   Healthy Aging: Take Preventative Measures

Healthy Aging Month is the perfect time to schedule regular check-ups with a healthcare provider. Monitor health and keep up with recommended screenings, such as mammograms, colonoscopies, and bone density tests. Be sure to follow recommended vaccines, including influenza, pneumococcal, and shingles.

Your Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver is happy to give you or a senior loved one a ride to any appointments. Proactive measures empower seniors to take control of health, allowing our clients to continue enjoying life to the fullest.

4.    Make Positive Lifestyle Choices

Lastly, this month offers an excellent opportunity to incorporate better habits into a daily routine. Consider setting specific goals that align with your well-being aspirations or those of a loved one.

Aiming to eat healthier? Start cooking with more nutritious, nutrient-rich foods. Want to build a better sleep schedule? Try going to bed an hour earlier and reading before going to sleep. Or, get more organized by committing to decluttering at home. It takes about two months for a new habit to stick, so don’t wait to make lifestyle changes.

Healthy Aging Month reminds seniors to take care of their well-being. As we age, each day presents an opportunity to make positive changes. Whether embarking on a new exercise routine, practicing daily mindfulness, or starting a positive habit, there are plenty of ways to nurture physical, mental, and emotional health. Add a layer of support by enlisting help from a Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver. With their assistance, the seniors we serve can confidently navigate this journey, knowing that their well-being is in capable hands.

The post Make the Most of Healthy Aging Month with Personal Wellness appeared first on Seniors Helping Seniors.

Mind Over Matter: 5 Seniors Helping Seniors® Tips For Practicing Positive Aging!

Seniors Helping Seniors® 14 Sep 2023

Seniors Helping SeniorsEveryone views aging differently. To some, the idea of getting older is scary. Others embrace it with a youthful ferocity! At the end of the day, your mindset is more important than you think. It plays a large part in the quality of life experienced throughout your Golden Years.

Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services is committed to inspiring others to age gracefully and independently. One of the ways we encourage our care recipients to make the most of their senior years is by promoting “positive aging” techniques.

What Is Positive Aging?
Positive aging is all about mindset. It refers to the idea that if you maintain an optimistic outlook in your senior years — coupled with healthy habits, social engagement, and mental stimulation — you’ll feel good about yourself, remain physically active, and continue to engage fully in all aspects of life!

Incorporating positive aging techniques into your daily routine might sound difficult, but it’s easier than you think. Of course, our Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers will stand by your side, ready to help you create and practice a program that will do your mind and body good!

Now that you know why positive aging is important, let’s discuss five simple ways Seniors Helping Seniors® care receivers can work the power of positivity into everyday life!

1 – Embrace Your Age!
Age is just a number, after all. Maintaining a youthful outlook and adapting to your changing abilities can help you accept that growing older is a normal part of life – one that every person (including your Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver) is attempting to navigate.

The first step in discovering the power of positive aging is to accept the aging process by working with it and not against it. This makes it easier to cope with the challenges this stage of life presents, and instead, start looking forward to the possibilities!

2 – Make Fitness A Priority
Just thirty minutes of daily exercise can revolutionize your health. It can help you look and feel younger, complete tasks more easily, and prevent accidents and falls – all of which are essential for maintaining a positive outlook. Try the following Seniors Helping Seniors® suggestions to jumpstart your fitness routine:

Go for a walk
Walking is an excellent way to get the blood pumping while improving heart health, boosting mental clarity, and lowering blood pressure. Commit to a daily walk with a friend, family member, or your Seniors Helping Seniors® companion!

Explore senior fitness classes
There are plenty of exercise options for active seniors! Look into what classes your local senior center, gym, or fitness studio offers. Activities like water aerobics, chair yoga, and body weight workouts are popular among seniors and provide low impact workouts that will still make you feel the burn!

Don’t get discouraged if it’s tough to keep up at first. Your workouts will become easier as you build strength. Be consistent and you’ll soon look forward to your daily exercise regimen!

3 – Stay Connected
Building and maintaining close relationships is also essential to a positive aging plan. Doing so can combat loneliness, improve self-esteem, and foster a sense of belonging. Not sure where to begin? Try one of the following to make new friends or reconnect with some old pals:

  • Organize a monthly dinner with friends or family where everyone brings a different dish
  • Join a social group, like a birdwatching or book club, pickleball league, or volunteer service
  • Make it a point to attend your grandkids’ sporting games and performances – they’ll love having you there to cheer them on!

As always, remember to lean on your Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver. They’re available to get you to and from social events or to accompany you on a new adventure, so let’s go!

4 – Nurture Healthy Habits
Maintaining a balanced diet is critical to the aging process. Eating right helps keep your weight at an appropriate level and supports heart health. These simple diet rules can help you stay on track:

  • Incorporate lean proteins, plenty of vegetables (especially those that are orange, red, and green), substitute whole grains whenever possible, and stick to low-fat dairy products
  • Drink lots of (the right) fluids – water, tea, and coffee – and stay away from beverages that are high in sugar
  • Look for foods that are high in fiber and vitamin D as these are both vital for aging individuals

There are also certain habits you should avoid to continue functioning at the highest level. First, don’t skimp on sleep – a restful night’s slumber is essential in keeping the body functioning properly. Also, avoid smoking and excessive alcohol intake. Both of these can cause serious health issues in people of all ages.

5 – Sharpen Your Brain
Your mind, like your body, thrives when you push it to the limit. A strong brain keeps you sharp and is a key ingredient for your positive aging recipe. Add games like Sudoku and crossword puzzles to your daily routine so your brain gets the exercise it needs.

Learning a new skill can improve intellect as well. Check local resources, like a university or community center, to see if they offer any skill-building classes that peak your interest. Gaining a new ability cultivates positive thoughts and builds confidence. Not to mention, it’s fun and will leave you with an activity you’ll look forward to!

We told you it was easy to practice positive aging! In fact, you’re probably doing a lot of these things already. Don’t be afraid to ask your Seniors Helping Seniors® companion for ideas on how to keep a positive mindset as you mature – remember, they’re going through the same stage of life as you are. Incorporate the above Seniors Helping Seniors® tips into your daily routine and you’re bound to feel great, stay active, and retain your youthful exuberance for life!

Incorporating positive aging techniques into your daily routine might sound difficult, but it’s easier than you think. Of course, our Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers will stand by your side, ready to help you create and practice a program that will do your mind and body good!

Now that you know why positive aging is important, let’s discuss five simple ways Seniors Helping Seniors® care receivers can work the power of positivity into everyday life!

The post Mind Over Matter: 5 Seniors Helping Seniors® Tips For Practicing Positive Aging! appeared first on Seniors Helping Seniors.

Things Every Senior Should Check Off Their Bucket List Before the End of Summer

shschesterfieldcountyva 30 Aug 2023

End of Summer Bucket List - Lady birdwatching in backgroundSummer is on its way out, but there’s still time to pack in as much fun as possible. Seeking out activities that bring you joy is important for seniors’ well-being. But with so many possibilities, narrowing down your top priorities can take time and effort. That’s why Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services has created the perfect summer bucket list to inspire seniors to get out there and enjoy the season!

A summer bucket list is all about having a blast and enjoying the warm, sunny weather!  It’s like a personalized to-do list, full of things to do and experiences to have. Whether you want to explore nature, bond with your grandkids, or try something new with a caregiver, you’ll go on new adventures, rediscover old passions, and have the best summer ever!

Making a bucket list is easy and fun! You can start by thinking about activities you love and ones you want to try. You can also include places you want to visit. The sky is the limit. Get creative with ideas — big or small, anything goes! Write down all the things you want to do before the summer is over and cross them off as you complete each item. Below, you’ll find Seniors Helping Seniors® ideas to inspire your list to help you have the summer of your dreams!

For the Outdoor Enthusiasts

Getting outside has awesome perks for seniors. Being in nature helps melt away stress and improves your mood. For those who want to explore the great outdoors this summer, here are a few ideas you can try.

  1. Go on a nature walk in a local park or nature reserve.
  2. Have an outdoor picnic with friends or family.
  3. Try out gardening and grow your own flowers or vegetables.
  4. Go birdwatching and see how many local bird species you can find.
  5. Volunteer for a community outdoor clean-up event.

There are so many outdoor activities you can enjoy this summer and our caregivers are always up for an adventure.  Think about which activities are calling and add them to your bucket list!

Bucket List For the Social Butterflies

Summer is way more fun when you share the enjoyment with others. Make new memories and deepen connections with your friends, family, and a Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver. If your goal is to have fun with your loved ones and make new friends, here are some ideas you can try.

  1. Join a club or community center to meet like-minded people.
  2. Host a themed potluck dinner party with friends and family.
  3. Invite a neighbor to go out and get a scoop of ice cream with you.
  4. Coordinate a day trip with your friends or family to a nearby attraction or scenic location.

Fill your days with good company, laughter, and unforgettable moments!  By adding some social activities to your bucket list, you’ll make it summer for the books! Need help planning or getting to or from an event? Get in touch! Our caregivers love helping clients make the most of each day.

For the Imaginative Creators

Adding some artsy crafts to your summer bucket list is an absolute must! It’ll allow you to let your imagination run wild and create something beautiful. We’ve rounded up some creative ideas to get your list started.

  1. Take an art class or workshop to learn a new technique or medium.
  2. Start a nature journal and document the wildlife around you.
  3. Create a scrapbook to preserve your summer memories.
  4. Try a DIY project to add a personalized creation to your living space.
  5. Make handmade gifts to give to your loved ones.

Summer is the perfect time to explore new, creative hobbies. Make memories and masterpieces by adding crafty activities to your bucket list.

Summer bucket lists are all about sparking excitement and Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services is here to help. Try new things, revisit old passions, and embark on adventures you’ve always dreamed of all with a compassionate and fun caregiver by your side. So, grab a pen and a notepad, sit back in your favorite chair, and jot down all those fantastic ideas. Let’s work together to make the season unforgettable, one bucket list item at a time.

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Celebrate National Be Kind to Humankind Week

shschesterfieldcountyva 15 Aug 2023

Celebrate Kindness with Be Kind to Humankind WeekA simple, friendly gesture has many lasting impacts. We all have the power to brighten the day of those around us through compassionate actions. Celebrated at the end of August, National Be Kind to Humankind Week encourages people of all ages to be nicer to one another and themselves. There is no better time for our Seniors Helping Seniors® community to spread kindness and experience the joy it brings. Read on to discover the benefits of being nice!

Be Kind with a Spirit Of Kindness

Simple yet heartfelt good deeds are at the foundation of the week’s celebrations. Start by offering warm smiles to those you encounter. You’ll give off an approachable impression that’ll boost your self-esteem.

You can also perform little gestures as an easy way to brighten someone’s day. Try the following:

  • Hold doors open for strangers
  • Pay for the coffee of the person behind you in line
  • Volunteer in the community
  • Tell your friends, family members, or a caregiver you appreciate them
  • Write a heartfelt thank-you note to someone who has made a difference in your life

Don’t neglect to show yourself some love too! Whether that’s going to your favorite bakery or taking a relaxing bubble bath – make time for self-care and find ways to spark joy. Remember, even the most minor acts of kindness can have a significant and lasting impact on others and yourself.

The Science Of Kindness

Did you know, engaging in altruistic acts positively impacts mental well-being and overall happiness? It’s true! Friendly gestures trigger the release of feel-good neurochemicals like oxytocin and dopamine. An uptick in these leads to an enhanced sense of contentment and satisfaction.

Make A Better Connection

Feelings of loneliness and isolation – common challenges for many of the seniors we serve – can be decreased through good deeds as well. Showing kindness can foster a sense of belonging and help you connect with those around you.

Handle Challenges More Effectively

Additionally, being friendly and helping others is known to reduce stress and anxiety. Being nice not only feels good but also enables you to cope better with life’s ups and downs. You’ll be able to approach difficult situations with a more positive outlook, which improves your ability to respond to life’s challenges.

Be Kind as a Better Companion

Finally, being nice promotes a sense of empathy and understanding. By helping others, seniors can develop stronger social connections and support systems, like those made through our in-home senior care services. Through the practice of kindness, Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers and clients cultivate emotional strength, compassion, and an enduring sense of fulfillment in one another’s lives.

The bottom line? National Be Kind to Humankind Week enables seniors to embrace the power of kindness! By participating in this uplifting week, you‘ll positively impact the world around you. You might also find a greater sense of purpose and fulfillment in your own life. The journey doesn’t need to conclude at the end of the week either. Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services encourages you to keep the spirit of National Be Kind to Humankind Week with you and find little ways to spark joy and generosity every day!

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How to Step Into Self-Care for Seniors

shschesterfieldcountyva 31 Jul 2023

Self-care: "Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that e would give to others." ~ Christopher GermerThe concept of self-care has become increasingly popular over the past few years, and for good reason. Committing to a self-care routine boosts mental and physical health, reduces stress, increases productivity, improves relationships, and benefits overall wellbeing. Since July 24th marks International Self-Care Day, let’s dive into a few of the ways Seniors Helping Seniors® clients can incorporate this beneficial practice into everyday life.

What is Self-Care?

The definition is fairly straightforward: taking deliberate actions to improve overall health and happiness. In the case of our clients, self-care contributes to extended independence as well.

One thing that self-care certainly is not is selfish. Prioritizing health and wellbeing is essential to leading a full, active, and well-balanced life, so there’s no need to feel guilty for taking a little “me time!”

4 Ways To Practice Self-Care

Diving into a self-care routine doesn’t have to be difficult; small lifestyle changes often have significant benefits. Start by incorporating a few of the Seniors Helping Seniors® suggestions below:

1.    Eat Well & Exercise Regularly

Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine is a great first step in practicing self-care. A well-nourished and strong body is the foundation of wellbeing. Eating a well-balanced diet boosts immunity, lowers the risk of many diseases, and provides the fuel to take on each day. Combined with daily physical activity, which benefits both the body and mind, this practice offers a foundation for improved overall health.

2.    Practice Gratitude

Taking time to evaluate and be thankful for what one has is a wonderful exercise for gaining mental clarity. Practicing gratitude, whether through mediation or journaling, helps uncover all the good things in life and that proves essential in maintaining a positive outlook.

3.    Try Something New

Studies show that when seniors pick up a new hobby it improves both body and mind. Continually learning new things may also help to reduce the risk of dementia.

Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers love seeing our clients stepping outside of their comfort zone. Not to mention, hobbies keep those we serve active and engaged! Our caregivers are happy to help our clients explore their interests and make a great partner in trying new activities.

4.    Speak With A Professional

Mental health is a pillar of self-care and seeking out professional assistance can provide perspective on one’s thoughts and feelings while encouraging a more positive mindset. These services not only help to strengthen relationships with others, but also with ourselves.

Self-care is not a one-time practice, but a continuing journey. Everyone is different and building the right self-care routine can take time. Be patient and lean on a Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver along the way. Our team is here to support all the needs of the seniors we serve and though self-care sounds like a solo endeavor, it can be even more effective with a kind, trustworthy friend along for the ride.

The post How to Step Into Self-Care for Seniors appeared first on Seniors Helping Seniors.

Top 4 Chronic Diseases & How Seniors Can Keep Them In Check

shschesterfieldcountyva 14 Jul 2023

National Chronic Diseases DayNational Chronic Disease Day, observed on July 10th, serves as a reminder for all of us to learn more about common chronic conditions and explore ways to prevent them. This is especially important for Seniors Helping Seniors® clients and caregivers. There are plenty of ways that seniors in the Northeast can work towards a healthier and more active lifestyle, which can help lessen the severity of certain chronic diseases. As always, Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services is a partner and resource for seniors who are committed to maintaining and improving health throughout the senior years.

Let’s explore a few of the most common chronic diseases and discuss some lifestyle changes that will help keep them in check.

4 Common Chronic Diseases

1. High Blood Pressure

Affecting 58% of seniors, high blood pressure, or hypertension, occurs when the body’s arteries stiffen. In turn, this forces blood pressure to increase. Typically, high blood pressure presents few, if any, noticeable symptoms, but it can lead to heart attack or stroke if left untreated.

2. High Cholesterol

The second most common chronic disease, high cholesterol, contributes to a hardening of the arteries, which can lead to reduced blood flow and cardiovascular complications. Forty-seven percent of seniors suffer from the condition and, though some cholesterol is needed for various bodily functions, excessive levels contribute to health problems like diabetes and stroke.

3. Arthritis

Next up, arthritis causes stiffness in the joints and affects 31% of seniors. The symptoms of arthritis may progress to severe, debilitating joint pain if left unmanaged and can affect nearly every part of the body, including hands, hips, and the lower back. Luckily, the disease’s symptoms can often be managed with a few lifestyle changes.

4. Heart Disease

Twenty-nine percent of the senior population will deal with heart disease in their lifetime. This chronic disease encompasses a variety of conditions, such as coronary artery disease, heart failure, and arrhythmias. High blood pressure and high cholesterol can contribute to the condition as well.

Prevention of Chronic Diseases

While specific treatment and prevention options vary for different chronic diseases, there are a couple lifestyle changes seniors can make to decrease the risk of chronic disease across the board.

Exercise

Exercise is one of the best ways to prevent chronic issues. Not only does daily exercise help with weight management, which is essential in preventing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease, but staying active helps stave off arthritis as well.

According to the CDC, seniors should shoot for 30 minutes of exercise per day, five days a week. Make a date with a Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver to take a walk, play a round of golf, or swim laps at the local pool. The work that’s put in today will ensure a healthier tomorrow!

Eat Well

We all know that eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is also key to preventing health issues, including the ones we’ve discussed here. Follow the guidelines below to help ensure your or your senior loved one’s body is getting the nutrients needed to thrive!

  • Choose foods without added sugar, sodium, and saturated fats.
  • Get enough protein to maintain muscle mass.
  • Eat the rainbow: Enjoy fruits and vegetables of all colors.
  • Drink LOTS of water!

Consistency is key when it comes to keeping chronic diseases at bay and Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers are committed to helping those we serve stay on track! Discuss your or your special senior’s needs with a caregiver or your local Seniors Helping Seniors® office. Together, we can stay healthy, happy, and independent!

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3 Senior Exercises For A Fun & Fit Summer!

shschesterfieldcountyva 30 Jun 2023

Have a fun and fit summer - benefits of senior exercisesAt Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services, we’re passionate about keeping seniors fit, strong, and active! We all know that sticking to a consistent fitness routine benefits both the body and mind, and the start of the summer season provides good motivation to get moving. But practicing the same senior exercises exercises every day can be a drag. Luckily, there are tons of ways to get the blood pumping! If you or a senior loved one are looking to mix up a daily fitness routine, give one of the activities below a try. Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers love helping our clients step out of their comfort zone and are always excited to assist those we serve in knocking out all their fitness goals!

Senior Exercises: Back To Basics

There are two things that are an essential part of any fitness routine: stretching and drinking plenty of water. These actions will help prevent injury and dehydration, in addition to ensuring you or your loved one are primed for each work out.

Stretch

Stretching not only keeps the body limber to help prevent injury, it’s also great for building core strength, engaging muscles, and boosting heart rate. In addition, it increases flexibility, while relieving stress and anxiety in the process.

Stay Hydrated

It’s important to keep the body hydrated all the time, but especially when exercising. In fact, seniors are more likely to become dehydrated through sweating, a recent study revealed, because seniors’ bodies don’t regulate heat as efficiently as younger individuals.

In general, experts recommend drinking one-third of our body weight in ounces of water each day. So, individuals who weigh 150 pounds should aim to drink 50 ounces of water per day.

3 Senior Exercises for Fun and Fitness

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s jump into some of the summer’s hottest senior exercises!

Pickleball

Pickleball was first created in the 1960’s but has seen a significant increase in popularity over the past few years, especially in the senior circuit. In fact, one-third of all pickleball players in the U.S. are 65 years of age or older!

A mix of tennis and ping pong, pickleball provides a variety of perks that boost senior health. For example, studies show that individuals who play pickleball three times a week experience benefits including:

  • Lower cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Improved cardiovascular fitness
  • Better range of motion, reflexes, and balance

Another perk is that pickleball is an extremely social sport with a tight knit and accepting community. Whether our clients play with a Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver, a group of long-time friends, or a new friend just met on the court, the social aspect of this sport keeps players committed and engaged!

Tai Chi

This ancient martial art covers a wide range of mental and physical health benefits for seniors. Tai chi combines strength, balance, and meditation for a holistic approach to fitness. Not to mention, the practice is a form of defense training and learning a few self-defense moves leaves participants feeling strong and empowered!

Tai chi can be modified for a variety of fitness levels. Many moves can be performed from a seated position to start, and the local fitness center may even have Tai chi classes designed specifically for seniors!

No matter your or your senior loved one’s skill level, Tai chi will help improve balance, range of motion, and build strength, while providing a meditative experience.

Water Exercises

Working out in the pool is a versatile – and fun – example of senior exercises. There are tons of water exercises that are perfect for seniors, including water aerobics, swimming laps, and strength training.

One of the most alluring aspects of water fitness routines, however, is the fact that they are low impact. Exercising in water takes the pressure off joints, but still offers gentle resistance and a wonderful way to improve cardiovascular stamina. Better yet, exercising in the pool will keep you or your special senior cool on hot summer days!

Regardless of what kind of fitness activities float your or your senior loved one’s boat, Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers are committed to helping our clients stay active. Make fitness a top priority this summer and talk to a member of our team about how we can help!

The post 3 Senior Exercises For A Fun & Fit Summer! appeared first on Seniors Helping Seniors.

How to Determine if Your Aging Parent Needs Additional Support

Seniors Helping Seniors® 30 Jun 2023

Seniors Helping Seniors® In-Home Care Agency thanks U.S. News and World Report for including us in their story on how to determine if an aging parent needs support. It’s important to be able to recognize the signs that your parent or loved one needs assistance. We were honored to lend our knowledge to this article, and we invite you to read the whole story at the link below! 

Can Your Aging Parent Still Live Alone?
Aging is a fact of life, and for many older adults, there comes a time when they can no longer look after themselves as they once did. Often, the adult children are left to determine when that time comes, and it can be a challenging period for both kids and parents.

While it’s not always easy to know when it’s time, experts say the following signs could mean you need to talk with your parents about changing their living situation.

https://health.usnews.com/senior-care/articles/assessing-aging-parent-cant-live-alone

The post How to Determine if Your Aging Parent Needs Additional Support appeared first on Seniors Helping Seniors.

Savor The Season With Seniors Helping Seniors® In-Home Services: 4 Tips For Healthy Summer Eating

Seniors Helping Seniors® 23 Jun 2023

The Seniors Helping Seniors® family loves seeing our care receivers enjoy the best parts of each season. With summer fast approaching in the Northeast, it will soon be time to break out the shorts, light the citronella candle, and dust off the patio table for the season’s first outdoor feast!

It can be tempting to indulge throughout the summer months. With family cookouts, vacations, and the urge to spend time enjoying the outdoors in lieu of the kitchen, we often opt for quick, not so healthy choices. A nutritious, balanced diet, however, is important for active seniors all year long.

The good news is, continuing to eat right over the summer months doesn’t have to be complicated. Soak in these four Seniors Helping Seniors® tips for a summer of healthy – and delicious – eating!

Keep It Balanced

Making good decisions isn’t hard once you know what to choose. Let’s look at the layers of the food pyramid and determine the best foods to reach for and which to skip.

Grains

The foundation of the food pyramid is the grain group, which encompasses things like rice, pasta, bread, and oats. When stocking the cabinets, whole grains are best. Whole grains are made using the entire grain kernel and, therefore, are good sources of dietary fiber, minerals, and Vitamin B.

Fruits and Vegetables

We all know fruits and veggies provide plenty of dietary value, but which are the most nutritious options? Look for produce that is red, orange, purple, and green, as these fruits and veggies contain vitamins and minerals that are especially important to senior health.

P.S. – The Northeast is known for its abundant fruit and vegetable production, so check the local section of the grocery store or visit community produce stands for some excellent options!

Dairy

When choosing milk, yogurt, and cheese products, go with low-fat or fat-free options. Calcium is the major benefit in this group, but dairy products also provide phosphorus, Vitamins A and D, B12, potassium, and more.

Protein

Protein covers a wide variety of foods, including meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, and legumes (like beans and lentils). Look for meat and poultry that’s lean or low-fat and seafood that’s high in omega-3s and has a low mercury count. For a vegetarian meal, substitute legumes as a tasty and nutritious option.

It’s important to mix it up when it comes to protein. Many people eat plenty of meat and poultry, but often skimp on fish and legumes. However, each category has specific vitamins and nutrients that are key to a balanced diet.

Advantages of Sensible Eating

When a variety of nutritious foods are incorporated into a balanced diet, the mind and body will benefit in spades! For example, healthy eating helps:

  • Reduce cholesterol
  • Lower risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes
  • Promote proper bowel function
  • Support a healthy nervous system
  • Boost immunity and prevent infection
  • Encourage healthy eyes, skin, and gums
  • Maintain strong bones and teeth
  • Improve concentration and attention span
  • Increase energy and mental clarity

Preparation Is Key

How food is cooked contributes to a healthy diet as well. During the summer months, grilling is an excellent option and produces flavorful dishes. Better yet, it’s a wonderful time to gather with loved ones and your Seniors Helping Seniors® companion to enjoy the outdoors and fellowship while dinner is cooking!

Grilled to Perfection

Cooking on the grill is easy and requires little preparation. Simply apply your favorite seasoning combination or marinade and get grilling! As the food cooks, excess fat and oil drip away, leaving a wholesome and delicious dinner.

Try these tips and tricks from Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home services to make grilling a breeze:

  • Invest in a meat thermometer and always ensure poultry is cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F and pork to 145°F.
  • Cook veggies in foil packets with seasoning and a little oil (extra virgin olive oil or canola are best). Ensure the packet is sealed at the top and place it directly on the grates until the veggies are tender.
  • Craving something sweet? For dessert, try grilling pineapple, peach, or watermelon slices for an after-dinner treat!

One of the best things about this method is there’s minimal clean-up required, leaving more time to spend enjoying your dinner companions!

Practice Proper Portion Control

Consuming the right amounts of each food group is important as well. When making a plate, follow these Seniors Helping Seniors® suggestions for a balanced meal:

  1. Envision a vertical line directly down the middle of the plate
  2. On the right, add half whole grains and half lean protein
  3. Fill the left side with fruits and vegetables (heavier on the veggies)
  4. Eat dairy in moderation

Now, all that’s left is to choose a healthy option to wash it all down…

Drink Up!

Staying hydrated is key, especially when summer heat kicks into high gear! Water is an essential nutrient and should be the majority of what’s consumed throughout the day. Try fruit-infused water for a twist on the traditional or sparkling water for something bubbly. Tea and coffee are good options as well and provide several health benefits of their own.

Avoid sugary drinks or those with high salt content and stay away from consuming alcohol in excess. These actually contribute to dehydration and a number of other issues.

Who’s ready to welcome summer?! With these tips from Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services,

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National Men’s Health Month: Common Conditions Impacting Senior Men

shschesterfieldcountyva 20 Jun 2023

Men's Health Month: common conditions impacting senior menIt’s our goal at Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services to keep our clients feeling their best and living full, active lives. June is National Men’s Health Month and a wonderful opportunity to shine a light on several health issues that affect senior men in particular. Health problems like heart disease, prostate cancer, and stroke present a significant risk to men over the age of 65. While factors like genetics and ethnicity may play a part in the likelihood of developing one of these conditions, there are still plenty of ways our clients can work to prevent them. This month, take a moment to improve your awareness of these conditions and talk about how to prevent them with a senior in your life!

Common Men’s Health Issues

Heart Disease

According to the CDC, men are more prone than women to cardiovascular issues, including heart disease. In fact, cardiovascular conditions affect nearly one out of every three men, and this risk increases significantly in those over the age of 60. For example, men are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack and usually do so at a much younger age than women.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer impacts a staggering 90% of men. It’s the second most common form of cancer in men in the U.S. and is most worrisome for those in the senior population.

The average age of diagnosis is 66 years old, but the likelihood of developing the disease increases in the senior years. According to the American Society of Clinical Oncologists, individuals over the age of 70 are more than two times more likely to incur prostate cancer than their younger counterparts. Senior men are also more prone to developing advanced prostate cancer and suffering severe impacts from the disease. 

Stroke

While individuals of any age can experience a stroke, the risk increases in men over the age of 65. It’s worth noting that 75% of all strokes occur in people 65 and older. Men are more prone to suffering a stroke than women, with it being even more common among African American and Hispanic males.

High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of stroke, a factor that makes men particularly vulnerable. However, many strokes are preventable and getting medical attention as quickly as possible can help avert serious disability.

Spotting the signs of stroke is easy if you know what to look for. The acronym F.A.S.T. provides an easy-to-remember guide:

  • FACE: Does one side of the face droop when smiling?
  • ARMS: Does one arm drift lower than the other when held out straight?
  • SPEECH: Is the individual slurring his or her speech or have trouble repeating simple phrases?
  • TIME: Acting quickly is essential, so call 911 immediately if you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or a loved one.

Preventing Common Men’s Health Concerns

While some factors, like gender, age, ethnicity, and genetics can’t be prevented and may increase the risk of certain conditions, there are a few habits Seniors Helping Seniors® clients can practice to keep heart disease, prostate cancer, and stroke at bay.

Stay Active

Participating in regular exercise is key to a healthy lifestyle. Work with a Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver to find an activity you or your senior loved one enjoys – like walking, biking, or strength training – and make it a daily habit to get up and go!

Eat Healthy

Focus on eating a low sugar, low sodium diet with lots of fruits and veggies to help regulate weight and decrease risk of heart disease, prostate cancer, and stroke.

Quit Smoking

Smoking damages arteries and adds to high blood pressure, which can significantly increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. While kicking this habit can be tough, our Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers and community are here to help! Try calling a friend, going for a walk, or working on a hobby whenever cravings creep up.

Understanding how different conditions affect seniors is the first step in staying active and engaged long into the senior years. We at Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services know keeping up with daily exercise, cooking, and other healthy habits can be a challenge, but our caregivers are a trustworthy resource to help support you or your senior loved one. Get in touch with your local Seniors Helping Seniors® office for the help you want at a price you can afford.®

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Suit Up & Dive Into 5 Benefits Of Swimming for Seniors

shschesterfieldcountyva 30 May 2023

Make a big splash! 5 benefits of swimming for seniorsWe at Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services love seeing our clients trying new things, especially when it comes to staying healthy! This month, we’re highlighting the advantages swimming for seniors provides. With summer just around the corner, incorporating water fitness into a complete exercise plan will not only help seniors stay fit, but can also provide a nice way to keep cool while still feeling the burn.

Whether you or a senior loved one are already a pro at the backstroke or are just dipping into the idea of incorporating swimming for a total body workout, it provides countless benefits that help seniors remain active and independent. Let’s dive in!

5 Benefits Of Swimming for Seniors

1. Swimming is Low Impact

High impact activities, like aerobics, running, or jumping rope, provide an excellent workout but can be tough on seniors’ joints and often increase the risk of injury. Swimming, however, is a low impact exercise that also gets the heart pumping and helps to build strength and endurance.

Because the body is submerged in water while swimming, it creates a “weightless” feeling and takes the pressure off joints. It can help ease symptoms of arthritis and fibromyalgia as well by stimulating blood flow, relaxing muscles, and increasing joint flexibility.

2. Swimming Builds Strength & Regulates Weight

Water exercises provide a full-body workout and are a wonderful way to strengthen muscles and increase overall body function. The strength that’s built by swimming is also linked to a reduced risk of falling for seniors. In fact, a recent study found that seniors aged 70 and older who swam regularly reduced their risk of falling by 33%!

Swimming is effective at burning calories as well. Depending on the intensity of the session, just 30 minutes in the pool could burn up to 900 calories.

3. Swimming for Seniors Improves Heart Health

Because swimming is an aerobic exercise, it strengthens the heart and improves its ability to pump blood throughout the body. In turn, water exercises are linked to lowered blood pressure and increased circulation. Additionally, swimming helps reduce stress, which plays an important role in good heart health and can decrease the risk of heart attack.  

4. Swimming Boosts Mood & Brain Function

Swimming is good for more than just the body – the mind benefits from it as well! The act of swimming increases blood flow to the brain, which forms new brain cells and helps improve cognitive function. A dip also releases endorphins, or the “feel good” hormone, which brings about a sense of positivity, wellbeing, and happiness. 

5. Swimming Helps Seniors Stay Social

Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services always encourages our clients to remain socially engaged, as this has a long list of its own advantages for senior health. Water exercises are the perfect activity to do with a caregiver, friend, or family member!

Many community centers offer group exercise programs like lap swimming, water aerobics, and aquatic training. In addition to benefiting senior health, group exercises have a lasting effect on wellbeing and can help you or your senior loved one stay committed to fitness goals.

Ready to make a splash? A Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver is happy to help you or your special senior find the perfect aquatic fitness routine. With the hottest part of the year fast approaching, a dip in the pool instead of a hot walk around the neighborhood is sure to be a refreshing new challenge!

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National Mental Health Awareness Month: Strategies to Help Seniors

shschesterfieldcountyva 15 May 2023

May is National Mental Health Awareness MonthWe often hear about ways to strengthen physical health, but taking steps to improve and nurture mental wellbeing is just as important. May is National Mental Health Awareness month, so what better time for Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services to raise awareness about the importance of mental health and offer a few ways seniors can boost theirs.

What Is Mental Health?

The term “mental health” encompasses emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects several aspects of daily life, including how we think, feel, and act, as well as one’s ability to handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.  

When it comes to seniors, many deal with afflictions like depression, anxiety, isolation, and dementia. In fact, at least one in four older adults experiences some mental disorder like the ones listed. 

Spotting a mental health issue in a senior loved one can be tough – symptoms often seem like ordinary reactions to a bad day or tough week. Though they vary by condition and from person to person, warning signs might include:

  • Significant changes in mood, energy level, or appetite
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Amplified worry and stress
  • Unwarranted anger, irritability, or aggression

If you notice persistent sadness, worries, sleep issues, and confusion in yourself or a family member, it’s time to consult a health care professional. Symptoms that last more than a couple weeks can indicate a more serious problem.

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to boost mental health right from the comfort of home. If you or a loved one is feeling low, try a few of the following suggestions to improve mental wellbeing.

Talk It Out

Talking about a problem or worry helps release pent-up feelings and often aids in finding a resolution. However, many people find it difficult to share intimate emotions. It’s important to talk to someone you trust. This person could be a good friend, family member, or even a Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver.

If you or a senior family member aren’t comfortable talking to someone familiar, consider discussing troubles with a counselor. There are lots of options for in-person, virtual, and anonymous therapy.

Adopt A Pet!

Pets provide companionship and unconditional love, which are automatic mood boosters. However, research shows that pets offer their human counterparts a lot more than that! For example:

  • People with pets experience depression less often than those without pets.
  • Pet owners have lower blood pressure and cortisol levels in stressful situations than people who don’t own pets.
  • Playing with a pet elevates serotonin and dopamine levels, leaving the person feeling calmer and more relaxed.
  • Animals have also been shown to reduce loneliness.

In addition, they offer owners a sense of purpose. Having an animal to care for motivates seniors to perform certain duties every day, like feeding, walking, or bathing their pet, which goes a long way in improving mental wellbeing.

Did you know that Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers help our clients care for their pets? That’s right! Whether you or your special senior already have a four-legged companion or are thinking about adding one to the family, they can help ensure all its needs are met.

P.S. – Though dogs and cats are some of the most common house pets, animals like rabbits, fish, birds, and even reptiles provide many of the same mental benefits.

Stay Connected for Mental Health

Spending time with loved ones is another way to address mental health and is especially important in combating feelings of loneliness and isolation. Research shows that seniors who regularly engage with others are also less likely to feel depressed, anxious, and stressed.

Providing companionship is one of the tenets of our mission at Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services. Our caregivers, who are seniors themselves, understand how important it is for our clients to stay engaged and are always available for a friendly and meaningful chat.

They can also help you or your loved one build a broader social circle or get involved in the community. Here are a few ways to up social engagement:

  • Volunteer at organizations within the community, like local nonprofits or churches.
  • Join interest-based groups and clubs. Find ones based on hobbies, fitness, or learning a new skill.
  • When it’s not possible to meet in person, use video chatting technology to connect with loved ones.

Spend some time focusing on your or your senior loved one’s mental health this month. In addition to companionship, Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers assist with other aspects that can decrease the worry and mental stress seniors sometimes feel – like finding transportation and help with daily tasks. It’s our goal to keep the seniors we serve feeling their best in all aspects of life. We’d love to discuss how we can help you or your special senior do the same!

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Senior Occupational Therapy: An All-inclusive Approach to Independence

shschesterfieldcountyva 28 Apr 2023

Senior Occupational Therapy: an all-inclusive approach to independence According to a 2022 University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging, 88% of individuals in the U.S. between the ages of 50 and 80 want to age in place. We at Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services completely understand this desire. Aging at home allows those we serve to remain surrounded by a supportive community, avoid the stress and expense of moving, and enjoy the familiar comforts of home for as long as possible. While the services our caregivers provide help our clients realize this possibility, we believe it’s important to share other ways our senior community can foster independence – through occupational therapy (OT), for instance. Given that April is National Occupational Therapy Month, it’s the perfect time to showcase how senior occupational therapy helps them live the life they want!

What Is Occupational Therapy?

Simply put, senior occupational therapy helps seniors complete everyday tasks more easily, allowing them to remain independent for longer. An occupational therapist will work with you or your senior loved one to devise a plan to overcome physical, mental, and situational barriers that can stifle autonomy.

Another major benefit of occupational therapy is its holistic approach to senior wellbeing. Not only do OT professionals address the physical aspects that make daily life difficult, but they also deal with psychological, cognitive, and social issues that often keep seniors from continuing to participate in activities they enjoy.

How Might Senior Occupational Therapy Look?

As mentioned, occupational therapy covers a wide variety of needs, so the solutions providers offer their patients are quite varied as well. While the recommendations offered to you or your special senior will depend on individual needs, below are a few common ways occupational therapists help seniors age with grace and continued independence.

Build Back Basic Skills

OT providers help seniors improve basic and fine motor skills, strength, dexterity, and flexibility, all of which make completing everyday functions like dressing, eating, and bathing easier.

Recommend Home Modifications

Slips and falls are a big concern for many Seniors Helping Seniors® clients and their families. In addition to suggesting physical exercises to improve balance, strength, and mobility, occupational therapists recommend ways that seniors can make the home less prone to accidents. They might suggest adding handrails in the bathtub, slip-resistant flooring, or develop a plan of attack for clearing cluttered areas.

In addition to suggesting changes to prevent falls, occupational therapists encourage seniors to make modifications that help simplify other everyday tasks. These could include:

  • Replacing door knobs with pull handles
  • Rearrange cabinets to put commonly used items in easier reach
  • Adjusting the height of beds and the width of door frames
  • Adding lighting, and more

Cognitive Exercises

Furthermore, occupational therapists work to improve their patients’ cognitive abilities with things like memory exercises, puzzles, brain games, and sensory stimulation.

Improve Outlook

Seniors who participate in occupational therapy often realize an increase in confidence and a more hopeful outlook on life. OT focuses on the activities seniors can complete, not the abilities that may have been lost. This provides the motivation to continue learning and working to strengthen the body and mind.

Senior Occupational Therapy Provides Support To Caregivers

Occupational therapists will also work with caregivers – both family and hired. This can include educating them on ways they can help their loved one or client continue practicing OT at home or providing techniques to better handle a loved one’s changing abilities. For example, they might:

  • Teach caregivers approaches to handle sudden personality changes in loved ones
  • Demonstrate specific ways to make daily tasks easier, like offering a limited number of clothing options for their senior to choose from
  • Provide caregivers with exercises their client or family member can practice to reduce stress and improve problem-solving capabilities 

Additionally, OT providers act as a trusted confidant for family caretakers. They offer a safe place to vent frustrations, share concerns, and discuss their loved one’s condition. These professionals also suggest methods family caregivers can use to cope with the stresses of caring for an aging parent or relative and encourage them to maintain balance in their own lives.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the ways occupational therapy helps seniors continue living active and independent lives! We at Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services love seeing our senior community utilizing all of the tools at their disposal and would be happy to discuss how OT could help you or a senior loved one too. Let’s talk!

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Crack Open The Power Of Pecans With Seniors Helping Seniors® In-Home Care Services!

shschesterfieldcountyva 17 Apr 2023

Crack open the power of pecansThe spring season is a wonderful time to reestablish good habits, including a focus on healthy eating. Helping clients  create nutritious meals and keep healthy snacks on-hand is one of the many ways Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers support those we serve. While almonds and cashews frequently receive credit as a beneficial addition to senior diets, there’s another nut we’re nuts about – pecans! Since April is National Pecan Month, let’s take a closer look at the nutritional boost these tree nuts provide and a few easy ways to add them into your or your special senior’s diet.

Pecans: A Nutritious Nut

Pecans provide seniors with a variety of benefits that help keep the body and mind in top condition. We explore a few ways they pack a wholesome punch below:

Improve Heart Health

Pecans possess a plethora of monounsaturated fatty acids, which help seniors maintain a strong ticker. In fact, studies have also shown that just one ounce of pecans per day can lower cholesterol and reduce triglyceride levels, both of which are linked to heart health.

Stabilize Blood Sugar

Diabetes is an issue for many seniors and, while pecans are a carbohydrate, they also register low on the glycemic index. This means that they won’t cause blood sugar levels to spike. In fact, as a source of healthy fats, protein, and fiber, they actually slow the digestion of carbohydrates, which delays glucose absorption and helps to regulate blood sugar.

Boost Brain Function

For a snack that improves the mind, look no further than the mighty pecan! This nut is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are associated with less inflammation in the body and brain. In turn, they help alleviate brain fog and allow for clearer thinking.

Promote Strong Bones

Pecans are loaded with phosphorus and calcium, two minerals that are key to maintaining bone density. As we age, our risk of osteoporosis increases, but snacking on this nutritious nut can help seniors stay active and strong!

Dish Up A Diet Chock Full Of Pecans!

There are plenty of ways to incorporate pecans into a balanced diet – and our Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers can’t wait to help you or your senior loved one cook up a delicious (and pecan-packed) meal! Looking for ideas? Try these!

  • Supplement salads. Pecans add a satisfying crunch and a nice helping of good fats and proteins to a fresh spring salad.
  • Make a pecan-filled energy bar. Homemade energy bars are easy to make and allow you or your special senior the flexibility to customize the ingredients to meet a range of dietary needs.
  • Whip up some pecan butter. Nut butter is a popular alternative to traditional spreads and is a perfect addition to toast, muffins, and stir fry.
  • Eat by the handful! Pecans are delicious all on their own too. Enjoy them as a healthy snack any time of the day!

See why we’re nuts about pecans?! Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services is continually searching for ways to help our clients pursue an active, healthy lifestyle. Whether you or your family member could use an escort to the grocery store to stock up on pecans and other healthy snacks or a friend to help whip up a balanced meal, we’re always excited to serve our senior community!

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Occupational Therapy: A Seniors Helping Seniors® Suggestion For A More Independent YOU!

Seniors Helping Seniors® 02 Apr 2023

April is National Occupational Therapy Month and Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services is taking a moment to champion this life-changing treatment. Occupational therapy (OT) helps people of all ages maintain, or regain, the skills necessary to perform everyday activities.

Similar to its better-known counterpart, physical therapy, OT provides a number of benefits throughout the body. Where the two differ most is in their purpose. Physical therapy focuses on improving pain in one part of the body, while occupational therapy is focused on adapting daily tasks to make them easier. For our care receivers, that means doing more of the things you love most!

Let’s explore the ways this branch of therapy can help our active senior community continue to reap the rewards of an independent lifestyle!

Physical Benefits

Occupational therapy helps strengthen the body by increasing flexibility, re-conditioning muscles, and teaching adaptive movements that put less stress on muscles and joints. Here’s a closer look at the physical advantages of OT.

Enhanced Range Of Motion

As a senior, improving flexibility can change a lot! Stretching allows the body to be less rigid. In turn, this decreases the chances of injuries like a muscle strain or pull. It can also make daily tasks – such as vacuuming, gardening, or walking – easier to complete.

Treatment to better range of motion can include a number of methods. For example, to improve shoulder flexibility, an occupational therapist might suggest seniors complete a series of stretches, practice dressing the upper body, and work on strength training exercises for that area.

Decreased Chronic Pain

When you lead an active and fulfilling life, chronic pain, like arthritis and muscle aches, can really slow you down. Getting support from an occupational therapist can help, however.

To assist with pain management, these professionals demonstrate adaptations for the activities that are most important to everyday life. The technical terms for these strategies include things like reduced muscle tension, ergonomics, safe body mechanics, and neuromuscular re-education. Simply put, these methods are alternative ways to complete tasks with less strain, and therefore pain, on the body.

Maximize Mental Health

The advantages of OT far surpass physical improvements. Cognitive functions like memory and brain capacity can see an uptick as well! It can even help relieve stress and anxiety.

Better Memory And Increased Brainpower

Occupational therapists are trained to evaluate thinking skills in addition to physical abilities. Again, there are a variety of techniques that can be used to improve cognitive function.

Memory-enhancing activities like crossword puzzles and brain teaser games are often encouraged to keep the mind sharp. An occupational therapist may also break challenging tasks down into a series of simple steps and cues, making them easier to complete for those with memory loss.

Additionally, occupational therapists can work with seniors on exercises that improve vision. It might not seem closely connected to memory and brainpower, but enhanced sight allows seniors to gather and process information more easily, benefiting cognition.

Reduced Stress And Anxiety

With age, the ability to perform everyday tasks often declines, taking a toll on mental health. You or a senior loved one might start to feel helpless and depressed due to this loss of function.

An occupational therapist, however, will focus on the tasks that CAN be completed, inspiring seniors with a sense of empowerment! As for weaker skills? OT is utilized to identify these and work to improve them.

Adaptive Living

Ultimately, the goal of occupational therapy is to enable individuals, seniors included, to live comfortably and independently. Improving physical and mental wellbeing is certainly helpful in retaining personal freedom, but OT extends beyond this.

Home Modifications

Not only will occupational therapists work with the body and mind to make life easier, they will also assist in adjusting areas of your home, or that of a senior loved one, with the same end goal. Here are some ways these professionals might alter a living space for better daily functionality:

  • Suggest safety improvements, like adding handrails in bathrooms, increased lighting, and clearing clutter from walking paths
  • Re-label medications, cooking items, and cleaners so they’re easier to distinguish for individuals with sight loss
  • Add visual cues throughout the home to help those with memory loss or dementias navigate and complete tasks

Shared Knowledge

Occupational therapists often encourage family members and caregivers to become familiar with the exercises their senior loved one has been practicing during OT. This ensures improvement doesn’t stop at the end of a session.

The more seniors can incorporate occupational therapies into a daily or weekly routine, the easier it will be to stay physically active, mentally fit, and autonomous. Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers are happy to assist those we serve with the strategies learned through occupational therapy. From helping complete daily exercises to adaptive strategies, we’re here for you or the special senior in your life!

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4 Spring Cleaning Tips For A Fresh & Safe Home

shschesterfieldcountyva 29 Mar 2023

Spring Cleaning Tips - need help?The start of spring represents new beginnings and a season of rebirth. Just as the outside world takes this season to start fresh, seniors can use it to reset their homes with these spring cleaning tips.

We at Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services are well-versed in the benefits our clients realize in keeping a tidy home. It aids in independence and promotes feelings of confidence and mental clarity, for instance. As we move into the spring season with a renewed burst of energy, we’re sharing four spring cleaning tips to help you or your senior loved one tackle the season like a pro!

Plan a Spring Cleaning Approach

As invigorating as spring cleaning can be, it can also be overwhelming without a clear plan of attack. Think about, or discuss with your loved one, what areas of the home need the most attention and how much can realistically be accomplished in one day.

Next, create a checklist of spring-cleaning tasks. To keep things manageable, break larger jobs, like deep cleaning the kitchen or clearing out the garage, into smaller tasks that can be finished within a few hours.

Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services recommends our clients dedicate a few days a week to checking off the items on their list. When cleaning, go slow and listen to your body or, if working alongside a senior family member, encourage them to take breaks often. If tasks become too strenuous, simply take time to rest and commit to tackling these chores at a later date.

First, Declutter. Then, Clean.

Did you know, decluttering boosts mood, reduces anxiety, and improves one’s ability to focus? While those are all excellent reasons to clear the clutter, doing so is also important in protecting seniors against trips and falls in the home. Not to mention, cleaning will be easier with fewer items to work around.

Purging can be tough, but it also results in feelings of empowerment and accomplishment. Focus on the following priorities to get started:

  • Clear tripping hazards from hallways, stairwells, and walking paths.
  • Start with smaller areas, like a pantry or even a drawer, removing the easiest things first.
  • Organize along the way, rearranging so that frequently used items are easily accessible.

Letting go of what’s no longer serving a purpose is especially important for seniors because it promotes safety and makes continuing to live independently more feasible. With less clutter and commonly used items within easy reach, our clients are able to navigate the home confidently and face less risk of injury. Designating an assigned spot for daily necessities like medications, glasses, and keys also means less time spent searching for these items and more time living life to the fullest!

Give Safety Features A Once-Over

Are the home’s smoke and carbon monoxide detectors working? Are flashlight batteries charged in case of emergency? Do air filters need to be changed? Are vents clear of dust?

Though these aren’t all “cleaning” activities, regularly checking safety features throughout the home is important and spring cleaning provides the perfect reminder. Ensuring items like these are in working order will offer peace of mind to you and your special senior all season long.

Ask For Help!

Spring cleaning is a significant task no matter how committed one is to daily and weekly housework throughout the year. Let one of our caregivers assist!

As mentioned, Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers know the value those we serve discover in a clean and tidy home – from improved safety and security to better immune health, a lighter mental load, and easier access to everyday essentials. They’ll be beside you or your senior loved one every step of the way to provide encouragement, an extra set of hands, and conversation to keep things interesting! Like getting a little help from your friends®.

Ready to get started? Gather the cleaning supplies and these spring cleaning tips, cue up a few favorite tunes, and step into spring with a clear head and refreshed home!

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Celebrate The Awesomeness of Seniors With Seniors Helping Seniors®!

shschesterfieldcountyva 14 Mar 2023

Celebrate the awesomeness of seniorsThe month of March is noteworthy at Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services because it recognizes International Day of Awesomeness – and that means we get to celebrate all the reasons our clients are extraordinary!  This fun day of recognition started as a tongue-in-cheek gesture between two co-workers on March 10th, 2008. They wanted to celebrate one another’s awesomeness, so they posted about it on Twitter. Since, International Day of Awesomeness has grown into a full-fledged social media phenomenon!

In honor of the day’s tagline, which reads “No one’s perfect, but everyone can be awesome,” we’re shining a spotlight on a few of the ways our clients inspire, motivate, and impress us day-in and day-out.

The Awesomeness of Seniors!

Seniors Helping Seniors® clients embrace the challenges that accompany aging with a fierce conviction to growing older gracefully and the ability to do it all with a positive mindset. Let’s further explore these fabulous characteristics!

Unmatched Resolve

When it comes to aging, continuing to live as an independent senior comes with its share of difficult obstacles. From unexpected health issues, finding the motivation to stay active, and struggling to understand the latest technology, we understand how discouraging these challenges can feel at times.

However, we continually see our clients finding new ways to rise above these obstacles. This could mean they seek the assistance of a Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver or take the initiative to pioneer a neighborhood fitness group to keep themselves and their friends active. No matter what, our clients live with a never-ending drive to become better.

Winning Attitude

Henry Ford once said, “If you think you can or you can’t…you’re probably right.” This quote hits home on the Seniors Helping Seniors® team because we know the crucial role that mindset plays in our clients’ daily lives. Here’s to our senior community and their “can do” attitude!

How To Maximize the Awesomeness of Seniors Year After Year!

While “awesomeness” is a quality that is tough to define or manifest, there are several behaviors that can help each one of us become the best possible versions of ourselves.

Give Thanks

Gratitude is a powerful mindset that helps individuals cope with life’s stressors. Practicing for just ten minutes a day encourages a positive outlook. Try the Seniors Helping Seniors® suggestions below to get started:

  1. Keep a journal and practice gratitude by making it a daily writing exercise.
  2. Participate in gratitude meditation every morning by focusing on the things for which you’re grateful.

Both approaches will set the tone for a wonderful day!

Prioritize Health & Wellness

Maintaining a strong body and mind requires hard work, but our clients are always crushing their goals! We at Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services love to see our clients taking control of their health and know their determination will help them age with continuing grace and independence.

Of course, health and wellness encompass more than just physical fitness. For continued awesomeness, incorporate all of the following into your or your senior loved one’s routine:

  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes five days a week
  • Eat a balanced diet comprised of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains
  • Stimulate the brain with mind games and puzzles
  • Maintain an active social life 

Overall wellness is essential, especially when squeezing every drop out of fun out of one’s golden years!

Give Back

At Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services, we’re all about spreading kindness and compassion. Participating in acts of good will creates a sense of belonging and can help individuals feel more connected to those around them in the process. One small act of kindness can create an enormous positive response that will keep you and everyone around you feeling incredible!

There are no limits to the ways in which the Seniors Helping Seniors® community exudes awesomeness at every turn and we’re thrilled to be able to celebrate it today and every day!

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3 Unexpected Ways To Improve Heart Health for Seniors

shschesterfieldcountyva 27 Feb 2023

heart health - woman holding fingers in heart shape with text "Put your heart in it"We all know a balanced diet and daily exercise are the tent poles of a healthy heart. In this article, however, we’re focused on a few of the lesser-known ways Seniors Helping Seniors® clients can maintain heart health.

Reducing stress, sustaining an active social life, and incorporating simple stretches into a morning routine all help to bolster an already heart-healthy lifestyle. Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services is committed to helping those we serve hit all the right beats towards a healthy heart, so read on to get the ideas flowing!

Heart Health Tip 1: Manage Stress

Equally important as eating smart and exercising, finding ways to deal with stress is essential in keeping the heart in top shape. The following ideas can help.

Practice Relaxation

Relaxing isn’t just important – it’s doctor’s orders! Staying relaxed goes hand-in-hand with stress management. Below, the Seniors Helping Seniors® team has gathered several exercises to help our clients feel at ease in any situation.

  • Breathing exercises, like taking slow and intentional deep breaths, send a message to the brain to relax. These breathing practices slow your heart rate and release more oxygen into the bloodstream, unleashing endorphins that combat stress.
  • Visualization helps reduce stress too. To start, find a quiet space, take a few deep breaths, and close your eyes. Picture yourself in a peaceful space. It could be the beach, a meadow, or a favorite comfy chair. Imagine having fun, smiling, and feeling serene.
  • Counting to 10 can help our clients stay calm when beginning to feel stressed as well. Simply close your eyes, take a deep breath, and count slowly from one to 10. Check how you feel and repeat this exercise until you reach a relaxed state.

Replace Bad Habits with Good Ones

Another side effect of stress are the vices we enact to help cope. For example, eating sweets may reduce anxiety in the short-term, but consistently indulging in not-so-great behaviors to de-stress can have unfavorable long-term results. Next time you find yourself gravitating toward a bad habit because of stress, break the cycle by completing a good habit instead. Try going for a walk, writing in a journal, taking a hot bath, or calling a friend.

Create A Plan To Stop Stress In Its Tracks

Now that you have a few stress relieving techniques in your arsenal, create a routine to practice any time you feel anxiety rearing its head. By recognizing the onset of stress and having a plan in place to stop it, you’ll be in total control of your reaction!

Heart Health Tip 2: Stay Connected

For years, studies have shown that loneliness can negatively affect heart health. In fact, recent research uncovered that loneliness correlates to a 27% increase in the risk of heart disease for individuals 50 years of age and older. Helping our clients remain engaged throughout their senior years is one of our top priorities at Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services. Have you tried the following to build a social circle and keep connected?

Join Social Groups

There’s a group out there for everyone! Find like-minded individuals at the local senior center, fitness club, or through an online search of area clubs and organizations. Can’t find a group that fits? Gather some pals and start your own!

Keep In Touch With Family and Friends

With the hustle and bustle of daily life, carving out time to chat with loved ones can become a challenge. Nonetheless, it’s critical in remaining engaged! If your family lives close by, set up a monthly dinner or lunch date. Establish an ongoing connection with out-of-town loved ones by committing to calling or video chatting on the regular.

Take Advantage of Our Companionship Services

We offer a wide variety of in-home care services, including companionship! Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers are friendly, fun, and love getting to know the seniors we serve. We even make sure to match caregivers and clients who have similar interests, so there will always be lots to talk about!

Heart Health Tip 3: Stretch It Out

Daily stretching helps reduce injury, accidents, and…heart disease? Yes – you read that correctly! Kicking off each day with a stretching routine triggers the blood to start pumping and gets the heart-healthy habits going before your first cup of coffee!

Stretching also decreases stiffness in the arteries and damage to their walls, which leads to fewer heart-related problems. Not to mention, a quick morning stretch can help you relax, which we know is essential in boosting heart health as well!

Who knew there were so many ways to strengthen heart health?! Let’s get pumped for a happy and healthy year ahead!

The post 3 Unexpected Ways To Improve Heart Health for Seniors appeared first on Seniors Helping Seniors.

Riding The Wave! How to Keep Kindness Flowing In 2023

shschesterfieldcountyva 14 Feb 2023

February 17th is NKeep Kindness Flowing in 2023ational Random Acts of Kindness Day, and showing kindness is the concept at the heart of Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services. We see the effects of compassion year after year as we watch our caregivers and clients support one another, share genuine laughter, and spread hope with thoughtful acts.

As we shine a light on this mindset, we’re excited to explore the many ways acts of kindness – large or small – create positive change in the body, mind, and in those around us. In addition, we love sharing ideas that inspire both those on the Seniors Helping Seniors® team as well as the individuals we serve to show they care!

Why Show Kindness?

According to the Mayo Clinic, “kindness” means to exhibit a spirit of helpfulness, generosity, and consideration, and to do so without the expectation of receiving something in return. We see this quality on display in our caregivers day after day and understand how powerful it can be!

Although most people don’t need a reason to be kind, whether looking for one or not, the benefits of spreading cheer are plentiful. For example, doing something nice for another person has been shown to:

  • Reduce blood pressure and decrease cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormone
  • Stimulate the production of serotonin, which improves mood
  • Increase one’s sense of purpose
  • Boost confidence
  • Foster a connection between individuals

Equally important, acts of kindness – whether random or planned – are contagious. Doing something nice for someone else inspires them to pay it forward as well!

Make It Your Mantra

Benevolence is innate in most people, but there are ways to help ensure you’re putting your best foot forward at every turn. For example, start each day with the mantra, “I will spread happiness today by…,” and then fill in the blank with how you plan to extend goodwill.

It’s that simple!

Now, let’s dive into some of our team’s favorite ways to show kindness!

The Power Of Love®

There are, quite literally, innumerable ways to spread cheer to those around us. No matter how you choose to brighten someone’s day, you can be certain that no good deed goes unnoticed or unappreciated.

Break Bread

Sitting down for a meal is a wonderful way to create happiness and joy. Whether cheering up a loved one by cooking their favorite meal or inviting a friend over to enjoy your most-loved dish, a few hours of engaging conversation, laughter, and meaningful connection will leave everyone in attendance with full bellies and full hearts!

Nice & Neighborly

Spreading kindness in your own backyard is perhaps the easiest way to show you care. A considerate gesture can make a new neighbor feel welcome or remind a long-time friend how lucky you are to live next door.

Watch for opportunities to:

  • Offer a hand carrying groceries or large packages
  • Assist with yard work
  • Bring the garbage cans in after pick-up
  • Deliver cookies or bread…just because!
  • Invite neighbors over for coffee or tea
  • Compliment an outfit, new haircut, or DIY project
  • Ask the person next door to join you for an evening walk

You just might start a wave of kindness throughout the entire neighborhood with one tiny act!

Make A Connection with Kindness

Connecting with others – old friends and new acquaintances alike – always feels good! Call to let a senior loved one know you’re thinking about them during a difficult time. Ask a stranger who’s sitting alone to join you for lunch. Make it a point to support a friend as they learn a new hobby. There are tons of ways to spark a meaningful bond with others!

Don’t let National Random Acts of Kindness Day sneak by without spreading love and joy to whomever you encounter. As American author and cartoonist Scott Adams once said:

“Remember, there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”

We at Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services are ready to make some waves! Are you?

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The Skinny On Blueberries: A Small Fruit Bursting With Benefits!

shschesterfieldcountyva 31 Jan 2023

Blueberries in bowlWhether you enjoy them packed into a muffin or straight off the bush, blueberries are a sweet treat just about everybody loves. At Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services, we love this berry not only because it’s tasty, but also because it’s packed full of essential vitamins and nutrients! For example, just one cup of blueberries provides 24% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C. One cup also clocks in at only 84 calories, so seconds (or thirds) won’t wreak havoc on your waistline. There are loads of ways seniors can incorporate this antioxidant-rich superfood into a healthy diet on a daily basis. If you need ideas, we outline a few below. But first, let’s explore some of the ways blueberries deliver a healthy punch!

“Berry” Beneficial!

Blueberries are packed full of anthocyanin, which is a flavonoid, or plant compound, that possesses a powerful antioxidant effect. On top of the health benefits it provides, anthocyanin is also responsible for this juicy fruit’s distinctive blue color!

Seniors Helping Seniors® care receivers who work blueberries into a balanced diet will enjoy a number of benefits, like the following:

1. Reduced Memory Loss & Cognitive Decline

A recent study that looked at blueberry consumption in adults over the age of 60 came to two key conclusions: First, participants who ate one cup of blueberries every day showed a 72% increase in semantic memory, or long-term memories not drawn from personal experience (i.e. recalling basic facts).

Second, participants 94 years of age and older who had already begun experiencing memory decline saw an uptick in daily memory performance, felt better, and committed fewer mistakes after incorporating this superfruit in their diet.

2. Blueberries Fight Inflammation & Cancer

Blueberries contain antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin A. These nutrients ward off inflammation and can inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors.

3. Stronger Bones

The blueberry is considered nature’s multi-vitamin for good reason! It contains iron, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and vitamin K, all of which are key elements in maintaining bone strength.

4. Blueberries are Heart Healthy

A Harvard study found that regular consumption of anthocyanins, the flavonoid found in blueberries, reduces the risk of heart attack by 32% in women. In addition, they’re chock full of heart-healthy compounds like fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin C, and vitamin B.

The positive effects from consuming blueberries seem endless and aren’t exclusive to what we’ve highlighted here. Blueberries have also been found to play an integral role in decreasing blood pressure, boosting mental health, improving skin health, and preventing diabetes!

Blueberries are Part Of a Balanced Diet

Now that we’ve explored how blueberries benefit our bodies and minds, let’s talk about how to incorporate these superfruits into a healthy eating plan! Here are some of the Seniors Helping Seniors® team’s favorite ways to build a blueberry-full and delicious diet:

Grab a Handful!

Blueberries are sweet and juicy on their own, and just what the doctor ordered. And, at less than 100 calories per cup, a handful of blueberries makes an ideal guilt-free snack!

Whip Up A Smoothie

Smoothies are a convenient and healthy addition to a balanced diet. You can prepare them in about 5 minutes (just reach for the frozen fruit!) and there are endless flavor combinations to explore. Leafy greens like spinach or kale, bananas, Greek yogurt, and strawberries are all great options. Just don’t forget the blueberries!

Use As A Tasty Topper

Oatmeal is a nutrient-rich breakfast that’s filled with antioxidants and gut-healing qualities. To make this breakfast even better for you, add a cup of blueberries to the mix! They’ll give your bowl a burst of color and add a beneficial boost to your morning.

Seniors Helping Seniors® companions love helping those we serve discover new methods for incorporating superfoods into their diet. Put your heads together and see how many ways you and your caregiver can come up with to punch up breakfast, lunch, or dinner with this beneficial berry!

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Start The New Year with Purpose! Finding Your Passion in 2023

shschesterfieldcountyva 17 Jan 2023

Be On Purpose! Senior female writing goals on notepadAs we ring in a new year, it’s time to reboot and think about your intentions for 2023. That’s why January is National Be On-Purpose Month! But what does it mean to be “on-purpose?” Simply put, it means that you live with clarity about who you want to be, what you want to accomplish, and how you want to impact the people around you. Once you know your intentions, you set goals that will help you achieve them.

If the idea of purposeful living intrigues you but you are unsure where to start, Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services can help! Our caregivers are thrilled to see those we serve working to better themselves and are happy to become a partner on your journey. With their help and the tips below, you can make the changes needed to live your life for a better, more meaningful tomorrow!

How To Discover Your Purpose

First things first, what’s your intent? Living with purpose can mean different things throughout each stage of our lives. Re-evaluating our interests, beliefs, and motivations each year gives us a chance to discover a new set of priorities.

If you already know where your intentions for the new year lie, great! If not, let’s start digging…

What’s your passion?

Thinking about your interests, hobbies, and talents can provide insight into your purpose. The activities that bring you joy are an excellent place to begin forming purpose-driven goals.

If you aren’t sure what you’re passionate about, explore a variety of activities with your Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver in the year ahead. After all, continuing to learn new things and improve upon your skills is an excellent intention for 2023 too!

What do friends and family say about you?

It can be difficult to look at ourselves objectively so paying attention to what others notice regarding your skills and positive attributes can provide additional insight into your purpose. For example, do people compliment your patience or ability to talk to anyone? Or perhaps they make it a point to tell you how your homemade desserts and beautiful garden brighten their day. Use this feedback to dive deeper into uncovering the person you want to be, how you hope to make people feel, and what attributes can help you get there.

What do you want to accomplish by living “on-purpose?”

Understanding your strengths and interests is the first piece of the puzzle. Once you’ve got that down, think about your reasons for pursuing it. For instance, do you want to improve your own skills or learn something new? Would you like to get others interested in your passion? Do you want to give back to your community?

Here are several examples of how you can make your passion purpose-driven:

  • If you love the theater, make it a goal to organize group trips throughout the year. This is a great way to see more shows, support your local arts scene, and share your passion with a group of like-minded friends.
  • Explore your love for painting by taking classes. Feeling adventurous? Commit to entering your work in a local art show or maker’s market by the year’s end!
  • Use your sewing skills to help others by making scarves that you can donate to area shelters during the winter season.

Knowing exactly what you hope to accomplish will help you set S.M.A.R.T goals (which we discuss below) and make it easier to stay focused on your overall intentions.

Get S.M.A.R.T (on purpose)!

Charting a purposeful path is only effective when you have a clear route to success. Now that you know what your intentions are for 2023, it’s time to set some objectives!

You’ve probably heard of the acronym “S.M.A.R.T” in terms of goal setting. Remember, those letters stand for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Every goal you set should meet these five criteria for the best chance at success. For even better odds, the Seniors Helping Seniors® team added a few more helpful tips below:

  • Write your goals down
  • Share objectives with friends and family
  • Split long-term or large goals up into smaller, more manageable objectives
  • Celebrate victories (even small ones)!

Keep in mind, sometimes deadlines won’t be met. That’s OK! Unsuccessful attempts aren’t failures, they’re simply part of the learning process.

No matter what your purpose is in 2023, your Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver will be by your side every step of the way! And, while National Be On-Purpose Month ends January 31st, your mission to live more meaningfully doesn’t have to. Once you have an established system for defining your intentions and setting goals to help you reach them, you can live with purpose each and every day!

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Games and Puzzles for Seniors – A Brain Workout for Everyone!

shschesterfieldcountyva 09 Dec 2022

Fun for Everyone! Games and puzzles for seniors - senior gentleman with 2 children at a chess boardPlaying games and solving puzzles might not feel like a serious brain workout, but these activities are some of the best ways to improve cognitive wellbeing. Even better – they’re a wonderful way to engage with family and friends! We just celebrated National Game and Puzzle Week the last week in November, and what better time for Seniors Helping Seniors® care receivers to get in on the fun?! Below, we talk about a few different types of senior games and puzzles that are sure to get participants thinking, strategizing, and in some cases, moving. Not sure which game will hit the spot? Try a few! You or your senior family member can tap into a slew of mental and social benefits with any or all of the following games and puzzles.

Games and Puzzles for Seniors – Get In The Game!

Games come in tons of different varieties – there’s truly something that everyone can enjoy! Whether you or your family member love outsmarting an opponent, working as a team to reach a goal, or are simply searching for a lively icebreaker to play with friends, family, and a Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver, one of the following suggestions is sure to do the trick.

Tabletop Games

Board games and card games cover numerous topics and skill levels. That’s why they’re one of our favorite ways to get into the competitive spirit. Here are a few other reasons they’re a go-to on game night:

  • Individuals with mobility issues can easily participate since tabletop games don’t typically require a lot of movement to play.
  • Many are suitable for elementary aged children to seniors, so there are plenty of games that friends and family of all ages can enjoy together.
  • The strategy behind games like chess and poker are often passed down from generation to generation, making them a great way to connect with grandchildren.

Video Games

It may sound strange to include video games as a fun activity for seniors, but they’re an excellent way to stimulate the mind and body by helping to improve coordination and critical thinking skills. If you or a senior loved one are looking to get the blood pumping, video games that encourage you to act out movements to complete a goal are a perfect choice. For example, these games allow players to compete in sporting competitions, play an instrument as a part of a band, or learn a new dance right in the living room.

Digital Games and Puzzles for Seniors

We’re all familiar with the saying: “There’s an app for that!” Digital games are no exception. Our favorite part? You don’t have to live in the same area to challenge a friend or family member to a round. Phone and computer games allow us to connect with players from around the world – all from the best seat in the living room.

Our caregivers love helping those we serve learn new skills and adapt to technology, especially when these technologies help our clients stay connected with loved ones. After all, our in-home services focus on Aging Reimagined®. Ask a Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver to help you or a loved one download a digital game and get the competition started!

Puzzles For Peak Performance

Like games, puzzles are fun for all ages and carry with them some rewarding benefits. They promote concentration, increase brain function, and can be a pleasurable way to stay engaged during the cool and dreary fall and winter months.

Jigsaw puzzles provide an excellent way to work the mind. With choices ranging from those with dozens of pieces to thousands, there’s an option for every skill level. Not to mention, every scene imaginable is available in puzzle form, so when the work is done, you or a senior loved one will be left with a stunning image to enjoy!

“Brain” games like Sudoku, crosswords, word searches, and matching games require players to solve a puzzle as well, using strategy and critical thinking. On the days that you or an aging family member are looking for a fun and challenging solo activity, brain games are an excellent option.

Finding ways to gather with family and friends once cookouts and long spring and summer evenings come to an end can be tough. Planning a monthly game night is an excellent way to keep the fun going over the fall and winter seasons.

Our caregivers are happy to help, from finding a few fun and appropriate games and puzzles for seniors to making appetizers for the whole gang to share on game night. So, get your game face on, gather the crew, and start an exciting new tradition!

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Know the Facts about Alzheimer’s Disease

shschesterfieldcountyva 08 Dec 2022

Alzheimer's Disease Ribbon purple with word "hope"An estimated 6.2 million Americans age 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s disease. Although the term “Alzheimer’s” is familiar to most, understanding the condition, its symptoms, and treatment options is a more difficult task. As we just finished November – Alzheimer’s Awareness Month – Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services is empowering our care receivers and their families to be proactive about Alzheimer’s. Read on to learn more about the disease and the steps you can take to help prevent and treat it in yourself or a senior loved one.

What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that affects memory, thinking, and behavior. It is the most common cause of dementia, responsible for 60-80% of all dementia cases.

The most recognizable symptoms include:

  • Memory loss and forgetfulness
  • Confusion about surroundings
  • Inability to perform simple tasks
  • Difficulty finding the right words when speaking

Alzheimer’s Disease vs. Dementia

Dementia is an umbrella term for symptoms like memory loss or cognitive function; it is not a specific disease. Conversely, Alzheimer’s is a brain disorder caused by cell damage. Those with Alzheimer’s often experience symptoms of dementia.

Alzheimer’s Prevention

There is no surefire way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. However, certain proactive measures can help reduce the risk in yourself or a senior loved one. Work with a Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver to practice healthy habits, like the following.

Maintain A Healthy Heart

Studies show an increased link between cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s diagnoses. Maintaining good heart health throughout the Golden Years can help lessen the risk of developing many medical conditions, including Alzheimer’s.

Follow these steps to improve heart health:

  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol
  • Eat a nutritious diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Exercise 3-5 days a week for at least 30 minutes

Stay Connected

Studies show that mentally and socially active seniors experience a lower risk of cognitive decline. Participating in enjoyable activities and hobbies creates a sense of purpose and aids in healthy aging.

Try these Seniors Helping Seniors® suggestions for staying stimulated:

  • Engage in a creative outlet like reading, painting, or playing an instrument
  • Play brain games like Sudoku and crossword puzzles
  • Join group activities like a sports team or book club
  • Socialize with family and friends, either in-person or virtually 

Diagnosis & Treatment

Though there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease, early diagnosis and treatment can help those with the condition maintain a better quality of life. If you’ve noticed warning signs in yourself or a senior loved one, it’s important to make an appointment with a doctor.

Diagnosis is typically done through a combination of tests – including a neurological exam, blood tests, and brain scans. These help the doctor identify if Alzheimer’s is the cause of cognitive decline and rule out other possibilities.

Treatment includes prescription medications to help improve cognitive symptoms as well as adaptations to the person’s home to make living with the condition more manageable.

A Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver can assist you or your senior loved one in creating processes that ease demand on memory and make daily life easier, such as:

  • Establishing a spot for valuables (keys, wallet, phone) to prevent them from becoming lost
  • Developing – and sticking to – a consistent daily schedule and routine
  • Creating a daily checklist to track medication and doctor’s appointments

It is important to surround yourself with trusted helpers when dealing with Alzheimer’s in yourself or a senior loved one. In addition to providing compassionate care after a diagnosis, our caregiving team is familiar with the signs and can play a vital role in helping to identify early indications of the disease.

Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services is always available to be a part of your support network and we’re here to address any concerns and questions you have about Alzheimer’s. Together, we can raise awareness of this condition and help seniors living with it remain active and independent!

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Mapping Out A Fun Fall Road Trip

shschesterfieldcountyva 31 Oct 2022

Map Out a Fun Fall Road TripFall is the perfect time to hop in the car and “get lost” for a bit. Whether you or a senior loved one are looking to take in vibrant and dazzling fall foliage, pop into a top-rated breakfast joint, or discover one-of-a-kind creations, there’s a perfect fall road trip for everyone!

Before you pack the car, however, make sure you have a trusted companion set to come along for the ride. Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers make excellent co-pilots! You can rest assured our caregivers will be just as excited to begin the journey as you or a senior loved one are. We are always ready to share a laugh, trade memories, or sing along to a favorite tune! So, gas up and fasten your seatbelt – here are three autumnal road trip ideas to start planning with a Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver today!

The Perfect Fall Road Trip: Foliage Tour

Foliage is the word of the season for good reason. In many parts of the country, the leaves show off in the Fall with spectacular displays of reds, oranges, and yellows. If out-of-this-world views are what you’re looking for, a fall foliage tour should be at the top of your list!

The best news is there is probably a course already mapped out for you. A quick Internet search will populate tons of scenic routes in the area. Before you and your Seniors Helping Seniors® companion hit the road, however, make sure to prepare for a day away from home.

Load up the car with these road trip essentials:

  • Pack important medications needed throughout the day and keep them within easy reach.
  • Stock up on healthy snacks and bring plenty of water.
  • Have an energizing playlist ready to keep the tunes rolling or choose a favorite podcast or book on tape to enjoy along the way.
  • Check out our travel tips for more!

Seek Out Local Cuisine

Perhaps a journey to a nearby 5-star-rated roadside diner or quaint dessert shop is more up your or your senior loved one’s alley. This can make an excellent fall road trip too!

Sit down with a Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver and compile a list of restaurants, bakeries, and holes-in-the-wall that sound delicious and have others raving. Consider how far to travel and what kind of eats to enjoy and start planning a route. For example, a trip could include grabbing breakfast at the first stop, a mouthwatering appetizer or sandwich around lunch time, and a decadent dessert on the way home.

Before hitting the road, it’s a good idea to call ahead to the places that make the list to ensure they’ll be open. Restaurant hours often vary from day-to-day and season-to-season.

Look For Unique Finds

Want to visit the tallest lighthouse on the East coast? Or get a taste of the “World’s Best!” apple pie? No matter where you call home, there are sure to be a few one-of-a-kind attractions close by.

You and your caregiver might also decide to seek out farmer’s markets in the next town over to fill up a bag of fresh produce or start searching for the perfect artisan creation for a loved one’s upcoming birthday. Hopping between yard sales and antique shops makes for a fun road trip as well and these can be a treasure trove for those willing to take the time to search.

Whether your or a senior loved one’s trip focuses on one of these ideas or a combination of all three, the most important thing is to enjoy the ride! Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services delights in watching our clients experience the joy in each season and we’re always excited to provide a compassionate and friendly companion to join in the fun. After all, when it comes to road trips, the true beauty is in the journey.

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(F)ALL About Fall Maintenance! Tips For Seasonal Prep

shschesterfieldcountyva 17 Oct 2022

All about Fall MaintenanceWith temperatures starting to cool and the hustle and bustle of summer at an end, autumn is a wonderful time to perform yearly maintenance around your home or that of a senior loved one. For Seniors Helping Seniors® care receivers, fall maintenance is especially important, as more extreme winter weather is just a month or two away in many areas throughout the region.

Taking a day or two to inspect key areas of the home (both inside and out) can keep you and your loved one safe and comfortable, in addition to saving money on heating bills and costly emergency repairs. What’s better, most of these fixes don’t require a professional – they can be done with the help of a Seniors Helping Seniors® companion, friend, or family member. Who’s ready to get started?

In-Home Fall Maintenance

Committing to a yearly fall maintenance routine is important in ensuring your home is ready for the cooler months ahead. It will assist in keeping equipment working properly, the air clean, and conditions in the home safe for yourself or an older family member.

Schedule An HVAC Check

After working overtime to keep the house cool during the hot summer months, your HVAC system will benefit from a fall checkup. Being proactive about upkeep makes certain your system works when you need it, like when the temperatures drop.

While most of the items on this list can be done by yourself and a caregiver, this job is one for the professionals. Schedule a time for them to come out and make sure everything is in working order.

Track Down Drafts

Over time, houses develop drafts around doors, windows, and wall joints for a variety of reasons. In addition to leaving you with a chill, unsealed drafts force your heating system to work harder, which can cause your power bill to surge.

Luckily, detecting drafts isn’t difficult. Oftentimes, you’ll be able to feel one simply by standing close to the area where air is getting through. Apply caulking or weatherstripping to seal drafty spots and prevent cool air from creeping in.

TIP: For even more help keeping your home warm, switch the setting on ceiling fans so they rotate clockwise and push warm air down.

Change Air Filters & Clean Air Ducts

Replacing air filters regularly keeps the air in your home clean and fresh, a matter especially important to individuals with respiratory issues. Though filters should be changed more than once a year, making it part of fall maintenance ensures the air in your home is as pure as possible during the coming months, when you’ll likely be spending more time indoors.

Cleaning air ducts is simple as well. Ask your Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver for a hand and follow these steps:

  • Remove the vent cover, clean off any dust, and set it aside.
  • Cover the vent opening, and then knock alongside the ductwork with your hand to loosen the dust inside.
  • Use a vacuum to suck up the loose dust and replace the newly cleaned vent cover.

Outside Fall Maintenance

You’ve done that autumn planting. Now it’s time for inspecting your gutters, roof, and pipes to ensure the outside of your home is in good shape, preventing unwanted surprises in the months ahead. The Seniors Helping Seniors® suggestions below will make sure you hit several key areas.

Clean Gutters & Check Pipes

While fall foliage looks beautiful, fallen leaves can also clog your gutters and cause damage if not removed. Cleaning the gutters is straightforward, but these tips will make the job even easier:

  • Use an old plastic spatula to remove debris. It won’t scratch or damage gutters and you can cut it to the exact shape needed.
  • A toilet snake is the perfect tool for clearing clumps of wet leaves and debris from downspouts.

Though gutter cleaning isn’t tough, it may require a ladder. Be sure to enlist the help of your Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver or a family member to stay safe!

Once you’ve finished with the gutters, take a few minutes to inspect outdoor pipes for leaks, and add insulation (if needed) before temperatures drop significantly. While you’re at it, drain garden hoses and store away until spring to prevent damage.

Inspect The Roof

Before winter, you should also have a professional perform a thorough roof inspection to check for leaks, cracks, or damage. Doing this in autumn will give you plenty of time to fix any issues before the winter season sets in.

Discard Fallen Leaves

If there is one thing autumn is best known for, it’s leaves. It’s important to clear dead leaves from your lawn to keep it healthy and free of disease. Give the following Seniors Helping Seniors® methods a try this season:

  • Keep bending and stooping to a minimum by raking leaves onto a tarp and dragging them to a disposal site.
  • Shred leaves with a lawn mower, then gather them to use as mulch in flower beds or the garden.

At Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services, we know keeping up with home repairs and maintenance is a full-time job. But remember, our caregivers love lending a hand! We strive to give seniors The Gift of Independence® through caring companionship and assistance with daily tasks, fall maintenance included! Now, grab a jacket and let’s get to work!

The post (F)ALL About Fall Maintenance! Tips For Seasonal Prep appeared first on Seniors Helping Seniors.

Stimulate Mind & Body with Senior Video Games

shschesterfieldcountyva 27 Sep 2022

Game changer! Senior video gamesContinually finding new hobbies that engage the mind is important in staying active and independent with age. Though traditional book clubs, exercise classes, and lunch dates are all excellent ways to promote social interaction and continued learning, Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services always encourages our care receivers to push the limits. This fall, step outside your comfort zone and try a fun and unexpected way to stimulate body and mind — senior video games!

Yes, you read that right. Though video games are often thought to be an activity for the younger generations, Seniors Helping Seniors® clients can reap rewards as well and have a great time doing it!

The Original Gamer Generation

It may seem like gaming is a relatively new trend, but it has actually been around for almost half a century. In fact, one of the most well-known video game systems – Nintendo – made its debut in 1983. That means a 65-year-old person was in their 20s when video games entered the scene!

But you don’t have to be in your 20s to get in on the action – and the benefits. As you can imagine, video games have come a long way since the 80’s and now more than ever, there’s a game for everyone! Not to mention, the technology used to create them has evolved as well, making them more lifelike and user-friendly.

Get In The Game with Senior Video Games

A study conducted by NC State found that individuals over the age of 63 who played video games at least once a week reported better overall emotional health. Additionally, challenging yourself to learn a new skill (such as senior video games) helps form new synapses between neurons in the brain. This new skill can then be applied to other situations.

Additionally, Seniors Helping Seniors® care receivers who play video games can experience benefits like:

  • Enhanced mental stimulation
  • Better dexterity in hands and fingers
  • Increased social interaction through team-based video games
  • Improved hand-eye coordination

The type of video game you choose to play determines what kind of benefits can be realized. Discuss your goals with your Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver and work together to gather a few games that will help you achieve a better sense of mental and physical wellbeing.

Stand-Out Choices for Senior Video Games

If you could use some help jumping into the gaming scene, try these options from Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services.

Simulator Games

Music- or sports-themed simulator games are an excellent choice for seniors who wish to improve their hand-eye coordination while getting their bodies moving. In these games, you’re required to physically act out a role – like playing the guitar or swinging a tennis racket – as part of the game.

Brain Games

If mental dexterity is what you’re after, look into games of strategy where you have to solve a puzzle to win. These games focus on improving memory and quick thinking, in addition to enhancing visual recognition and critical thinking skills.

No matter what type of game you choose, research shows that picking one you’re not familiar with presents the most significant benefits for senior gamers.

Game Night: Version 2.0

Want to make your new video gaming hobby a social event? Ask your Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver to help you plan a virtual game night!

There are loads of team-based video games that allow for multiple players. Some may require you to work with other players to accomplish a goal while others have you competing to come out on top. Either way, it’s a great way to connect with friends and family with an activity that spans the ages!

Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services knows that stepping outside your comfort zone is a wonderful way for those we serve to discover new interests and expand their skill set. And now you know, video games aren’t just for kids– they’re a fun, convenient, and engaging way to get your brain and body working in new and helpful ways! So, take control of your independence and get gaming!

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Dig Into Fall! Plan for Autumn Planting

shschesterfieldcountyva 15 Sep 2022

Dig in to fall with autumn plantingCooler temperatures are settling in throughout the area, making it an ideal time for gardening. Green thumb or not, Seniors Helping Seniors® care receivers will benefit from autumn planting for many reasons. Let’s take a moment to uncover how gardening helps those we serve continue to stay active, social, and independent — in addition to creating the best-looking lawn on the block!

Autumn Planning Health Benefits

Gardening is a fun fall activity, and studies show that it can help boost mental wellness and physical fitness. Our Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers are happy to assist those we serve in getting their lawn or garden in shape, allowing you or a senior loved one to blossom in the process.

Build Immunity

When it comes to autumn planting, getting a little dirt under the nails is a good thing! Studies show that Mycobacterium – the bacteria found in garden soil – provides a natural boost to the immune system and helps to fight off pesky seasonal allergies. 

Battle Stress & Depression

A day in the sun provides a host of advantages to people of all ages, seniors included! It can help regulate emotions and reduce stress while certain flowers or smells cultivate a sense of nostalgia. Additionally, working in the garden on a sunny day increases the production of Vitamin D, a known combatant of depression.

Build Strength & Endurance with Autumn Planting

Since gardening requires continuous care and attention, it’s a wonderful way for Seniors Helping Seniors® clients to commit to regular exercise. Working in the yard or garden can help boost endurance, increase flexibility, and build strength, all of which keeps our care receivers active and feeling their best.

Top Autumn Planting Picks

Gardening is all about choosing the plants that spark joy, but certain species of flora are better suited to particular areas of the U.S. than others. Here are some suggestions to help decide which plants to incorporate into your space to enjoy stunning vegetation all season long!

Tulips And Daffodils

Though they won’t bloom until spring, fall is the perfect time to plant bulbs like tulips and daffodils. Once spring rolls around, your garden will be shining with beautiful pops of color!

Perennials

Perennials are available in tons of varieties and come back year after year, making them an excellent addition to any flower bed. Not to mention, working perennials into your gardening plan can help cut down on the amount of planting required at the start of each new season.

Sedum typically does well in hardiness zones 3 through 10, making it a versatile addition throughout the area. In the fall, it will bloom with tiny, star-shaped flowers in a variety of vibrant colors.

Amur Maple

Nothing encompasses fall quite like the maple tree, and the amur maple is an ideal choice for area yards. The tree produces brilliant red and orange foliage throughout the fall, making it a beautiful statement piece.

Though gardening is a relaxing activity, autumn planting can also be strenuous if you take on too much. Don’t hesitate to ask your Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver to lend a hand – they love getting involved in our care receivers’ hobbies and interests! From helping with weeding and planting to offering engaging conversation along the way, our caregivers are the perfect gardening companion. Now, pass the shovel!

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Golf Safety: 3 Tips For A Safe And Successful Day On The Links!

shschesterfieldcountyva 30 Aug 2022

August is Golf Safety for seniors - golf ball going in holeNational Golf Month and there is no better way to honor the game than by playing a round, but we want to keep golf safety in mind! A recent study shows that seniors actually make up one quarter of all golfers – and that’s because a day on the course offers some major benefits. For example, Seniors Helping Seniors® care receivers could find that regular golf outings:

  • Improve strength and stamina with low-impact activity
  • Bolster hand / eye coordination and concentration skills
  • And provide an excellent opportunity for social engagement

If those reasons aren’t enough…it’s also just plain fun!

At Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services, the safety of those we serve is always our top priority. Though golf is considered a relaxing activity for many, there’s always the possibility for injury. However, a little preparation can go a long way in ensuring you or a senior loved one have a wonderful day on the golf course!

Play It Safe! 3 Golf Safety Tips For Seniors

While the following advice applies to every golfer, no matter their age, it’s especially important for seniors. The Seniors Helping Seniors® tips below will have you or your special senior ready to walk, swing, and hopefully, get that ever-elusive hole in one!

1. Keep Cool And Hydrate!

It’s no secret, midday temperatures can get toasty in August!  Whenever possible, schedule tee times early in the morning, when the sun isn’t quite as hot.

Make sure to wear appropriate clothing as well. A hat and sunglasses will help protect your head, face, and eyes from the sun’s rays, but it may be too hot to don long sleeves or long pants. Be sure to apply an FDA-approved sunscreen to any exposed areas of skin.

Bring enough water for the round and drink up! Most golf courses also have refreshment carts or water stations along the green, so take advantage of these resources to keep your body well-hydrated!

2. Take The Strain Out Of Carrying Clubs

Let’s face it, a golf bag full of clubs is heavy, and that has an impact on golf safety. Luckily, there are a few ways to avoid having to lug it all over the course.

First, consider investing in a pull cart. Since they have wheels, maneuvering a cart like this along the fairway will be no problem – even with a cumbersome bag of clubs in tow. Or ask a grandchild or younger friend to come along as a caddy. They’ll enjoy getting to learn the game, you’ll benefit from a more relaxing day, and you’ll both love spending time together!

3. Think About Golf Safety Before Hitting The Links

To prevent any issues, there are a few simple steps you can take before ever swinging a club:

Bring A Buddy

Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers love helping our care receivers pursue their favorite hobbies, so don’t shy away from challenging them to a friendly match! Not only will golfing with someone else make the round more fun, you can help each other watch for signs of distress as well – like heat stroke, sunburn, and dehydration. Golf safety is better when we look out for each other!

Warm Up!

Even the nicest of days on the links could lead to injury if you aren’t properly warmed up. Do a full-body stretch – making sure to hit your legs, hips, back, and arms – to get limber and prepare your muscles for physical activity.

Pick Balls Up Properly

Bending down to grab your golf ball might seem like the easiest part of your outing, but it’s important to do it right to prevent injury. Always bend your knees when scooping a ball off the ground and lean on a friend to steady yourself while bending over.

Parts of the Northeast are known to have copperheads as well, so if you hit your ball near a water feature, make sure there’s nothing else hiding in the grass before reaching a hand in to get it.

Have The Clubhouse On Speed Dial

You could be up to a mile or more away from the clubhouse in the middle of a golf round. Make sure you have their number at the ready in case you or someone you’re with need assistance. They often have access to food, drink, and safety equipment that could help prevent a serious health issue.

We love to see our care receivers living life to the fullest and enjoying their favorite activities! Staying mentally, physically, and socially active into your senior years is essential in remaining engaged and independent. Golfing is a great way to have some fun while enjoying a host of positive benefits and the company of your Seniors Helping Seniors® companion! Now, who’s ready to hit the links?!

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Oh, The Places You’ll Go! Senior Travel Tips

shschesterfieldcountyva 15 Aug 2022

Senior Travel - senior couple packing suitcaseSummer is a great time for senior travel with family and friends for lots of reasons! You can generally count on nice weather, making delays and interruptions to your plans less likely. Your grandchildren may also be on summer break, giving you plenty of quality time with them. Most destinations like national parks are in full swing during the summer months as well, ensuring there will be lots of activities to enjoy on your getaway! Vacations are also a wonderful way for our Seniors Helping Seniors® care receivers to gain new experiences and enjoy some much-deserved R&R!

But, while traveling can certainly recharge your battery, it can also prove stressful if you’re not prepared. With a little forethought, however, you can enjoy a smooth road to relaxation. Let’s look at a few simple ways to ensure you’re ready for a hiccup-free getaway!

Senior Travel Tip 1: Plan Ahead

Not every minute of your vacation needs to be scheduled out, but it’s a good idea to have a general plan for what you’ll be doing on your trip. Before leaving, take some time to research the area so you’re not faced with surprises that will disrupt your fun. Consider the following:

Transportation

Depending on the destination, you might need to make arrangements to help you get around. Check into what options are available where you’ll be staying. Many hotels provide a shuttle service to take guests to area destinations. If not, you may want to rent a car or plan on utilizing ride-share services for activities that aren’t within a comfortable walking distance.

Documentation

There are typically lots of reservations, tickets, and personal documents to keep track of during any trip and not being able to find them when needed can cause major issues. For example, if you’re flying, you’ll likely need an approved I.D., your plane tickets, and perhaps, a passport or vaccination information.

Before leaving on your trip, have your Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver help you gather and organize these documents. Try keeping them all in one envelope so you know where everything is at all times.

Senior Travel Tip 2: Pack Smart

Organization is key when packing for a trip. It can be frustrating having to dig through a cluttered suitcase to find your essential items. The following Seniors Helping Seniors® tips, however, will get you packing like a pro!

Less is more

For the sake of senior travel convenience (and your own sanity), the lighter you can keep your suitcase, the better! It can be tempting to bring along lots of items “just in case,” but try to keep these impulses to a minimum. Ask yourself questions like the following to help decide what to bring:

  • What kind of activities do I have planned? Do they require special clothing or equipment?
  • What is the weather forecast?
  • Can I bring items that can be worn several different ways?
  • Are there laundry facilities where I’m staying? 

Feel free to get your Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver in on the packing as well. They can help keep you organized and pare down what’s essential, getting you off to a great start!

Keep medication handy

If medication is part of your daily routine, it’s important to pack it in a safe place. Keep all your essential medications together and easily accessible throughout the trip. If you’re flying, pack it in your carry-on in the event your checked luggage is lost or delayed.

Senior Travel Tip 3: Stick To a Routine

Routines are important and keep us feeling our best. Vacations, while fun, tend to make it difficult to stick with the schedule we follow at home. With a little planning, however, you can stay on track even when you’re on the go.

Proper rest is often one of the first things to fall by the wayside on vacations. You don’t want to miss a thing so there’s the temptation to plan an activity for every minute of every day. But it’s important to leave time for rest as well. For example, if you have an early morning activity planned, leave the afternoon open to relax by the pool or take a nap.

Eating consistently can be tough on vacation as well. You may be relying on restaurants for your meals, which can be unpredictable, or neglect to leave enough time to eat lunch in between activities. Whenever possible, schedule blocks of time to eat and keep your body fueled. It’s also a good idea to bring snacks on outings in case your meal plans fall through.

It was once said: “To travel is to live.” These simple travel tips can help our Seniors Helping Seniors® care receivers follow this mantra and enjoy life to the fullest! As always, our caregivers love helping their senior companions plan for life’s adventures, so don’t hesitate to get them in on the fun! Now, the only question left to answer is: Where will you go first?

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How to Meal Prep for Success with Seniors Helping Seniors®

shschesterfieldcountyva 01 Aug 2022

Meal Prep for Success! Overhead view of hands preparing food on cutting board

You may think that meal prep – or planning, cooking, and portioning meals in advance — is just for bodybuilders and diehard dieters. However, Seniors Helping Seniors® care receivers can realize some serious benefits from it as well. In fact, it’s an excellent way to maintain a healthy diet, control food portions, save time and money, and prevent waste!

But the process can be intimidating for first-time preppers. While there is certainly plenty to learn about meal prepping, there are also lots of ways to ease into this lifestyle and start reaping the rewards that accompany it.

We’ve compiled a few tips for those new to the food prep scene. Read on to discover how to incorporate this strategy successfully into your weekly routine.

Keep Meal Prep Simple

One of the most important rules in meal prep is to start simple. Some people cook and portion out breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks every week. If you are new to meal prepping, trying to do all this will undoubtedly leave you feeling overwhelmed and defeated.

Begin by planning out one meal for a 3-day span. This allows you to get the process down before taking on too much. Once you have the hang of it, you can start preparing multiple meals, recipes, and snacks.

Prepare To Prep

Before beginning, take stock of your Tupperware cabinet. You’ll be portioning meals into food-safe containers that you can grab for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks, so you’ll need quite a few in a variety of shapes and sizes.

If you can use containers you already own, great! If not, start by purchasing one pack of reusable Tupperware that contains a variety of different shapes and sizes. Over time, you can gradually add to your stock or upgrade to better quality vessels. For convenience, make sure they’re microwave, dishwasher, and freezer safe and try to use dishes that stack nicely to save space in the refrigerator.

It’s also helpful to dedicate one day of the week for planning meals and one day for preparing them. Otherwise, it’s easy to put these tasks off until tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that. Choose two days that are typically convenient and stick to it…every week!

Our caregivers love to help those we serve accomplish their goals, so get them involved in the process too. Whether you need help gathering storage containers, finding recipes, or with a lift to the local market, they’re happy to assist!

Three Steps To Manageable Meal Prep

Now, the fun part – it’s time to dig in! There are three main steps in the meal prep process: planning, shopping, and prepping.

1. Planning

Before creating a meal plan, think about your main goal. Do you want to save money? Lose weight? Ensure you’re eating a balanced diet? Help control a health condition, like diabetes or high cholesterol? You may even want to consult your doctor to discuss any specific dietary requirements. When choosing recipes, keep this goal in mind and make sure the meals you pick help accomplish it.

On your dedicated planning day, decide on the recipe(s) you’ll make for the week. Remember, one or two is plenty if you’re just getting your feet wet. If you’re preparing more than one recipe, choose dishes that have common ingredients to keep your list manageable. Write down all the ingredients needed for each recipe. Then, survey your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer, crossing off items you already have. These measures will help you save money and reduce food waste.

Pro Tip: There’s an app for that! There are lots of meal planning apps for your phone that help keep track of meals and recipes. Some will even sort your ingredient list according to what department items can be found in the grocery store!

2. Shopping

Now that you’ve done your pre-prep planning, grab your Seniors Helping Seniors® companion and head to the grocery store! Here are a few suggestions while you’re there:

  • Bring a list and stick to it! You’ll save money on impulse buys and avoid the temptation to grab items that don’t fit your ultimate goal.
  • If chopping and slicing is difficult, opt for pre-cut, canned, or frozen fruits and vegetables. They’ll save tons of time during prep!
  • On a budget? Check weekly ads for your local store and use coupons whenever possible.
  • Be sure to swing by the local produce section or the farmer’s market on the way home as well. Summer is a great time to find locally grown apples and tomatoes!

When you get home from shopping, wash all your produce so you’re ready to jump right in when it’s time for the next phase.

3. Meal Prep

Now, it’s your designated prep day and you’re ready to start slicing and dicing! Depending on what’s on the menu for the week, you may need to portion out dry snacks, like nuts or cereals, or chop up fruits, vegetables, and meat. This part of the process can be time consuming, so recruit a family member or Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver to help.

Cook your meals in batches and portion them out into individual servings using Tupperware containers. Small jars and zip-lock bags make it easy to keep dressings, dips, and toppings that might get soggy separate.

Once everything is packaged and put away, sit back and relax – you’re done!

At Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services, we’re always searching for ways to help our care receivers live more independently and enjoy a better quality of life. Meal prep can be a great tool in accomplishing these goals. Getting started can be tough, but we’re here to provide support, encouragement, and a helpful hand!

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Senior Friendships: 3 Ways to Make Friends In Your Golden Years

shschesterfieldcountyva 18 Jul 2022

senior friendships and building bonds: 2 senior ladies sitting and talkingAt Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services, we know that fostering new friendships can be difficult as a senior. We also know the impacts of meaningful social connections are priceless for our care receivers. Studies show senior friends help us live longer, have a lower risk of developing dementia, and enjoy better mental health! It’s a fact of life that as we age, our social circle naturally grows smaller. As adults, there’s simply less time to . The bonds that are kept, however, are often stronger and more satisfying than those formed when we’re young.

But what if you find yourself lacking a close group of pals as you enter your Golden Years?

First of all, understand that you’ve got company. According to a recent study from the AARP, one-third of adults over the age of 55 feel alone. Now, this is not exactly a “fun fact,” but it does go to show that there are LOTS of seniors looking to meet new people, just like you! Making senior friendships is often more difficult than when you were a child, but there are lots of ways to meet people and spread your social butterfly wings. Below, we dive into some of the ways Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services encourages those we serve to connect.

1.    Join The Club!

Nowadays, there’s a social club for everything! These groups exist for anything your heart desires — golfing, reading books, bird watching, painting, exercise classes, lunch groups, outings, shopping, sewing – the list goes on! Whether you join to advance a hobby or to learn something new, becoming a member is a great way to meet people who share similar interests.

For some of our Seniors Helping Seniors® care receivers, however, being the “new person” can be nerve-racking and uncomfortable. But with the right attitude, you can make a great first impression! Try these tips to start:

  • Make eye contact. This shows that you’re paying attention and indicates you respect the other person.
  • Smile! Showing off your pearly whites is welcoming and puts others at ease.
  • Be sincere. Don’t force it if a connection doesn’t feel right or pretend to enjoy something you don’t.

Still feeling the nerves? Ask your Seniors Helping Seniors® companion to tag along! Having a friend in tow can put you at ease and help facilitate conversation with people you’ve just met and foster senior friendships.

2.    Find Senior Friendships Online

Social media groups provide a space to meet like-minded seniors as well. Like in-person clubs, there’s a group for every niche you can think of. And if what you’re searching for doesn’t yet exist, start it up yourself! Online groups are a great place to chat about common interests, share photos and information, and might even spur a face-to-face get together! Check out this guide for seniors online that we published during the pandemic!

Additionally, social media is a convenient way to learn about in-person events going on around the community. Keep an eye out for garage sales, live music in the park, or pickle ball league sign-ups! If you struggle with using new technology or social media platforms, you’re not alone there either. Ask a Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver to lend a hand. After all, two heads are better than one!

3.    Find Your “Spot”

Explore places around town that interest you, like coffee shops, museums, or bookstores. When you find a spot you love, start going there regularly. There are likely other ‘regulars’ who frequent the establishment as well and may have hobbies similar to your own. Strike up a conversation by asking what they’re drinking or inquiring about the plot of their book. With time, you may find you both have a lot in common, turning this chance meeting into a “Same time next week?” kind of relationship.

Don’t forget — our Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers make excellent companions too! They love trying new things and expanding on hobbies, so don’t hesitate to get them in on the fun. Because we spend time getting to know each caregiver through a detailed interview process, you and your caregiver likely have shared hobbies and interests that will make bonding a breeze!

The bottom line is, it’s never too late for senior friendships! Though this process can be uncomfortable and difficult at times, the rewards you’ll experience make it all worthwhile.

The post Senior Friendships: 3 Ways to Make Friends In Your Golden Years appeared first on Seniors Helping Seniors.

Energize Your Summer! 3 Methods to Fight Fatigue

shschesterfieldcountyva 30 Jun 2022

Energize Your Summer and fight fatigue - Asian woman in yellow zipped hoodie smiling and looking activeSummer means longer days, more sunshine, and plenty of time to get out and about with your Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver! For those experiencing summer fatigue, however, keeping up with an active social life and tasks around the house can be tough. If you’re feeling this way, you’re not alone – fatigue affects nearly half of individuals over 65!

The good news is there are ways to fight back. Read on to learn how to identify signs of fatigue, explore possible causes, and uncover tips for getting your energy back!

Tired vs. Fatigue: What’s The Difference?

We’ve all felt drained after a long day or exhausted from strenuous activity, so just how is this different from fatigue? Both conditions exhibit similar symptoms, so the telltale difference often lies in how easy (or difficult) it is to bounce back.

If you’re simply tired from an active week or restless night’s sleep, you’ll notice your energy diminishes throughout the day. Whereas individuals experiencing fatigue often feel lethargic from the moment they wake up.

Duration is a clue as well. When tired, a good night’s sleep will leave you feeling refreshed. Fatigue, on the other hand, can last for weeks despite a restful sleep schedule.

What Causes Fatigue?

There are often several factors at play with fatigue, so identifying the underlying cause might be tricky. The following are some common contributors. Don’t forget that the heat can play a part, as well!

Medical Conditions And Medications

Fatigue often indicates a bigger issue. For example, it regularly accompanies chronic diseases like diabetes, COPD, and heart, liver, kidney, or thyroid disease. Prescription medications – especially antidepressants, antihistamines, and those used to treat nausea and pain – are known to contribute as well.

Emotional Stress

Are you worried about your future, your health, a family member, or financial problems? Mindset matters when battling fatigue and concerns of this nature can be exhausting.

If you find yourself worrying about these issues, contact Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services. Our caregivers are here to ease these burdens or offer advice, helping you or a senior loved one get back to an active and fulfilling life!

Boredom

It seems counterintuitive, but not having anything to do for long stretches of time can bring on fatigue as well. To keep yourself moving and engaged, schedule activities throughout the day. For example, meet up with friends for lunch, take up a new hobby, or volunteer with your Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver!

Fight Back Against Fatigue

Try working the following techniques into your routine to help identify the cause of your fatigue and kickstart habits to ward it off.

Take Inventory

Keep a fatigue journal to track how it’s affecting your day-to-day life and identify recurring patterns. Get started with the following tips:

  • Fill out your journal before bed and two or three other times throughout the day
  • At the top of each entry, describe how you slept the previous night, your diet, and mood
  • With each entry, break your day into hours and note which activities you completed in the previous few blocks
  • Make three columns for each activity:
    1. Your level of fatigue
    2. The importance of the activity
    3. The satisfaction you get from completing it
  • As you record your actions throughout the day, assign them a number from 1 to 10 in each of these three categories – 1 being “none” (as in no fatigue, not important, no satisfaction) and 10 being “extreme”

Get Moving!

It seems like exercise is the answer to everything, and fatigue is no different! The key is to keep it consistent. Participate in low intensity workouts (or whatever feels good to your body) several times throughout the week. Exercises involving balance and focused breathing are known to combat fatigue as well.

Shortening the duration of activities might also help. For example, cut the length of your daily walk in half, garden for only 15 or 20 minutes at a time, or grab a quick cup of coffee with a friend instead of lunch.

Rest Up to Fight Fatigue

Of course, getting a solid night’s sleep is important as well. It can be tougher than you think when suffering from fatigue, but these Seniors Helping Seniors® tips will help you get in those “Z’s!

  • Establish a pre-sleep routine that calms you – drink a glass of decaf tea, read a book, or listen to music
  • Prepare your bedroom to be inviting for sleep with dim lighting, comfortable bedding, and sleep-inducing scents
  • Avoid long naps (keep them to 30 minutes or less) throughout the day and keep caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine intake to a minimum

While these suggestions should bring some relief, always listen to your body. If your fatigue symptoms persist over several weeks, check in with your doctor to get to the bottom of the issue.

If you need some extra support while you’re feeling sluggish, call on Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home services! Our caregivers are committed to helping you or a senior loved one handle the issues that accompany growing older – fatigue included – and are here to lend a kind hand and empathetic ear.

The post Energize Your Summer! 3 Methods to Fight Fatigue appeared first on Seniors Helping Seniors.

National Adopt a Cat Month: Discover The Perks of Pets

shschesterfieldcountyva 23 Jun 2022

June is “Adopt a Cat month - the purrfect companionNational Adopt a Cat Month” and at Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services, we’re purring with excitement! That’s because we know that taking in a furry friend has some excellent benefits for our care receivers. Before you get elbow deep in kitty litter and catnip, though, let’s talk about how these loving furballs benefit their human counterparts and discuss some things to consider before adopting!

Pros of Pet Ownership

Pets of all kinds offer advantages to the senior community by improving mood and physical health. Cats, however, are especially good for seniors because they offer these same benefits while also being easy to care for.

Adopt a Cat for Low-Maintenance Love

A cat’s ability to care for themselves is a nice perk for pet-loving seniors. Dogs are great too but require much more time and attention from their owners. For your new feline to be happy, all you need to offer is food, water, a clean litter box, and plenty of love!

Worried you won’t be able to keep up with all your furry friend’s needs? Don’t! Your Seniors Helping Seniors® companion is available to help. Lean on them for everything from keeping track of dinner time to making sure your new fur babe makes it to all their vet appointments!

Feel-line Great!

When it comes to improving mental and physical wellbeing, pets certainly do their part! Loneliness and depression can become issues for seniors, especially after a big life change. Pets, however, provide companionship, affection, and entertainment – all important in remaining positive and engaged! When you adopt a cat, it also helps with positive aging!

Adopting a cat can offer physical benefits as well. In fact, the simple act of petting a cat can lower blood pressure and reduce anxiety! In addition, your new feline will depend on you to keep them fed, their water bowl full, and the litter box clean, which gets you up and moving every day!

Adopting a cat also brings a new sense of purpose to the lives of those we serve. Now, you’ve got a four-legged friend who’s counting on you, and they’ll show their appreciation every day with a loving purr and rub around your ankles!

What To Look for When You Adopt a Cat

When it comes time to adopt, consider these Seniors Helping Seniors® suggestions to help decide which kitty is right for you:

  1. Age: Kittens are adorable, but also have more energy than older cats. Senior felines are most likely already trained, requiring less time and attention, which equals a smaller commitment on your part. 
  1. Temperament: No matter their age, cats have different personalities, just like people! Do you crave a companion who wants to cuddle? Or one that is content to do its own thing? Think about what you want from a pet and get to know a little bit about any potential adoptees before bringing them home.

Swing by your local adoption center with your Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver when you’re ready to add a furry friend to the mix. They’ll have plenty of wonderful cats to choose from and may even be able to point you in the direction of your purrfect match!

Already own a cat? Great!! Don’t forget to show your pet some extra love and attention this National Adopt a Cat Month!

At Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services, we love seeing our care receivers happy and thriving – and we’ve witnessed firsthand how the love of a pet can help achieve this! Our caregivers are always willing to assist with your four-legged friend too. So, if you’re considering adoption, get to your local shelter – the time to adopt is MEOW!

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Savor the Season with 4 Tips for Healthy Summer Eating

shschesterfieldcountyva 31 May 2022

Words Healthy Summer Eating with a senior digging into a saladThe Seniors Helping Seniors® family loves seeing our care receivers enjoy the best parts of each season. With summer upon us, it will soon be time to break out the shorts, light the citronella candle, and dust off the patio table for the season’s first outdoor feast! It can be tempting to indulge throughout the summer months. With family cookouts, vacations, and the urge to spend time enjoying the outdoors in lieu of the kitchen, we often opt for quick, not so healthy choices. A nutritious, balanced diet, however, is important for active seniors all year long. The good news is, continuing to eat right over the summer months doesn’t have to be complicated. Soak in these four Seniors Helping Seniors® tips for a summer of healthy – and delicious – eating!

Keep It Balanced for Healthy Summer Eating

Making good decisions isn’t hard once you know what to choose. Let’s look at the layers of the food pyramid (or MyPlate) and determine the best foods to reach for and which to skip.

Grains

The foundation of the food pyramid is the grain group, which encompasses things like rice, pasta, bread, and oats. When stocking the cabinets, whole grains are best. Whole grains are made using the entire grain kernel and, therefore, are good sources of dietary fiber, minerals, and Vitamin B.

Fruits and Vegetables

We all know fruits and veggies provide plenty of dietary value, but which are the most nutritious options? Look for produce that is red, orange, purple, and green, as these fruits and veggies contain vitamins and minerals that are especially important to senior health.

Dairy

When choosing milk, yogurt, and cheese products, go with low-fat or fat-free options. Calcium is the major benefit in this group, but dairy products also provide phosphorus, Vitamins A and D, B12, potassium, and more.

Protein

Protein covers a wide variety of foods, including meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, and legumes (like beans and lentils). Look for meat and poultry that’s lean or low-fat and seafood that’s high in omega-3s and has a low mercury count. For a vegetarian meal, substitute legumes as a tasty and nutritious option.

It’s important to mix it up when it comes to protein. Many people eat plenty of meat and poultry, but often skimp on fish and legumes. However, each category has specific vitamins and nutrients that are key to a balanced diet.

Advantages of Healthy Summer Eating

When a variety of nutritious foods are incorporated into a balanced diet, the mind and body will benefit in spades! For example, healthy eating helps:

  • Reduce cholesterol
  • Lower risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes
  • Promote proper bowel function
  • Support a healthy nervous system
  • Boost immunity and prevent infection
  • Encourage healthy eyes, skin, and gums
  • Maintain strong bones and teeth
  • Improve concentration and attention span
  • Increase energy and mental clarity

Preparation Is Key

How food is cooked contributes to a healthy diet as well. During the summer months, grilling is an excellent option and produces flavorful dishes. Better yet, it’s a wonderful time to gather with loved ones and your Seniors Helping Seniors® companion to enjoy the outdoors and fellowship while dinner is cooking!

Grilled to Perfection

Cooking on the grill is easy and requires little preparation. Simply apply your favorite seasoning combination or marinade and get grilling! As the food cooks, excess fat and oil drip away, leaving a wholesome and delicious dinner.

Try these tips and tricks from Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home services to make grilling a breeze:

  • Invest in a meat thermometer and always ensure poultry is cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F and pork to 145°F.
  • Cook veggies in foil packets with seasoning and a little oil (extra virgin olive oil or canola are best). Ensure the packet is sealed at the top and place it directly on the grates until the veggies are tender.
  • Craving something sweet? For dessert, try grilling pineapple, peach, or watermelon slices for an after-dinner treat!

One of the best things about this method is there’s minimal clean-up required, leaving more time to spend enjoying your dinner companions!

Practice Proper Portion Control

Consuming the right amounts of each food group is important as well. When making a plate, follow these Seniors Helping Seniors® suggestions for a balanced meal:

  1. Envision a vertical line directly down the middle of the plate
  2. On the right, add half whole grains and half lean protein
  3. Fill the left side with fruits and vegetables (heavier on the veggies)
  4. Eat dairy in moderation

Now, all that’s left is to choose a healthy option to wash it all down…

Drink Up Along with Your Healthy Summer Eating!

Staying hydrated is key, especially when summer heat kicks into high gear! Water is an essential nutrient and should be the majority of what’s consumed throughout the day. Try fruit-infused water for a twist on the traditional or sparkling water for something bubbly. Tea and coffee are good options as well and provide several health benefits of their own.

Avoid sugary drinks or those with high salt content and stay away from consuming alcohol in excess. These actually contribute to dehydration and a number of other issues.

Who’s ready to welcome summer?! With these tips from Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services, you or your senior loved one will find plenty of health-conscious ways to enjoy the tastes of the season!

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Mind Over Matter: 5 Tips For Practicing Positive Aging

shschesterfieldcountyva 13 May 2022

Mind over matter - positive aging - senior woman enjoying time outdoorsEveryone views aging differently. To some, the idea of getting older is scary. Others embrace it with a youthful ferocity! At the end of the day, your mindset is more important than you think. It plays a large part in the quality of life experienced throughout your Golden Years. Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services is committed to inspiring others to age gracefully and independently. One of the ways we encourage our care recipients to make the most of their senior years is by promoting “positive aging” techniques.

What Is Positive Aging?

Positive aging is all about mindset. It refers to the idea that if you maintain an optimistic outlook in your senior years — coupled with healthy habits, social engagement, and mental stimulation — you’ll feel good about yourself, remain physically active, and continue to engage fully in all aspects of life!

Incorporating positive aging techniques into your daily routine might sound difficult, but it’s easier than you think. Of course, our Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers will stand by your side, ready to help you create and practice a program that will do your mind and body good!

Now that you know why positive aging is important, let’s discuss five simple ways Seniors Helping Seniors® care receivers can work the power of positivity into everyday life!

1 – Embrace Your Age!

Age is just a number, after all. Maintaining a youthful outlook and adapting to your changing abilities can help you accept that growing older is a normal part of life – one that every person (including your Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver) is attempting to navigate.

The first step in discovering the power of positive aging is to accept the aging process by working with it and not against it. This makes it easier to cope with the challenges this stage of life presents, and instead, start looking forward to the possibilities!

2 – Make Fitness A Priority

Just thirty minutes of daily exercise can revolutionize your health. It can help you look and feel younger, complete tasks more easily, and prevent accidents and falls – all of which are essential for maintaining a positive outlook. Try the following Seniors Helping Seniors® suggestions to jumpstart your fitness routine:

Going for a walk helps positive aging

Walking is an excellent way to get the blood pumping while improving heart health, boosting mental clarity, and lowering blood pressure. Commit to a daily walk with a friend, family member, your furry friend, or your Seniors Helping Seniors® companion!

Explore senior fitness classes

There are plenty of exercise options for active seniors! Look into what classes your local senior center, gym, or fitness studio offers. Activities like water aerobics, chair yoga, and body weight workouts are popular among seniors and provide low impact workouts that will still make you feel the burn!

Don’t get discouraged if it’s tough to keep up at first. Your workouts will become easier as you build strength. Be consistent and you’ll soon look forward to your daily exercise regimen!

3 – Stay Connected for Positive Aging

Building and maintaining close relationships is also essential to a positive aging plan. Doing so can combat loneliness, improve self-esteem, and foster a sense of belonging. Not sure where to begin? Try one of the following to make new friends or reconnect with some old pals:

  • Organize a monthly dinner with friends or family where everyone brings a different dish
  • Join a social group, like a birdwatching or book club, pickleball league, or volunteer service
  • Make it a point to attend your grandkids’ sporting games and performances – they’ll love having you there to cheer them on!

As always, remember to lean on your Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver. They’re available to get you to and from social events or to accompany you on a new adventure, so let’s go!

4 – Nurture Healthy Habits

Maintaining a balanced diet is critical to the aging process. Eating right helps keep your weight at an appropriate level and supports heart health. These simple diet rules can help you stay on track:

  • Incorporate lean proteins, plenty of vegetables (especially those that are orange, red, and green), substitute whole grains whenever possible, and stick to low-fat dairy products
  • Drink lots of (the right) fluids – water, tea, and coffee – and stay away from beverages that are high in sugar
  • Look for foods that are high in fiber and vitamin D as these are both vital for aging individuals

There are also certain habits you should avoid to continue functioning at the highest level. First, don’t skimp on sleep – a restful night’s slumber is essential in keeping the body functioning properly. Also, avoid smoking and excessive alcohol intake. Both of these can cause serious health issues in people of all ages.

5 – Sharpen Your Brain

Your mind, like your body, thrives when you push it to the limit. A strong brain keeps you sharp and is a key ingredient for your positive aging recipe. Add games like Sudoku and crossword puzzles to your daily routine so your brain gets the exercise it needs. You can find lots of ideas online, too.

Learning a new skill can improve intellect as well. Check local resources, like a university or community center, to see if they offer any skill-building classes that peak your interest. Gaining a new ability cultivates positive thoughts and builds confidence. Not to mention, it’s fun and will leave you with an activity you’ll look forward to!

We told you it was easy to practice positive aging! In fact, you’re probably doing a lot of these things already. Don’t be afraid to ask your Seniors Helping Seniors® companion for ideas on how to keep a positive mindset as you mature – remember, they’re going through the same stage of life as you are. Incorporate the above Seniors Helping Seniors® tips into your daily routine and you’re bound to feel great, stay active, and retain your youthful exuberance for life!

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Occupational Therapy for Seniors: Suggestions For More Independence

shschesterfieldcountyva 28 Apr 2022

April isOccupational Therapy for Seniors - senior citizen smiling from swimming pool National Occupational Therapy Month, and Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services wants to take a moment to champion this life-changing treatment. Occupational therapy (OT) helps people of all ages maintain, or regain, the skills necessary to perform everyday activities.

Similar to its better-known counterpart, physical therapy, OT provides a number of benefits throughout the body. Where the two differ most is in their purpose. Physical therapy focuses on improving pain in one part of the body, while occupational therapy focuses on adapting daily tasks to make them easier. For our care receivers, that means doing more of the things you love most!

Let’s explore the ways this branch of therapy can help our active senior community continue to reap the rewards of an independent lifestyle!

Physical Benefits of Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy helps strengthen the body by increasing flexibility, re-conditioning muscles, and teaching adaptive movements that put less stress on muscles and joints. Here’s a closer look at the physical advantages of OT.

Enhanced Range Of Motion

As a senior, improving flexibility can change a lot! Stretching allows the body to be less rigid. In turn, this decreases the chances of injuries like a muscle strain or pull. It can also make daily tasks – such as vacuuming, gardening, or walking – easier to complete.

Treatment to better range of motion can include a number of methods. For example, to improve shoulder flexibility, an occupational therapist might suggest seniors complete a series of stretches, practice dressing the upper body, and work on strength training exercises for that area.

Decreased Chronic Pain

When you lead an active and fulfilling life, chronic pain, like arthritis and muscle aches, can really slow you down. Getting support from an occupational therapist can help, however.

To assist with pain management, these professionals demonstrate adaptations for the activities that are most important to everyday life. The technical terms for these strategies include things like reduced muscle tension, ergonomics, safe body mechanics, and neuromuscular re-education. Simply put, these methods are alternative ways to complete tasks with less strain, and therefore pain, on the body.

Occupational Therapy Maximizes Mental Health

The advantages of OT far surpass physical improvements. Cognitive functions like memory and brain capacity can see an uptick as well! It can even help relieve stress and anxiety.

Better Memory And Increased Brainpower

Occupational therapists are trained to evaluate thinking skills in addition to physical abilities. Again, there are a variety of techniques that can be used to improve cognitive function.

Memory-enhancing activities like crossword puzzles and brain teaser games are often encouraged to keep the mind sharp. An occupational therapist may also break challenging tasks down into a series of simple steps and cues, making them easier to complete for those with memory loss.

Additionally, occupational therapists can work with seniors on exercises that improve vision. It might not seem closely connected to memory and brainpower, but enhanced sight allows seniors to gather and process information more easily, benefiting cognition.

Reduced Stress And Anxiety 

With age, the ability to perform everyday tasks often declines, taking a toll on mental health. You or a senior loved one might start to feel helpless and depressed due to this loss of function.

An occupational therapist, however, will focus on the tasks that CAN be completed, inspiring seniors with a sense of empowerment! As for weaker skills? OT is utilized to identify these and work to improve them.

Occupational Therapy for Adaptive Living

Ultimately, the goal of occupational therapy is to enable individuals, seniors included, to live comfortably and independently. Improving physical and mental wellbeing is certainly helpful in retaining personal freedom, but OT extends beyond this.

Home Modifications

Not only will occupational therapists work with the body and mind to make life easier, they will also assist in adjusting areas of your home, or that of a senior loved one, with the same end goal. Here are some ways these professionals might alter a living space for better daily functionality:

  • Suggest safety improvements, like adding handrails in bathrooms, increased lighting, and clearing clutter from walking paths
  • Re-label medications, cooking items, and cleaners so they’re easier to distinguish for individuals with sight loss
  • Add visual cues throughout the home to help those with memory loss or dementias navigate and complete tasks

Shared Knowledge

Occupational therapists often encourage family members and caregivers to become familiar with the exercises their senior loved one has been practicing during OT. This ensures improvement doesn’t stop at the end of a session.

The more seniors can incorporate occupational therapies into a daily or weekly routine, the easier it will be to stay physically active, mentally fit, and autonomous. Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers love to assist those we serve with the strategies learned through occupational therapy. From helping complete daily exercises to adaptive strategies, we’re here for you or the special senior in your life!

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Off The Leash! 8 Tips for Senior Dog Walkers

shschesterfieldcountyva 14 Apr 2022

Helping senior dog walkers - dog holding leash with words "A Little Pup to Your Step"Senior dog walkers can get the most out of walking their dog by following a few simple suggestions. After all, a stroll around the neighborhood is beneficial for us humans and our four-legged companions!

Our Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers know the advantages of walking as we age – even a quick jaunt presents heart health, social, emotional, and mental benefits. But, did you know, it’s just as mentally important for pups?

Going on daily outings allows our canine counterparts to explore the world outside their backyard. They get to interact with other dogs, encounter wildlife, and watch other owners with their fur babies. It can also help build a stronger bond between owner and pup. Of course, walking keeps our four-legged family members in good physical shape as well!

Whether a seasoned dog owner or new to the club, these Seniors Helping Seniors® tips will ensure walks are safe and enjoyable for everyone involved!

Senior Dog Walker Safety

Before heading on a walk, senior dog walkers should take a few precautions. After all, our furry friends are counting on us to keep them fit and healthy!

Get Loose

A good rule of thumb before doing anything physical is to warm up a bit. Simple stretches for the body parts worked most during a stroll — like calves, Achilles’ tendons, and hamstrings – will make sure the legs are ready to move. Seniors Helping Seniors® companions are happy to help you or a senior loved one prepare, so don’t hesitate to bring them into the mix!

It’s a good idea to let our four-legged friends get loose before taking off as well. Play fetch or let them run around the yard prior to walking. A tired pup will likely be better behaved throughout the outing.

Choose Appropriate Clothing

A good pair of shoes is essential for dog walks. Proper footwear can help prevent slips and falls. Additionally, dress for the weather. Outfits should be warm enough for those cool, early morning walks and breathable when it heats up outside.

If balance is an issue, bring a walking stick or cane to help keep steady.

Be Wise About Time of Day

Spring weather in the Northeast can be unpredictable. Go for a walk when it’s most comfortable (for you and your pal), avoiding the coldest and hottest parts of the day.

 Pick a Senior Dog Walker and Pup-Friendly Route

When deciding on a path, there are a few things to take into consideration. First, senior dog walkers should choose a route that offers a level walking surface. Avoid unkempt areas that might have tree roots and unexpected dips.

In urban areas, make sure the course provides a sidewalk or walking path and steer clear of heavy traffic – these are both important in keeping owner and pup safe! Additionally, consider you or your loved one’s limitations, as well as those of the dog. Small breeds and senior dogs may not have the endurance for lengthy walks.

Bring a Friend

Our Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers love spending time with senior companions and their furry friends! Make sure to invite you or your family member’s caregiver to join in on the fun. After all, not only can they help ensure everyone remains safe, walks are always better when they include conversation with a pal!

Be The Senior Dog Walker Master

A misbehaving dog can be a danger to its owner and itself. Unexpected lunging and pulling increases the chance of a fall and serious injury, especially with large breeds. With a little work and patience, however, our canine counterparts make excellent exercise buddies!

Act Like The Top Dog

To start, the following basic commands can help control pups during a walk:

  • “Heel” directs the dog to walk with its head even with its owner’s legs, discouraging pulling.
  • “Wait” instructs the pup to sit and stay until given a release command. This can be especially helpful in preventing four-legged friends from accidentally tripping you or your senior loved one on the stairs or running out into traffic.

Be confident and use a stern tone of voice when giving commands. Additionally, bringing along a bag of bite-sized training treats as a reward for good behavior can encourage canines to be more obedient.

Bring In The Professionals

For those having a great deal of trouble with obedience, professional training courses might be the answer. A dog trainer can give pointers, work with the dog, and help you or the senior in your life regain power.

Last but certainly not least…

Have Some FUN!!

Walks with our pups are a great way to explore the neighborhood, a new park in town, or an area nature preserve. Keep the safety measures we’ve outlined in mind, and discovering new areas together will be a ball!

Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services understands the companionship of a dog can be just as important and beneficial as the relationships held with friends and loved ones. As always, we’re here to support our active senior community in all aspects of life, so grab your caregiver, your four-legged pal, and let’s roll!

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3 Must-Have Spring Houseplants For Greenery-Loving Seniors

shschesterfieldcountyva 01 Apr 2022

spring houseplants for seniors - boy and grandfather tending plantCollecting indoor plants is a fruitful hobby that brings your home to life. Even better, once you find the right greenery for your space, you’ll enjoy beautiful foliage and flowers the whole year round! Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services delights in watching our care receivers take on new interests and this pursuit is one that’s easy to begin and a whole lot of fun! Having spring houseplants can also improve overall health.

Spring is a great time to look for houseplants, as garden centers and greenhouses are often chalk full of options. So, bust out the gardening tools, prepare to clean the dirt from your fingernails, and let’s dig in!

Houseplant 1 – Boston Fern

The lush, feather-like fronds of a Boston fern provide a captivating pop of color in any home. This hearty plant, whose lineage dates back hundreds of millions of years, is a survivor and an easy-to-care-for addition to your space. This makes it ideal among spring houseplants.

Care Requirements

Great for beginner plant enthusiasts, Boston ferns are fairly low maintenance once you find a spot they enjoy. These houseplants can grow quite large, sometimes two to three feet wide, so enlist the help of a family member or Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver when moving mature ferns from place to place in search of the right location.

Adhere to the following tips and your Boston fern is certain to thrive:

  • Place it in an area that receives bright light, but not direct sunlight
  • Keep soil moist and make sure it doesn’t dry out in between watering
  • Ferns LOVE humidity, so spritz its fronds with water several times a week or place a tray filled with pebbles and water underneath it
  • Make sure the pot it’s planted in has excellent drainage to prevent root rot

With the area’s traditionally humid summers, your fern may do best if left outside over this season, bringing it back inside when temperatures consistently breach the low 60’s.

Did you know: Boston ferns actually have humidifying properties themselves? It’s true! They put moisture back into the air, helping to relieve dry skin, dry noses, and sore throats.

Houseplant 2 – Peace Lily

Peace lilies produce breathtaking white flowers that pop against their shiny, dark green leaves. Often referred to as “closet plants,” they don’t need much light to thrive, making them a fantastic choice of spring houseplants for the darker corners of your home.

Beauty and Benefits

In addition to their attractive appearance, the peace lily offers some wonderful perks to the homes it occupies. For example:

  • It purifies the air by removing toxins commonly found in paint, perfumes, air fresheners, and adhesives
  • It’s a pet-safe houseplant
  • It helps promote a restful night’s sleep, making it excellent to display in bedrooms
  • It absorbs mold spores and allergens in the air

Simple Care

Ideally, you should place your peace lily in an area that receives medium, indirect light, but as mentioned, this tolerant houseplant can handle low light as well. Its soil should remain evenly moist, and the best part? This plant will actually tell you when it needs watered! Pay attention to its leaves – if you notice they’re drooping more than normal, give it a drink and they’ll perk right up!

Houseplant 3 – Gardenia

Best known for its evocative-smelling white flowers, the gardenia is a stunning houseplant that is sure to spark conversation! But make sure you have plenty of space for it to grow. After all, some can reach over six feet in height!

Care Requirements

Gardenias are best for seniors with an already green thumb, as their ideal growing conditions can be quite specific. However, if you have a little knowledge and time to devote to its needs, this plant is well worth the effort.

Use the following Seniors Helping Seniors® tips as a guide to maintaining this spectacular houseplant:

  • Place it in a sunny spot where it will get at least four hours of direct sunlight every day
  • Keep its soil moist but not soggy, watering when it’s dry to the touch
  • Ensure it gets enough humidity, applying the same tricks mentioned for the Boston fern
  • Use a well-draining, peat-based potting mix

Keep a Watchful Eye

Inspect the leaves of your gardenia frequently, because this plant is vulnerable to insects and diseases like brown scale and aphids. It’s also important to note that its flowers are toxic to pets, so make sure it’s out of reach of any curious four-legged family members.

Whether you have an established green thumb or are just beginning to hone your houseplant-growing skills, the options above are all wonderful additions to any home. By bringing the outdoors in, you’ll enjoy a livelier home, as well as benefits like reduced anxiety and improved mood. And, just maybe, you’ll spark an interest in a relaxing new hobby!

Our Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers are a helpful friend to bring along on the journey too, happy to assist in researching, transporting, planting, and caring for new houseplants! So, get into the spirit of spring with some fresh greenery!

The post 3 Must-Have Spring Houseplants For Greenery-Loving Seniors appeared first on Seniors Helping Seniors.

Four Seniors Helping Seniors® Steps to Tackle Spring Cleaning

shschesterfieldcountyva 14 Mar 2022

Spring Cleaning with SHS Greater RichmondMarch welcomes the start of the spring season, bringing with it a host of positive aspects like longer days, perfect weather, and a renewed sense of life in the world. It also means it’s time to buckle down and do some serious spring cleaning! With the right attitude and tips – like the following Seniors Helping Seniors® suggestions – tidying up your home can be truly satisfying and leave you feeling refreshed!

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of tackling this chore, however, let’s discuss some reasons you should actually look forward to this seasonal undertaking.

Benefits of  Spring Cleaning for a Well-Maintained Home

Deep cleaning your house carries with it some advantages that are helpful for both mental and physical health, as well as overall safety. In addition, it fosters a sense of accomplishment that will leave you feeling fantastic!

Maximize Mental Health

Aside from the sense of calm that accompanies waking up to an orderly, aesthetically pleasing house, spring cleaning provides a sense of control over your environment – something that can remain a constant when other areas of life feel hard to manage. The repetitive motions associated with scrubbing or polishing can be meditative as well, helping to reduce stress.

Boost Physical Benefits

Cleaning can be a good workout too! Moving items, buffing, pushing a vacuum, and wiping down surfaces all get the heart pumping and work muscles throughout the body.

But don’t go overboard – some housework can be quite strenuous. When it’s time to tackle heavy lifting, tasks that require lots of reaching or stooping, or the use of cumbersome equipment, reach out to a Seniors Helping Seniors® companion or family member for some extra assistance.

Support Safety

A decluttered home is a safer home, especially for independent seniors. Research indicates that one out of four seniors will suffer a fall at home each year, but keeping spaces clear can go a long way in preventing these accidents. A clutter-free home is also easier to exit during an emergency situation, like a fire, and is better for overall health as piles of books, papers, furniture, and clothing can be a breeding ground for dust, mold, and bacteria.

Now that you know the importance of maintaining a tidy living space, check out this Seniors Helping Seniors® game plan for making spring cleaning efficient, satisfying, and fun!

Your Spring Cleaning Action Plan

A seasonal refresh of your home doesn’t have to be a chore. Engage in the following methods and you’ll get into the groove in no time!

Step #1: Take It Room By Room

Trying to tackle the entire house can seem overwhelming and impossible. Instead, break up cleaning into smaller tasks that can be spread out over the entire month. For example, take on one or two rooms every weekend.

Before jumping in, however, go through each room and make a list of specific jobs to accomplish, jotting down areas that need extra attention and noting any special projects. Having a list for each section of your home will keep you and your helpers organized and on track! Take this opportunity to make sure each room stays senior safe, as well.

Step #2: Declutter As Part of Spring Cleaning

For the most efficient spring-cleaning process, remove unneeded items before you begin. Purging can be tough, but these tips from Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home services can help make this part of the process a little easier:

  • Separate items into four piles: Keep, Toss, Recycle, Donate/Sell/Repurpose
  • Stay positive – keep in mind the reasons you’re getting rid of these items, like continuing your independence, making room for your grandchildren’s artwork, or clearing space to work on hobbies.
  • Organize important documents so they can be easily found in an emergency and dispose of expired medication and food items.

Step #3: Clean, Clean, Clean!

Equip yourself with all the necessary supplies and dive in! To ensure a thorough spring-cleaning experience, check off the following tasks:

  • Wipe down or dust baseboards, ceiling fans, light fixtures, vents, and blinds and remove dirt from window tracks
  • Launder linens, including furniture covers, throws, curtains, small rugs, shower curtains and liners, bed pillows, and mattress pads
  • Move furniture (if possible) and clean underneath
  • Sanitize surfaces and fixtures in bathrooms and kitchens
  • Clean the inside of appliances like refrigerators and ovens, and run disinfecting cycles on your washer, dryer, and dishwasher

Tip: As you put belongings back on shelves and in drawers, leave frequently used items within easy reach to cut down on stretching, stooping, and having to use a step stool.

Step #4: Spring Cleaning Can Be Social!

Spring cleaning can be a tedious job, so enlist the help of friends, family members, and your Seniors Helping Seniors® companion! Not only will this help you knock it out quickly, it will also sprinkle in a bit of fun and bonding throughout!

Try these tips for tackling spring cleaning as a team:

  • Block out time to work – whether a few hours a day or a weekend-long marathon, make sure your recruits know when you plan on their help.
  • Go over your “to-do” list before taking on each room – this will keep the whole team on track!
  • Work together for efficiency. For example, have one person take all the items out of your kitchen cabinets, organizing as they go, while another person wipes down the inside of each cupboard.

Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be something you dread – it can actually leave you feeling accomplished, clear-headed, and rejuvenated! Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home services continually strives to share ways our care receivers can retain independence and a vigor for life, and no matter the job, we’re ALWAYS here to lend a kind hand!

The post Four Seniors Helping Seniors® Steps to Tackle Spring Cleaning appeared first on Seniors Helping Seniors.

How to Seize the Day and Accomplish More During Senior Independence Month!

shschesterfieldcountyva 28 Feb 2022

Embrace Independence during Senior Independence MonthFebruary is National Senior Independence Month, and that means Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services is celebrating our community of active care receivers! Remaining autonomous is an important goal for many of the individuals we serve, and entirely attainable with a little work. Preserving that independence into the “Golden Years” requires a safe living space, strong physical and mental health, and an active social life.

Start with these Seniors Helping Seniors® tips, and your upcoming years can be fulfilling and fun! Let’s dive in!

Redecorate for Safety’s Sake

Our homes have potential hazards that we often don’t realize. For independent seniors, being proactive can prevent slips and falls, make daily tasks easier, and ultimately, extend the length of time you can live alone.

If you’re unsure where to start in safeguarding your house, contact us – our Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers can help identify the most pressing issues, assist with the heavy lifting. We can even provide friendly, caring companionship throughout the process!

The following suggestions might spark some ideas on how to whip your space into shape:

Amp up the safety features

Install handrails around staircases, showers, toilets, and beds, and place non-slip rubber mats on surfaces that can become slick. Pay special attention to bathroom/kitchen floors and wooden steps.

Declutter and organize

Rearrange furniture to establish a clear pathway through every room and purge belongings that are no longer needed to gain extra space. For added convenience, reorganize cabinets, shelves, and storage areas so that frequently used items are easily accessible.

Address current hazards

Fix broken steps and floorboards that can result in a fall and secure rugs so they lie flat and don’t slide around. Tuck away loose cords and wires, ensuring they’re clear of walking paths.

Keep Moving!

A healthy exercise routine is crucial in sustaining physical wellbeing, mental sharpness, and personal autonomy. When developing a regimen, choose exercises that focus on each of the following categories for a total body workout that will keep you ready to tackle any obstacle!

  1. Endurance – walking, water aerobics, dancing, yardwork, and household chores all build stamina
  2. Strength – build muscle with you own body weight or hand weights, starting with light resistance and slowing increasing over time
  3. Flexibility – incorporate toe touches, arm rotations, and side stretches into your routine
  4.  Balance – practice activities that build your core strength and leg muscles, like standing on one foot

Whether it requires a few words of encouragement, a steadying hand, or a lift to the gym, our Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers are dedicated to helping those we serve reach every fitness goal. Our aim is to motivate our care receivers to keep moving for a long, independent life!

Manage Mental Health

Staying physically fit is important, but we also encourage those we serve to keep their minds sharp. The following suggestions exercise muscles in the brain and optimize mental health, improving short-term memory, planning skills, reaction time, and decision-making capabilities:

  • Stimulate brain activity – complete puzzles and crosswords, play board games, learn a new skill, read and write daily, and pursue hobbies
  • Eat smart – include vegetables, berries, walnuts, and fish high in Omega-3 fatty acids, but avoid saturated fats, trans fats, and hydrogenated oils
  • Prioritize brain use – free up space in the mind to learn new skills by using smart phone reminders, planners, calendars, and lists to remember everyday things like appointments, social engagements, and where you left your keys

Coming up with processes and routines to keep your day running smoothly can be tough, but our Seniors Helping Seniors® companions are here to help and love finding new ways to help our care receivers succeed!

Keep Social Skills Sharp

Maintaining an active social life is closely tied to mental health, as it helps ward off depression, loneliness, and anxiety. It also encourages participation in mentally stimulating activities which improve brain function and lead to happier and more satisfying lives.

Ensure Your Social Calendar Stays Full

If your social game has slipped, there are plenty of ways to kickstart it! Try picking up a hobby or activity that’s practiced regularly, like joining a lunch club, bowling team, or fitness group. In addition to providing something to look forward to, planning ahead helps ensure outings aren’t just a one-time event.

Worried about finding transportation? Don’t be! Our caregivers want to get you where you need to go!

Visit Virtually

If leaving the house isn’t an option, engage online. Video chat with family and friends or join a virtual hobby group. These activities still offer mental benefits and the connection needed to keep the negative effects of social isolation at bay. In fact, we all got better at virtual visits during the pandemic!

At Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home services, we strive to pair our care receivers with caregivers who share similar interests, passions, and hobbies. Just imagine the fun you and your companion can enjoy together!

Ask For and Accept Help!

Being independent doesn’t mean that you never need support. Lean on family, friends, and our caregivers to push you to try new things and provide a hand whenever needed.

Our care receivers’ independence is a philosophy that we at Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home services take seriously. With your best interests in mind, we provide the encouragement and assistance to live life on your terms. Bravo to all our independent seniors — we salute you and are thrilled to watch you thrive, and not just during Senior Independence Month!

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American Heart Month: Seniors Helping Seniors® Tips For A Healthy Ticker!

shschesterfieldcountyva 14 Feb 2022

American Heart Month - our hearts are all inEvery February, American Heart Month raises awareness about the importance of maintaining cardiovascular health. Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services is reminding all the independent seniors in Virginia, however, that taking care of your heart isn’t just a one-month project – it’s a year-round endeavor!

Whether you’re looking to tighten up an already heart-healthy routine, or need ideas for how to start one, read on. The three Seniors Helping Seniors® tips that follow are changes you can make today to live your best tomorrow!

Exercise Daily

Whenever possible, get moving – it’s the best path to a healthy heart! Experts suggest at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day to protect your ticker and maintain an overall healthy lifestyle.

So, grab a friend, family member, or a Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver and start working the following activities into your routine to build cardiovascular endurance, keeping your heart and body strong!

  • Weight training is a triple threat – it builds muscle, regulates weight, AND strengthens the heart! Start small, though, and gradually work up to heavier amounts to protect from muscle strain.
  • Cardio improves blood flow and circulation around the heart, which is key to keeping the small vessels surrounding it clear of blockages. Aerobic exercises come in many forms – walking, biking, dancing, swimming – as long as the blood’s pumping, your body is reaping the benefits!
  • Yoga involves deep breathing to reduce stress, another fantastic way to keep your ticker functioning well! In addition to lowering stress – a leading cause of heart disease – practicing yoga can decrease and regulate heart rate and boost circulation.

Adjust to Keep Active, and not Just During American Heart Month

With the Northeast winter in full swing, training outdoors probably won’t be an option for another month or two. Luckily, most of the exercises above are usually done at the gym or a fitness studio. For the days you don’t feel like leaving home, however, simply adapt your routine. For example, do laps in your house for cardio or invest in a couple senior-focused weight-training or yoga apps. The important thing is to keep moving – your heart will thank you! After all that movement, you’ll want to make sure you get enough sleep, as well.

Reminder: Everyone has different physical needs and capabilities, so always consult a trainer and/or your doctor before starting a new fitness routine.

Dig In to a Heart-Smart Diet

Being physically active is only one aspect of a heart-healthy lifestyle. Eating well is another significant piece of the puzzle.

Add the following to your regular diet – all are good sources of heart-healthy vitamins and minerals, dietary fiber, and healthy fats, which are important in lowering cholesterol, regulating blood pressure, and minimizing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

  • Fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains — avoid refined grain products whenever possible
  • Lean meat, poultry, and fish (especially salmon and mackerel)
  • Low-fat dairy products and eggs
  • Legumes, like beans, peas, and lentils – all make excellent substitutes for protein
  • Green tea

Make Good Choices

Limit your intake of saturated and trans fats. Instead, choose olive, canola, or vegetable oil and use margarine rather than butter. Watch salt intake as well – too much can lead to high blood pressure, which is tough on the heart.

Many areas in the Virginia cook with plenty of cheese, butter, and cream, which can be high in cholesterol and unhealthy fats. Avoid eating too many of these ingredients and, whenever possible, choose dishes that are grilled, steamed, or baked – these preparations are typically healthier and better for your ticker. Controlling portion size is important as well, as overeating packs in more calories than needed and can contribute to heart disease.

Need some help getting started? Seniors Helping Seniors® caregivers can assist with planning meals, finding healthy options at the grocery store, and offering personal knowledge and experience when trying different cooking methods. After all, new ventures are always more fun with the company of a friend!

Avoid Smoking and Alcohol

It’s good practice to limit smoking and alcoholic beverage intake in general, as these habits can lead to health issues in people of all ages. But it’s especially important for seniors who want to stay active and independent! American Heart Month presents the perfect time to renew your commitment for change in these areas.

It’s Never Too Late to Quit

Smoking cigarettes increases the formulation of plaque in blood vessels and damages artery walls, significantly contributing to heart disease. Even if you’ve smoked for years, quitting now can lower your risk of developing the condition.

Take advantage of the help available from Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home services. Our caregivers can provide the encouragement needed to finally kick this habit!

Be Smart About Alcohol

Drinking alcohol is also detrimental to your heart because it raises blood pressure and increases the chance of heart failure. If you can’t cut it out completely, moderation is key. Experts recommend limiting alcohol consumption to no more than one or two drinks a day.

At Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services, we’re committed to helping our care receivers feel great and remain independent – and maintaining a healthy heart is crucial! Our caregivers, who are seniors themselves, understand how important it is for those we serve to keep their ticker in prime shape and will be there every step of the journey to developing heart healthy habits! So keep that ticker healthy during American Heart Month and beyond!

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Tea Time! A Soothing Sip With Seniors Helping Seniors® In-Home Care

shschesterfieldcountyva 28 Jan 2022

Tea time! tea serving on tabletop trayWith a wide variety of flavors to choose from, tea is not only tasty, it also offers an array of advantages for your mind and body. At Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services, we decided to brew up a pot of our favorite blend and take a look at why tea time brings perfect drink.

It’s Always Tea-O’Clock!

There is literally never a bad time for tea time! If a morning kick of caffeine is your goal, reach for matcha or black tea. It’s also much less acidic than coffee, so choosing it over a cup of joe could alleviate your sour stomach.

For a more relaxing experience, try chamomile or lavender teas to soothe you right before bed. Green tea – hot or iced – with a dash of honey helps ease a sore throat and peppermint tea can clear up your sinuses.

If those benefits aren’t enough, sipping this warm drink also is a wonderful addition to cozy, intimate gatherings with loved ones. Having tea bags and hot water at the ready improves any visit from family, an old pal, or a Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver!

Tea Time Brings Wellness Galore!

The health benefits are quite astonishing. Each variety has its own special perks, so let’s get the skinny on how these leaves can keep you strong!

Green Tea

Often described as the “gold standard,” green tea can encourage improved brain health and heighten energy levels. For us active seniors, it’s the perfect drink to help us maximize our days. It’s also a wonderful mood booster, triggering the availability of dopamine to the brain.

Other studies show that green tea promotes heart health and decreases inflammation. Add this all up and you have yourself a safeguard against several issues that arise as you age.

Black Tea

Irish and English breakfast – two popular types of black tea – gives your tea time a dose of caffeine without the acidity, making them perfect substitutes for coffee. At the same time, if you are looking to reduce inflammation and blood sugar levels, black tea can be the perfect natural remedy. Lastly, it can improve your gut health, which only adds to a strong immune system!

Chamomile Tea

The Egyptians weren’t wrong when they called chamomile a gift from the God of the Sun. It’s known for its holistic benefits, like improved sleep, reduced stress, and aiding with the prevention of osteoporosis.

We’re always looking to share guidance on positive habits with our Seniors Helping Seniors® care receivers. Tea is extremely diverse in its abilities to ease the mind and strengthen the body. So, let’s open up the cupboard and get the water simmering – It’s tea time!

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How to Help Improve Senior Holiday Mental Health This Year

shschesterfieldcountyva 29 Nov 2021

Portrait of sad senior woman in Santa hat isolated on white background - senior holiday mental healthMost of us see the holidays as such a happy time of year. From childhood, we have associated December with Santa, gifts, family, and magical feelings. As adults, we view the holiday season through the eyes of our own children, reveling in their joy as they experience traditions anew. For many seniors, however, depression rears its ugly head with even more prominence at the holidays. How can you help your senior loved one maintain positive holiday mental health?

Holiday Mental Health in Seniors

Why do seniors struggle with mental health at the holidays? For so many, this time of year reminds us of growing up and our younger years. While those happy memories provoke nostalgia, they also have the potential to remind someone of what they no longer have. Perhaps a spouse or other loved one has passed away. Maybe the senior’s health has declined and he or she can no longer participate in some favorite traditions. Whatever the reason, having “holiday blues” is not uncommon, and we must be aware to prevent it from becoming more serious depression. Here are some common symptoms of more severe depression in older adults:

  • Feeling persistently sad
  • Worrying excessively about health and finances
  • Being frequently tearful
  • Feeling helpless/worthless
  • Changes in weight
  • Pacing and/or fidgeting
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Unable to concentrate
  • Social withdrawal

If you notice these symptoms and have concerns about your senior loved one’s mental health, please contact a healthcare provider or mental health professional.

Preventing Holiday Blues

How do loved ones help a senior with the holiday blues, particularly from a distance? Health in Aging has some ideas, which we’ve included below along with some of our own tips.

Include Them

It may seem obvious, but everyone wants to feel included. Even if you think you know the answer ahead of time, invite them to gatherings and holiday outings. If you live too far away for frequent visits, video chats and gatherings can help close that distance. We have some great virtual party ideas you can use!

Help Out

If possible, help your senior loved one decorate for the holidays. Even a room at a care facility can feel more cheerful and help with holiday mental health with some festive decorations! Again, if you live too far away to help yourself, finding a companion (like from SHS!) to help decorate, run errands, or provide transportation to activities can help ease your senior’s load.

Listen

Ask your senior about favorite holiday memories, and then really listen. While you may be afraid of making the senior sad remembering the past, talking can be very therapeutic. Few things show you care like listening to someone and showing how important their memories are to you.

Volunteer

There are so many ways for anyone to volunteer during the holidays, even for seniors! You can volunteer together or encourage your senior loved one to find a way to give back. Many locales have a volunteer guide that offers something for everyone, including ways to volunteer from home.

If you have traditions or ideas to help keep the holiday blues at bay, we’d love to hear about them! Additionally, we can help at this time of the year with tasks around the home, gift wrapping, transportation, and companionship. Feel free to reach out for more info!

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4 Fall Fun Ideas to Keep Your Senior Active and Involved

shschesterfieldcountyva 29 Oct 2021

Fall Fun for SeniorsWe love this season with pumpkins, apples, cooler weather, and gorgeous leaves. The fact that things are a little closer to “normal” this year only adds to our enthusiasm. We could never list all the activities we love about this time of year, but we definitely have favorites. From hayrides to Halloween costumes, you can always find something to do. But what about your senior loved one? Let’s explore some fall fun geared just for them, making them feel active and involved. In fact, if you find yourself hanging out with both your children and your parents, many of these activities lend themselves well for both!

Leaf Peeping

Regardless of your senior loved one’s activity level, they can almost always look at the beautiful fall foliage. In fact, they don’t even have to get out of the car! If you do decide to walk around a little bit, choose a favorite leaf to bring home and press in a book for preservation. Here in Virginia, Skyline Drive offers a lovely place to take in the scenery and enjoy the leaves in a mountain setting.

Don’t forget that the National Park Service has a lifetime pass for seniors, perfect for fall. You and those accompanying you (usually in one car) can use the pass for entry to any national park. Once you buy, it never expires!

Fun Fall Crafts

What do pumpkins, leaves, ghosts, turkeys, trees and the like have in common? They all make excellent craft subjects! You can carve or paint a pumpkin together or make one out of paper. The internet offers hosts of fall crafts for young and old alike. Even those of us whose hands aren’t quite as nimble can make something. Whether you create them as decorations, table settings, gifts, or just for fun, you’ll enjoy the process even more than the finished product.

Baking

October and November really kick off the baking season. Try creating creepy cookies and cupcakes or get started on pies and cakes. Since many families have favorite traditions and recipes, involve multiple generations by having your older loved ones teach techniques and secret ingredients to younger members of the family.

Halloween Fun

We would be remiss if we failed to mention Halloween as part of the fall fun. Your older loved ones adore seeing the kids in their costumes, so be sure to get all decked out and visit them! If they live in assisted living or a care facility, the other residents will love it too. Living too far away to visit in person shouldn’t discourage you; make sure you send pictures or do a video call so everyone shares the scariest and cutest costumes.

Now that more churches, neighborhoods, and other organizations hold Trunk or Treat events, your senior loved one has another way to be involved. Even those in wheelchairs can sit and give out candy while admiring the trunks and costumes. If your senior visits or lives with you, put them in charge of passing out candy to trick-or-treaters! Weather permitting, a chair on the porch and a bowl of candy is all you’ll need.

Most seniors just want to feel involved, and fall offers the perfect opportunity to make this happen. What are your favorite ways to help your senior take advantage of all the fall fun? Weigh in over on our Facebook page!

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The Sandwich Generation: How to Have a Positive Mindset and Handle Stress

shschesterfieldcountyva 29 Sep 2021

Sandwich generation illustrated

No, we won’t talk about lunch options in this post or the best items to place between two pieces of bread. Instead, we’ll address an issue that has become much more common and has affected women more than anyone. As adults wait until later in life to become parents, they find themselves in an odd dilemma as those children grow. Caught between caring for aging parents and growing children, they are part of the sandwich generation.

What is the Sandwich Generation?

Women have babies later in life than they did a generation ago. In 2020, the average age of first-time mothers in developed countries increased to 31. A generation before, in 1970, the average age at first birth was 21.4. In other words, that age has risen by ten over the last 50 years. Women today find themselves “sandwiched” between caring for growing children in the home while also caring for aging parents. Since women account for the majority of caregivers for both children and seniors (66% of senior caregivers are women), this situation affects them the most. In America today, 44% of people aged 44-55 have at least one child under 21 and at least one living parent. We found a great infographic that illustrates this in greater detail.

Dealing with Stress

On a given day, a parent in the sandwich generation has many responsibilities. On the parenting side, they must feed and clothe their children, deal with transportation to and from school or day care, oversee schoolwork, taxi kids to extra-curricular activities, do laundry, clean, and more. For their aging parents, they may need to visit/check in, manage medication, transport to appointments, communicate with doctors, and make sure their loved one is safe. Having so many responsibilities quickly leads to burnout. So how do you manage stress?

First, you get help. You can’t expect to do all those things listed above (and more) on your own. If overwhelm sets in, perhaps you can find someone nearby who can check on your parent from time to time. Is there someone who can give your parent a ride to activities or appointments? Getting help does not mean you are weak or abdicating your responsibility. It means you are human. In fact, it will help you to have more energy for when you can spend quality time with your parent.

Here at Seniors Helping Seniors® Greater Richmond, we get it. In fact, that’s why we exist. Whether you need someone to check on your loved one, provide companionship or a ride, or give yourself a needed respite, we have your back. We also do light cleaning and help with meal preparation.

You must also make sure you take care of yourself. Get the exercise and rest you need, take breaks, and allow yourself to breathe. Whatever gives you peace, seek out that activity.

Available Sandwich Generation Support

Your mental health is so important, and you must remember that you are not alone. If you feel at odds or desperate, please contact a mental health professional. You can also find support groups, both in person and on Facebook or other sites, to connect with others in similar situations. Talk with friends in the sandwich generation (maybe over dinner or wine) and form community. Yes, this is stressful, but you are not alone.

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What do Seniors Gain by Working in Retirement? What are the Benefits?

shschesterfieldcountyva 31 Aug 2021

working in retirement - senior friend helping another seniorChildren spend a lot of time talking about what they want to be when they grow up. They pepper their conversations with dreams of becoming firefighters, police officers, ballerinas, singers, and whatever pops into their brains at the moment. When they grow up, do they stop dreaming? Did you? In addition to other benefits, working in retirement may give you the chance to dream again.

Reasons for Working in Retirement

Who says life has to end at retirement? Maybe there’s something you’ve always wanted to try or a hobby you could turn into a part time job. Let’s look at some of the benefits of working in retirement.

Social Connection

First, seniors who obtain part time work tend to have more social connections. It allows them to meet new people and establish a whole new network of friends they may otherwise never have met. We know that isolation can lead to mental decline, and working in retirement can help a senior feel less isolated, particularly if they don’t have family nearby.

Better Mental and Physical Health

While many seniors become more sedentary during retirement, those who work part-time jobs stay more active, contributing to their physical health. Active seniors have lower blood pressure, healthier hearts, and fewer physical ailments.

In addition, a job can give a senior a sense of purpose. Just having a reason to leave the house and knowing that people are counting on them can create a sense of determination. This is especially true when that job impacts others, like a job at SHS.

Supplemental Income

Who couldn’t use a little extra spending money? Many seniors talk about being on a limited budget, but working in retirement could help provide a little margin to supplement social security or a pension.

Working a Job that Makes a Difference

As we’ve mentioned before, a job with Seniors Helping Seniors can give all the above benefits and more! Not only will you improve your mental and physical health, become more socially active, and supplement your income, you’ll make a difference in the life of a senior and his or her family. To learn how you and the client can benefit from working with us, read this account from one of our dedicated caregivers.

If you or someone you know has retired (age 50 and above) and would enjoy working for SHS, please reach out to us. You can fill out the form at this link, or call us at 804-921-4280. You’ll be so glad you did!

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4 Reasons a Job at SHS is Perfect for Seniors with Compassion

shschesterfieldcountyva 30 Jul 2021

Ahhh, retirement, where every day feels like a weekend. You’ve counted down to this day for as long as you can remember, and the living is easy. Having bid farewell to the regular work week with no kids living at home anymore, you’ve planned and saved. Each day stands as yours to fill and explore however you’d like. What do you do, however, when the “newness” of retirement wears off and you find yourself listless and (dare we say it?) bored? You want to find something to do that will make a difference in the world or in the life of another. Should you volunteer? Find a hobby? Perhaps a job at SHS could provide the perfect solution for you and for another senior who needs a helping hand.

What does SHS do?

SHS is more than a home health care agency. While we do provide care to seniors in their homes, we also help them retain their dignity and independence. Services include help at home, companionship, transportation to appointments, respite care, and more. We are not a nursing service, and we do not require experience in that area.

Not only do we provide these services for seniors that need them, our caregivers are seniors themselves. They have the unique perspective of shared experiences and going through the aging process along with those they serve. This fact alone sets us apart from many in-home care providers.

caregiver testimonial from someone with a job at SHS

Benefits of a Job at SHS

So what benefits can you find from a job at SHS? Listing all of them would make this post entirely too long, but let’s examine some of the main ones.

You’ll Make a Difference

Most of us want to do something that will matter and enrich others. A job at SHS allows you to do just that. Not only will you provide assistance for the senior, but you’ll give his or her family peace of mind, and we can’t overstate the importance of this. In many cases, a senior’s family lives out of town, too far away to attend to daily needs. What do they want more than anything? They want to know their loved one is safe and cared for. You can be the one to provide that assurance.

Read more from a family we helped to see the impact you could make.

You’ll Develop Relationships

At SHS, we don’t just randomly place caregivers and seniors together. We carefully match people that we know will get along together based on interests and shared experiences. Most of our caregivers keep in touch with clients after their time of caregiving has passed. In many cases, they become extended family and forge bonds with both the senior and his or her loved ones.

Here’s what one son had to say about his dad’s caregiver, Fred:

“Fred had become my father’s friend. Fred was reliable, trustworthy, kind, and compassionate. He had become an extended member of our family. He even came in those last days to visit with my father before his passing.”

You’ll Pay it Forward

One day, we will all reach the point where we need help. A job at SHS allows you to “pay it forward”, knowing that you may eventually need the same services. How will you want others to treat you when you get to that point? You’ll also have contacts and connections that can help you when you or a loved one find yourselves needing our services.

You’ll Supplement Income

In addition to the benefits listed above, you’ll get paid for doing all these things. Our caregivers are not volunteers, so you’ll have the chance to supplement your retirement income while making a difference, forging relationships, and paying it forward! Everybody wins with a job at SHS.

Interested in a Job at SHS?

If you or someone you know has retired (age 50 and above) and would enjoy working for SHS, please reach out to us. You can fill out the form at this link, or call us at 804-921-4280. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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Senior Goal Setting: What’s the Best Path for Success at any Life Stage?

shschesterfieldcountyva 28 Jun 2021

Here we are, halfway through 2021. You may wish we didn’t ask this question, but did you make resolutions this year? Maybe you’d prefer not to think about it. We understand. Here’s a secret, though: it’s not too late, even if you gave up after a week. While we’ll focus this post on senior goal setting, you can apply these tips at any stage of life.

Why Should Seniors Set Goals?

When many people set goals, they largely center around career. For that reason, seniors sometimes wonder why they should bother. Retired folks have come to the end of their careers, right? If that’s where your mind goes when you think about goal setting, maybe it’s time to consider senior goal setting differently.

As a loved one ages, it can be hard for him or her to find purpose. They’ve come to the end of their working lives and have finished raising their families. This brings some to wonder what’s left. Unfortunately, some find themselves floundering and feeling hopeless. If you find that your senior loved one has begun down this road, you may need to help them shift their thinking. Instead of being without purpose, now they have the time to do new things and make a different kind of impact on the world! Changing their perspective on this has a huge impact on their mental health.

What kinds of goals can help motivate your loved one? The Institute on Aging makes suggestions for goals that foster these attributes:

  1. Health and fitness to keep your senior active and healthy.
  2. Family and community to stay connected.
  3. Personal purpose (volunteering or activism) to feel like they can still make a difference.
  4. Independence.
  5. Creativity to keep the mind in shape.
  6. Fun!

senior goal setting - smart goals in wood backgroundSMART Senior Goal Setting

How can you help your senior loved one set an appropriate goal? First of all, you want to help them set themselves up for success. The wrong goal can cause anyone of any age to become discouraged and defeated. We’ve all had the experience of giving up on something we started with the best of intentions. It’s no fun to feel like you failed.

For that reason, help your senior set a SMART goal that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Instead of a general goal like “be more active”, a SMART goal may be to walk for 30 minutes 3 times a week. You could also say you’ll video chat with grandchildren each weekend instead of just stating that you’ll connect better with your family.

Make a Plan with Small Steps

Now that you have a goal in mind, how will you achieve it? Figure out what needs to happen for you to succeed at your goal, and make a plan. It may seem cliché, but you really can achieve big things in small steps. One person who decided to go to grad school and change careers while working full time and having 3 young kids offered this advice:

“It was just a matter of persistence and planning out my daily goals. Scaffolding the small steps made everything less overwhelming and ultimately more doable.”

When tasks become overwhelming, my mom used to say to put out the fire that’s closest to the house. I still use that when it seems like I’ll never get everything done, and I often pass that advice to others. Focus only on the fire you need to put out now, then move along to the next one.

Goal Setting with Grace

When do most people give up their goals, and why? In his book Finish, Jon Acuff has a chapter called “The Day after Perfect”. That chapter talks about the curse of perfectionism. In many of our minds, if we can’t do something perfectly, we give up. If you really want to achieve a goal, you WILL get off track at some point. It’s what you do the next day that counts. Do you give yourself grace and start again, or do you chuck the whole thing? A friend remembered that when she was training for a 5K. In the past, getting a cold would have derailed her progress because if she wasn’t able to give 100%, why should she even try? When she did get a bad cold, she gave herself permission to do what she could and got right back on track when she was able.

Regardless of the size of your goal, making progress depends on having a plan and what you do the day after you mess up. What goals do you or your senior have right now? We’d love to hear about it.

A Goal Opportunity

If your goals include making a difference, staying connected, and supplementing your income, we have the perfect solution! SHS Greater Richmond is hiring. You can click here for more information!

The post Senior Goal Setting: What’s the Best Path for Success at any Life Stage? appeared first on Seniors Helping Seniors.

10 Reasons Physical Touch is Important for Seniors (and everyone else)

shschesterfieldcountyva 28 May 2021

Importance of physical touch in seniors - old and young hand touchingPhysical touch. Those words mean many things to many people. Some of us love to hug, while many introverts recoil at the thought. Regardless of your initial reaction to being touched, many overlook the importance of this basic human function. Let’s unpack the importance of physical touch for both physical and mental health.

What kind of touch do we mean? Is this an intimacy thing? While that is one aspect, this kind of physical touch is more far reaching. Even the simplest act of reaching out and touching someone on the arm or shoulder counts here. Other examples include hugs, pats on the back, or holding hands. Any kind of positive, encouraging physical encounter makes the list.

Physical Touch and Mental Health

When you have positive physical contact with someone, your body produces something called oxytocin, also known as the “feel good” hormone. Additionally, you increase your levels of dopamine and serotonin, which help regulate your mood and reduce anxiety. Some of the benefits of this kind of touch include:

  • stress management
  • less anxiety
  • reduced rate of depression
  • combating loneliness and isolation
  • expanding trust
  • inspiring positive thinking

Since seniors are more prone to many of these mental health challenges, it’s even more important to make sure they “reach out and touch someone” (thanks, old phone company commercial).

Touch Starvation

We’ve shown that humans need physical contact for their mental health, so what happens when they don’t get enough? The resulting condition is called “touch starvation” and is a real thing! In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting isolation has brought more attention to this issue. Particularly in the case of those who live alone or in care facilities, being cut off from people has had a huge effect. Yes, it helps to video chat and employ other survival techniques, but all the virtual gatherings in the world can’t fill the void left by touch starvation.

If your senior loved one has been isolated and you notice the following symptoms, they may be starved for touch:

  • loneliness
  • feeling depressed
  • anxiety
  • stress
  • low satisfaction in relationships
  • difficulty sleeping
  • avoiding attachments

Importance of physical touch - symptoms of touch starvation

Effects on Physical Health

Since our physical health is so closely tied to our mental health, it stands to reason that touch has physical benefits, as well. When your body releases those hormones mentioned above, helping to reduce stress and anxiety, the rest of your body has positive effects. First, your immune system gets a boost. Next, your heart rate slows and blood pressure goes down. Improvement in mood also makes it more likely for you to seek physical activity, which we know has a huge effect on your health.

So let’s do a quick rundown of the benefits of physical touch:

  1. stress management
  2. less anxiety
  3. reduced rate of depression
  4. combat loneliness and isolation
  5. expand trust
  6. inspire positive thinking
  7. immune system boost
  8. lower heart rate
  9. lower blood pressure
  10. higher rate of physical activity

Now that more people have had the COVID vaccine, the CDC has reduced its recommendations for staying away from one another. With that in mind, go find your favorite senior and share a hug or pat on the back. It will do you both so much good!

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How to Help Senior Loved Ones with Finances in Retirement

shschesterfieldcountyva 30 Apr 2021

Finances. Budget. Banking. These words can bring a sense of doom regardless of your stage of life. When a person is retired, however, financial topics become even more challenging. Seniors often have fewer sources of income, and the aging brain can cause confusion. In this post, we’ll explore some issues people face with finances in retirement and how you can help your favorite senior in this area.

Discussing Finances In Retirement

Let’s face it. Most people prefer not to talk about finances, particularly with their aging parents. The subject can be even more challenging for those in the sandwich generation. You already have your own family’s budgeting needs, and focusing on those of your parents just heaps on the stress. While broaching the subject of finances with an aging loved one presents plenty of challenges, you can make it easier with a few tips. An article from Smart About Money offers these suggestions:

  • Talk in person. If you live far away, save this discussion for when you take a trip to visit.
  • Don’t wait too long. You can still have this conversation when your parents seem fit and independent. When they start to decline, you’ll be ready with their preferences.
  • Discuss with respect. Remember that being judgmental or preachy will put your loved one on the defensive.
  • Stick to one thing at a time. If they seem reluctant, gently talk about one topic at a time to prevent overwhelm.

How to Help Senior Loved Ones with Finances in Retirement - talking to seniors about finances

Learning Online Banking

One thing that may help your senior loved one feel more in control of finances is helping him or her learn about online banking. With many older citizens unable to get out to the bank without help, being able to take care of things from home allows them to feel like they can do what they need without bothering someone to take them out to the bank. Fortunately, the pandemic forced many seniors to learn how to use their bank’s online platform because they had little choice. Capital One has a great article with some tutorials on helping seniors with online banking.

Budgeting in Retirement

We can’t discuss finances in retirement without mentioning the need for a budget. Seniors who are healthy and active may find budgeting easier if they get a fulfilling, part time job (such as with us at Seniors Helping Seniors). Not only will they earn some extra income, they will fill social needs, as well.

Some seniors have a hard time adjusting to the fact that they just don’t have as much income as they once did. Lay it all out for them. It helps to track their spending for a couple of weeks to raise awareness of where their money actually goes. Once they see how much money comes in vs how much goes out, they will realize the need for a budget.

Another important consideration is making sure everyone is informed. According to an article from Intuit, many family squabbles arise when one family member thinks another is trying to hide something. If you have siblings, communicate your intentions about helping your parents. When everyone is informed and on the same page, you can avoid conflict and have a team approach.

We’d love to hear your tips for helping seniors with finances in retirement. You can join the conversation over on our Facebook page.

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How Does Senior Sleep Quality Lead to Better Health?

shschesterfieldcountyva 31 Mar 2021

How Does Senior Sleep Quality Lead to Better Health? - 5 reasons sleep is vital for healthMany people have a love-hate relationship with sleep. When you were a child, you probably fought it and said that you’d stay up as late as you wanted when you grew up. As adults, we wish we could go back and sleep that much again. While sleep helps health at any age, its importance only increases as we get older. Senior sleep quality plays a vital part in a senior’s overall health, both physical and mental.

The Importance of Sleep

As a person ages, quality of sleep becomes increasingly important. Having a good night’s sleep makes us feel refreshed and ready to tackle the day, but it gives us other benefits, as well. These include:

  1. Boosting your mood
  2. Lowering risk of disease
  3. Maintaining healthy weight and supporting metabolism
  4. Improving concentration and memory
  5. Clearing your body of harmful toxins

Effects of Poor Senior Sleep Quality

Effects on Physical Health

The national sleep foundation recommends that adults over age 65 should get 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Even though most adults know that they should sleep this much each night, many still have trouble reaching that goal. Unfortunately, the centers for disease control links insomnia to increased chance of high blood pressure and heart disease. Problems in these areas affect overall health and can carry over to other areas of health, as well. According to Better Health While Aging, almost a quarter of older adults report symptoms of insomnia. Since many seniors hesitate to discuss these symptoms with their doctors, one can assume that number to be even higher.

Effects on Mental Health

In addition to its effects on physical health, poor senior sleep quality has a negative effect on mental health. Issues with insomnia can cause or worsen depression in older adults. Feelings of hopelessness from depression then make it harder for a person to fall asleep, causing an unfortunate cycle that reduces health and quality of life. The senior then continues to withdraw from others and activities, making the problem even worse.

Improving Senior Sleep Quality

What can seniors do to improve quality of sleep? This help guide offers several tips. First, you must understand that sleep changes as we age. Your body is not the same as it was when you were younger, and that’s ok. Since you no longer produce growth hormone, you likely experience a decrease in deep sleep. You can counteract this by going to sleep earlier or taking a short nap during the day.

Another way to combat insomnia is to get to the root of its cause. Increased stress, depression, anxiety, recent trauma or life changes, and medications can all lead to difficulty sleeping. It’s important for seniors to advocate for themselves with their doctors and ask for help identifying any issues that may affect sleep.

Other ways to achieve better sleep include:

  • Making sure your room is dark and a comfortable temperature
  • Getting enough exercise during the day (but not too close to bedtime)
  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Maintaining a consistent bedtime and sleep schedule

We cannot stress enough the importance of communicating sleep problems with your doctor. Sleep affects every other aspect of life, and you should not ignore issues with it. Talk to a family member or medical professional for help!

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Courageous Women Who Paved The Way for Our First Female Vice President

shschesterfieldcountyva 26 Feb 2021

Kamala Harris, first female vice president, hugs a young girl
Source: whitehouse.gov

At just over 100 years since white women gained the right to vote, we recently watched the swearing in of our first female vice president. During a time of pandemic when the COVID vaccine had little momentum, Justice Sonia Sotomayor administered the oath of office to Kamala Harris. Long ago, her mother had told her, “Kamala, you may be the first to do many things, but make sure you are not the last.” Fortunately, other women had already followed that advice. Because of courageous women who blazed a trail before her, Ms. Harris stands poised to continue that thread. We know many of our senior friends will enjoy remembering those who came before.

Female Candidates for President and Vice President from Major Parties

While she may be the first female actually elected as vice president, she was not the first contender. Take a look at the most well known names to vie for president or vice president.

Hillary Clinton, Presidential Candidate

Democrat Hillary Clinton had a front row seat to experience a presidency when she served as First Lady. The term of her husband, Bill Clinton, spanned from 1993 to 2001. Since that time, she ran a successful campaign to represent New York in the senate as the first former first lady to win a public office seat. Shortly thereafter, Barack Obama appointed her as Secretary of State.

While other females have won nominations from lesser known parties, Hillary Clinton is the first woman nominated for president by one of the two major political parties. Her loss to Donald Trump, Jr. in 2016 did not dampen her involvement. She regularly speaks out about important issues, particularly through her Twitter account.

Sarah Palin, Vice Presidential Candidate

On the Republican side, Sarah Palin also sought the second highest office in the land. During his 2008 presidential campaign, John McCain selected her as his running mate, making her only the second female vice presidential candidate for a major party. At the time of her nomination, she served as governor of Alaska. She had also held offices on city council and as mayor of Wasilla. On July 3, 2009, Palin announced that she would not run for reelection as Alaska’s governor. Since then, she has showcased her home state on television and remained vocal about issues and candidates she supports.

Geraldine Ferraro, Vice Presidential Candidate

Geraldine Ferraro became the first female candidate for vice president from a major party when Walter Mondale selected her as his running mate in 1984. At the time of her nomination, she represented New York in the House of Representatives. Her diverse background also included working as a teacher, businesswoman, and author. Ultimately defeated by the Reagan/Bush ticket, she went on to become ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Ms. Ferraro also worked on Hilary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign before her passing of multiple myoma in 2011.

Female Candidates for Vice President from Other Parties

While we’ve covered the female candidates for president and vice president from the two major parties, the story did not start with them. With limited space in this post, we can’t cover all former candidates, but there’s an amazing article from National Geographic that details 11 women who paved the way for Kamala Harris to become our first female vice president. Which one inspires you?

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The Covid Vaccine has Arrived – What do Seniors Really Need to Know?

shschesterfieldcountyva 28 Jan 2021

Image of Covid Vaccine BottleWhen Covid-19 first arrived on the scene, nobody could have known how long it would last. In fact, when we started our Covid survival guide for seniors last March, we had no idea that we’d still be writing about it near Valentine’s Day this year. We do take comfort in the arrival of the Covid vaccine as health care agencies roll it out to the public. Hopefully, this guide will help you have more information on how this rollout affects seniors.

Vaccine Rollout History

The most recent vaccine rollout seems like a long time ago, but many still remember it. The first polio vaccine was introduced in 1955, and we talked to several family members who recall what that was like. One described it as almost a holiday because people had such fear of the disease. Several others reminisced about receiving the vaccine on a sugar cube and thinking of it as a big treat. One wanted to get back in line and have another one! Either way, the public, especially parents, felt a huge relief that their children could receive the polio vaccine. These days, standard children’s vaccinations include the polio vaccine, and most parents hardly give it a second thought.

When Can Seniors Get the Covid Vaccine?

Since distribution of the Covid vaccine has largely been left to states, the answer to this question can vary. In Virginia, those 65 and older and certain frontline workers can get the vaccine now based on a phased plan. The government has contracted with CVS and Walgreens to administer doses to those in nursing homes and other long term care at no cost to them. Those seniors 65 or older who do not live in a care facility should check with their local health department to find out how to get vaccinated. You can also use the online tool to find out when/where you can receive the Covid vaccine.

In most cases, you will have to register with your local health department to get an appointment. Below you can find links to local health departments to help you. Each will have a form to fill out to register.

Should Seniors Get the Vaccine?

Since seniors have a higher risk of complications and fatalities from Covid-19, the CDC recommends that they get the vaccine as soon as they can. If you have concerns about side effects or how the vaccine may interact with other medications/underlying conditions, please contact your primary health care provider for advice. He or she can also direct you to the best avenue to receive the vaccine and may be able to administer it to you right in the office.

Important: the current vaccines will require two doses, and it will still take time to develop full immunity. You must wear a mask during this time.

Who Pays for the Covid Vaccine?

From the AARP:

“AARP fought to make sure the federal government is covering the cost of the vaccine itself. But the CDC says vaccine providers may still charge a fee for giving someone a shot. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has said the vaccine will be administered free of charge to Medicare beneficiaries, with no copays. Some health insurance companies have also announced that there will be no out-of-pocket costs for policyholders.

According to the Virginia Department of Health, any COVID-19 vaccination fees will be covered by insurance companies or by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration Provider Relief Fund. There are already reports of scammers purporting to offer COVID vaccines and treatments and trying to charge for them.  AARP’s Fraud Watch Network  is tracking the latest scams.”

As with many government programs, finding information presented in a clear, concise way can be difficult. You should direct any questions to your medical professional. We hope this guide has been a helpful source of Covid vaccine information!

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12 Absolutely Fun Ideas for Seniors at Your Virtual New Year’s Eve Party

shschesterfieldcountyva 29 Dec 2020

virtual New Year's Eve - Senior couple celebrating party with wineIt goes without saying that 2020 was… interesting. Between the pandemic, civic upheaval, and political climate, we all feel worn out. While we understand that ringing in the new year won’t automatically erase all these issues, we still anticipate 2021. Hopefully, 2021 will usher in better times and a return to more normality. It’s important, however, to remember that we still need to keep our celebrations safe. The United States has more Covid-19 cases than ever, so now is not the time to let down our guard. To that end, we can still enjoy ourselves with virtual New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Whether you choose Zoom or Google Meet as your platform of choice, you can find lots of ways to have a virtual New Year’s Eve. Here are some fun ideas for seniors or friends of any age.

Virtual New Year’s Eve Ideas

Attend a Virtual Event Together

First of all, you may not have time to put together an entire party on your own. You can gather your friends and attend an event that has already been planned. Some of them are even free (my favorite price)! Eventbrite has a list of events you can attend from the comfort of your own home. If you have been quarantining with a group of friends, this is a great way to have fun together and leave the planning to someone else.

Watch a Movie and Have a Pajama Party

With the ability to share screens and sound, you can watch a movie with a group of friends, no matter how far apart you are. Zoom has made it really easy to do this.

Deliver Virtual New Year’s Eve Goodie Bags

If your virtual New Year’s Eve party attendees live close enough, consider delivering a goodie bag to each guest ahead of time. These could include noisemakers, hats, or other small trinkets. You can drop them off on people’s porches with instructions not to open until the party, if desired. Alternatively, you could put a box of goodie bags on your own porch or central location for people to come pick up before the party starts.

Create a Song Playlist

Before your party, ask your guests for a few of their favorite songs. Create a playlist with all those songs to have playing in the background while everyone is chatting at the party. You may even be able to have a virtual dance party!

Play a Virtual Party Game

While you may not be able to play all your favorite party games with a virtual New Year’s Eve party, you can still find some to play. Here are some suggestions:

  • Charades – Generate a list of ideas ahead of time and use the private message feature in Zoom to send them only to the person about to have a turn.
  • Trivial Pursuit (or online trivia) – While everyone can’t touch the board and ask the questions, one person could have the board and move tokens on other players’ behalf. You’ll still have fun answering the questions!
  • 20 Questions
  • Bingo – You can find a bunch of online Bingo games. Some sites allow you to make your own cards and give a link to friends where everyone has a different card for the game.

Watch the Ball Drop

While Times Square will be closed this year, the ball will still drop. You can experience this online with friends and family so you still have that memory at midnight. There will still be performances and celebrities, but we’ll have to do without the crowd this year.

While we’re all glad to see 2020 end, we hope you can find some blessings or silver linings from this year. For us, those we serve continue to enrich our lives every single day. Enjoy your virtual New Year’s Eve celebrations!

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Alzheimer’s Caregiving: How to Best Care for Yourself and Your Loved One

shschesterfieldcountyva 30 Nov 2020

alzheimer's caregiving: National family caregivers month in November with plum purple ribbon awarenessThe Alzheimer’s Association has set November as National Family Caregivers Month. While Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia affect the diagnosed individual, this disease can cause turmoil for the family, as well. Unlike many other diseases, the stress on caregivers dealing with memory loss can become difficult to manage, particularly if your loved one no longer remembers you or becomes combative. Today we’d like to focus on Alzheimer’s Caregiving, both for you and your loved one.

Alzheimer’s Caregiving and Covid-19

While we have focused on help for caregivers before, the current pandemic raises a whole new level of concern. The Coronavirus has added a new layer of stress for everyone, regardless of situation. Us Against Alzheimer’s reports that these effects have been worse for those with dementia and the caregiving community. Check out these stats from their site:

Nearly 9 in 10 (88 percent) of caregivers reported having one or more stress symptoms typically found in people experiencing severe stress – an 8-point jump from April. The top reported stress symptoms included: sleep problems (38 percent); difficulty concentrating (34 percent); trouble experiencing positive feelings (31 percent); loss of interest in activities (31 percent); vigilance/being ‘super alert’ (29 percent); and irritable/angry behavior (25 percent).

Families of those in long term care see effects, as well. Since most nursing homes have restricted or eliminated visitation, loved ones can only visit by phone or video chat. Many worry about or have seen decline in cognitive abilities without normal human interaction. In many cases, lack of contact with loved ones has accelerated this decline. Consequently, this adds to the stress of those who worry for their loved ones.

What’s a Caregiver to Do?

Alzheimer’s caregiving during a pandemic can feel hopeless, especially with no end in sight. You work hard to protect your loved one, but you need to care for yourself, as well. Here are some tips:

Find a Way to Relieve Stress

Yes, you’re stuck at home most of the time. Yes, that’s a drag. There are, however, ways to reduce stress in this situation. Many yoga studios offer online video classes for meditation and stress relief. If you can’t afford a class, go to YouTube and search for meditation playlists.

If meditation doesn’t do it for you, focus on a hobby or something that brings you joy.

Stay in Touch with Friends

Whether it’s through social media, phone calls, text, or video chat, make sure you stay connected. Direct contact may be a better plan than social media. Sometimes scrolling your news feed during times of turmoil can cause undue stress.

Use an Online Counselor

Recognize when you need to talk to somebody. Most counselors have adapted to the times and will meet via video chat. If your employer or benefits provider has an EAP program, you can possibly get counseling services at no charge.

Find a Virtual/Online Support Group for Alzheimer’s Caregiving

The Alzheimer’s Association has their own virtual community, both for those who have the disease or care for those who do. There you can find message boards, articles, and all kinds of resources for Alzheimer’s caregiving. In Central Virginia, they offer events and support that you can access online, without risk of infection.

Use Respite Care

Finally, recognize when you need a break. Getting out of the house for even a couple of hours can be balm for a caregiver’s weary soul. Understandably, you may have concerns about getting respite care during a pandemic. When you call, ask the provider about COVID protocols. If you don’t like their answer, you don’t have to use them! Here at Seniors Helping Seniors Greater Richmond, our providers answer 5 health protocol and exposure questions before reporting to work. In addition, they wear masks at all times, wash hands before and after each task, and keep socially distanced whenever possible.

Yes, it feels overwhelming to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, but we are eager to help in any way we can!

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The 5 Ws of Medical Record Keeping

shschesterfieldcountyva 30 Oct 2020

Medical Record Keeping - What should you keep?

Today’s post comes from Kimberly Hassmer, owner of Organized Advocacy. Be sure to contact her if you think a binder like this would be helpful for you or a loved one!

Medical Record Keeping

Here are the 5 Ws of having a medical binder with everything organized and ready for providers and caregivers.

Who can benefit from a well-organized Medical binder?

Anyone that utilizes multiple specialists or feels that their paperwork overwhelms them on a regular basis. Senior Citizens and/or their caregivers can absolutely benefit from the use of a binder. It is a living document that can change as necessary when medications, health summary or provider contact information changes.

What do you keep and what do you get rid of?

As a rule, departure documents, lab work, clinic notes and testing older than a year can be shredded or kept in a different location. Current health summaries, medication lists, surgical or hospitalization timelines and therapy evaluations are all important to keep in your binder. 

When is it necessary to update your binder/documentation?

I often tell my clients that they should update their binder every 30 days with new information and changes. This way the updates do not overwhelm the binder owner or the caregiver if waiting too long to update.

Where do you get information to put in your binder?

Many individuals find it easiest to find their health documents on patient portals. If your doctor has a patient portal, take the opportunity to sign up! Many of the records needed to keep your binder working well can be found on a patient portal. If this is not an option, it is possible to get in touch with the Medical Records department for each provider. These can be mailed directly to the binder owner. 

Why is it important to keep a binder like this?

Keeping concise and organized Medical Records can provide the individual or caregiver with a sense of peace while also arming them with the confidence needed to advocate in a health care setting. Having documents in the correct place can alleviate stress and encourage open and continued communication between patient and provider as well as between providers.

Organized Advocacy is a business dedicated to helping individuals, caregivers and families of loved ones that are medically complex, developmentally delayed, those in our senior citizen population and the veteran community.

Caregivers for our aging community members often have a huge responsibility to keep medications lists, provider contacts, health information and medical history in order for appointments. The Organized Advocacy Senior Binder does just that while also accounting for the legal documentation that is necessary when taking care of a older loved one. If you think you or someone you know could benefit from an Organized Advocacy Binder, please visit me at www.medicalbinders.com!

 

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What Can You Learn From Researching Genealogy?

shschesterfieldcountyva 30 Sep 2020

Researching Genealogy: Complicated family tree of several generations isolated on whiteWhere do I come from? That question weighs on a lot of people’s minds, especially those who have little family to ask. Researching genealogy has become more popular in recent years, but why? For one thing, the science is more readily available to the average person. Additionally, more and more people have realized how much they can learn and gain from knowing more about their backgrounds. Let’s dive in and learn more.

Benefits of Researching Genealogy

So what can you learn from finding out more about your genealogy? There are a bunch of benefits, but here are a few highlights.

Medical History and Risks

Who doesn’t want to learn more about their risks of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and more? Learning about your family history can reveal information about health that you didn’t know before. Consequently, you can discuss findings with your doctor and make a plan to mitigate your risks.

Living Relatives

Researching genealogy can also reveal relatives, still living, that you didn’t know about before. How interesting would it be to find some long lost relative, connect, compare stories, and form a relationship? We’ve discussed the importance of connecting with those from your past, but finding people you didn’t know existed could make for an even better adventure!

Celebrity or Historical Ties

While this isn’t the best reason to dive into your family tree, many who have researched their past have found ties to celebrities and historical figures. It gives you some bragging rights to realize that you have a direct connection to signers of the Constitution or someone from your favorite movie!

Leaving a Legacy

Lastly, most of us want to leave something behind for family members who come after us. Helping them to know their ancestry, including health history and other benefits, would leave them with information that they could use and treasure.

Getting Started

A word of warning: many who have started this journey have gone down the rabbit hole and become almost addicted to it. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing! Finding something that interests you has benefits of its own, particularly when fighting boredom and isolation. But how do you get started? I’m glad you asked.

Do a Mail-In DNA Test

DNA testing used to be limited to only doctors and law enforcement. With the availability of this technology to the general public, more can take advantage of everything it offers. In most cases, all you have to do is swab the inside of your cheek and mail it to the testing company. The report  you receive after that can contain a wealth of information about your ancestry, countries of origin, health risks, and more. You do want to be careful, however, and choose your DNA testing company carefully. Here are some tips we found on choosing a DNA test:

Researching Genealogy: Tips on choosing a DNA test

Research Your Ancestry

If you don’t want to pay for a DNA test, that’s ok! You can find a wealth of information about your family tree in other ways. While having the results from a DNA test will help you learn more in these searches, you can also use sites like ancestry.com for researching genealogy. You’ll learn a few things for free, but it will cost you to take a deep dive into your ancestry. Additionally, you may have some luck getting information from the national archives. What a fascinating adventure!

Join the Conversation

If you’ve done some research in this area, we’d love to hear from you. You can join the discussion over on our Facebook page. What sites have you used? Where have you seen the best results? What cool stuff did you learn? We can’t wait to hear.

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Learn to Self Advocate: How to be a Partner in your Own Health

shschesterfieldcountyva 28 Aug 2020

As we age, so many things weigh on our minds. Concerns lie with family, friends, church, volunteering, and more. Right now, we have the added worry of a pandemic and political unrest in an election year. With all these issues to consider, it’s important not to neglect your own health. To that end, seniors must remember the importance of being able to self advocate. You want to be an active partner in your own health instead of taking a passive, observational role.

Learning to Self Advocate

So how do you learn to advocate for yourself, especially if you tend to have a more timid personality? Fortunately, you can find all kinds of resources on the internet… where else? The Joint Commission has a “Speak Up” campaign aimed at helping people learn to do just that. You can watch a video or print out a handy guide with tips to help you take a more active role in your health care.

One of the most important things you can do is be well prepared for each appointment. This takes a little planning ahead. Before you visit a doctor, make a list of questions you have so you are less likely to forget something. You should also note any new symptoms, changes from other providers, and anything else that your doctor may need to hear.

Learn to self advocate - infographic with tips on preparing for an appointment

Advocate for Yourself in Advance

While it’s not everyone’s favorite topic, part of advocating for yourself and partnering in your own care includes making sure your loved ones know your wishes in advance. What should happen once you reach the point where you can no longer speak for yourself? Where would you like to live when you need a higher level of care? Most seniors have opinions about these topics, but people can’t read your mind. If you don’t make your wishes absolutely clear, your family or loved ones will have to guess later on. No matter how well you think they know you, never assume they are completely familiar with your plan. The best thing you can do is write it down and let your family know where they can find it.

You may also want to talk to a lawyer about an advance directive or living will. The last thing you want to do is leave your family with an agonizing decision when you could have left them with a detailed plan to follow. Even if you don’t have close family, any friends who live with you or are involved in your life should know your desires.

Knowing When to Step In

If you have an aging family member or friend, you may wonder when you should step in to help your loved one self advocate. Some questions you can use to evaluate the situation include the following:

  • Does your loved one become easily overwhelmed when discussing his or her health?
  • Does he or she clearly understand all the available options?
  • Have you noticed any issues with memory or confusion with your loved one?
  • What physical obstacles hinder communication? Inability to see or hear well can make it difficult to understand everything.

These issues can overwhelm both seniors and families alike, but you don’t have to feel alone! Organizations like ours can help find the answers to any questions you may have. We hope you’ll contact us if you need assistance!

The post Learn to Self Advocate: How to be a Partner in your Own Health appeared first on Seniors Helping Seniors.

Reliving Past Olympic Moments

shschesterfieldcountyva 03 Aug 2020

Looking back on Olympic moments - image of Olympic rings2020 hasn’t exactly gone the way we envisioned. (Get it? 2020 vision? Couldn’t resist.) So much has happened, particularly with the Coronavirus, that we didn’t expect. Unfortunately, this has meant missing out on other things. While most people can relate to missing graduation, weddings, and other celebrations, not getting to have the summer Olympics this year has been widely felt. Since we don’t get to tune in live, let’s take a look at and relive some past Olympic moments.

Memorable Olympic Moments

So what constitutes the most famous moments in Olympic history? Well, that depends on who you ask. What I deem as memorable may not mean anything to you. Let’s track some of the famous moments from each Olympics, starting in the 1930s through 1980. You can read more about them at our source, the official website of the Olympic Games.

1936 – Berlin

The Olympic committee awarded the 1936 games to Berlin after World War I to give Germany a chance to show it was coming back. Here are some highlights:

  • Jesse Owens stole the show with golds in the 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay and long jump.
  • First Olympics with television coverage, available to Berlin residents at locations around the city.
  • Debut of the opening torch relay.
  • Event debuts: basketball, canoeing, and field handball.
  • Hitler tried to use the games to show the superiority of the Aryan race, which backfired with Jesse Owens’ success.

1940 & 1944

The 1040 and 1944 Olympics were cancelled due to WWII.

1948  – London

This was the first Olympic games in over a decade, and London hosted with very little notice. Rationing and scarcity of essential products presented a huge challenge.

  • Bob Mathias, a 17-year-old American teenager, won the decathlon after taking up the sport only four months before.
  • Introduced starting blocks for sprint athletes.
  • First time for home television coverage.

1952 – Helsinki

During the 1952 games, some feared that Cold War tensions could lead to entanglements between countries. Fortunately, this did not come to pass. Here are some Olympic moments:

  • Israel and the Soviet Union joined for the first time.
  • Soviet women’s gymnastics team started a 40 year winning streak.
  • Czech long-distance runner Emil Zátopek won the 5,000m 10,000m, and the marathon. He is still the only athlete to achieve gold medals in all three events.

1956 – Melbourne/Stockholm

Because of horses needing to be quarantined upon entering Australia, equestrian events took place in Sweden later in the year. Other Olympic moments from the 1956 games:

  • East and West Germany competed as a unified team, with “Ode to Joy” from Beethoven’s IX Symphony as their anthem.
  • First games to experience a boycott: Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, People’s Republic of China
  • First time athletes paraded together (not by country) in closing ceremony.

1960 – Rome

The 1960 games allowed Italy to show off its rich history by holding events in ancient places, like the wrestling competition in the Basilica of Maxentius. Other moments:

  • Ethiopian runner Abebe Bikila set himself apart not only by winning the marathon, but by doing so barefoot.
  • US Boxer Cassius Marcellus Clay won the light-heavyweight gold medal. He would later be known as Muhammad Ali.

1964 – Tokyo

1964 was the first time the Olympic games were held in Asia, and the torch carrier was specifically chosen because he was born the day the the atomic bomb exploded in Hiroshima. Here’s more:

  • Last time official timing was done by hand stopwatch.
  • Abebe Bikila had a second marathon win, making him the first ever to do so.
  • Soviet gymnast Larysa Latynina brought her medal total to an impressive 18.

1968 – Mexico City

Its high altitude made Mexico City an interesting choice for the games. While it actually helped events like throwing and weightlifting, participants in endurance events had a harder time.

  • A woman lights the Olympic torch for the first time.
  • High altitude attributed to broken records in long and triple jump.
  • Czech gymnast Vera Caslavska defeated Soviet gymnasts just 2 months after the USSR invaded her country.

1972 – Munich

From the official Olympic website:

On 5 September, eight Palestinian terrorists broke into the Olympic Village, killing two members of the Israeli team and taking nine hostages. In the ensuing battle, all nine Israeli hostages were killed, as were five of the terrorists and one policeman. In defiance of the terrorists, the IOC ordered the competitions to resume after a pause of 34 hours.

Obviously, the above events overshadowed all other aspects of these games, but here are some highlights:

  • Debut of men’s indoor handball, slalom canoeing and kayaking.
  • US swimmer Mark Spitz broke 7 world records and secured 7 gold medals.
  • Soviet gymnast Olga Korbut dominated media attention with up and down performances.

1976 – Montreal

In 1976, 22 African countries participated in a boycott of the games, protesting the New Zealand rugby team’s tour of apartheid South Africa.  Other moments include:

  • First time for women’s basketball, rowing and team handball.
  • The Japanese women’s volleyball team sailed through, winning every match in straight sets.
  • Nadia Comaneci of Romania received an unprecedented perfect 10.0 for her performance on the uneven bars.

1980 – Moscow

Because of a US led boycott to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, only 80 countries competed. Here are some other items:

  • Russian gymnast Aleksandr Dityatin became the first person to win 8 medals in one Olympic games.
  • Because of the boycott, Russia’s field hockey team was the only one left to compete. A week before the games, Zimbabwe assembled a team and, surprisingly, ended up winning.
  • Super-heavyweight Teófilo Stevenson of Cuba was the first boxer to win the same division three times.

Your Olympic Moments

We’ve talked about how you can entertain yourself at home during the Coronavirus, but catching up on memorable Olympic moments could fill many hours. We’d love to know your favorites! You can join the conversation over on our Facebook page.

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6 Positive Reasons Aging in Cohousing Can Be Valuable for Seniors

shschesterfieldcountyva 29 Jun 2020

Aging in Cohousing - pic from the Golden GirlsHow many times, as young adults, did we joke with a friend about hanging out until we were old? I know I’ve done that with a friend… if her husband and mine both go before we do, we’ll move in together and conquer the world ourselves. All joking aside, more and more seniors have chosen this path as the way to go. It’s called Aging in Cohousing, and the classic TV show “The Golden Girls” showed exactly how it can work.

What is Aging in Cohousing?

When seniors (particularly those who are not related to one another) decide to move in together to share life and expenses, we call it aging in cohousing. One article described it as “college-style living, minus the keg stands.” Sounds fun, right? But there are more advantages to this style of living than just fun. Let’s explore some reasons why this may be the perfect solution for you or your senior loved one.

Reason 1: Loneliness

With the recent pandemic causing people, particularly seniors, to feel isolated during quarantine, many seniors and their families now realize that having a roommate around all the time can help prevent this problem. Since you and your roommate live in the same household, you would quarantine together and be able to keep each other company. If the person gets on your nerves, you can always go to your own space and close the door for some alone time. Even in normal times, apart from quarantine, you would have others around to stave off loneliness.

Reason 2: Finances

You or your senior loved one may be at a point where living alone is no longer safe but a long-term facility is not yet necessary. Since facilities cost so much, aging in cohousing can save money while providing a safer alternative to living alone. Most of the time, you and your roommate split expenses you already paid where you lived before, causing you to pay less. This allows you to save money for if you come to the point where you need to live in a facility with a higher level of care.

Reason 3: Physical and Cognitive Health

In the same article referenced above, a gentlemen who works to foster community for seniors commented, “We reserve isolation for our worst criminals.” Yet so many seniors in long-term care facilities experience nothing but isolation. They spend so much time alone in their rooms that their physical and cognitive health suffers as a result.

When you have a community of friends aging in cohousing, you tend to participate in life together. These activities keep the body and mind active, allowing for better all around health. Housemates can encourage one another to get out and do things or even have activities at home. An active body and mind is a much healthier body and mind.

Reason 4: Independence

Seniors have a hard time surrendering their independence, and with good reason. Sharing a house in retirement allows them to cling to that feeling that they don’t have to rely on others as much. If even one of the residents is able to drive, all housemates feel less like they have to rely on family for every little thing. In short, they feel as though they still have their own lives.

Reason 5: Safety

There’s an old saying that there’s safety in numbers. Safety remains one of the top reasons people must move out of their homes into a different situation. When seniors share living arrangements, safety becomes less of a factor. In case of an accident or emergency, someone is always there, even if only to call for help. You don’t have to worry about your senior falling and staying that way for an extended period of time before someone finds them.

Reason 6: Extended Family

Lastly, when seniors share living arrangements, it extends their families. What does that mean? Your roommates’ families become your family, too. On one hand, you benefit when anyone’s family come to visit. It’s almost like you all have more grandchildren, and they get to have more grandparents! On the other hand, this provides more resources to help in emergencies or to run errands. I know that if my parents lived in this kind of situation and I ran errands for them, I would certainly be happy to address the needs of others in the house, as well. In situations like the pandemic, families could rotate grocery shopping and other errands for the safety of all in the house.

Aging in Cohousing Experience

Do you know of anyone who successfully shares housing with friends in their retirement years? We’d love to hear your experiences! If you think you’re ready to try doing this with yourself or a loved one, we found a great starter’s guide for a Golden Girls home to get you going. You can tell us all about it in the comments or over on our Facebook page. We can’t wait to hear about it!

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How to Deal with Pandemic: A Guide for Seniors (part 3)

shschesterfieldcountyva 01 Jun 2020

Inscription COVID-19 on blue background. World Health Organization WHO introduced new official name for Coronavirus disease named COVID-19It feels like this whole shelter-in-place thing has lasted forever, doesn’t it? Students have now been out of school for the equivalent of an entire summer break. Here in central Virginia, summer has not actually even started! In fact, kids will have spent a full 6 months between their last day of in person school and the first day in the fall. And that assumes that they will even go back in a “normal” way this September. While most seniors don’t have to deal with students in school, the whole situation presents its own set of challenges for older members of our community. So far, we’ve talked about embracing technology to stay in touch and cultural opportunities to keep yourself occupied while at home. This post will focus more on protecting yourself, even as localities loosen stay-at-home orders.

Protect Yourself from Scams

First, seniors need to be aware of those trying to scam them during this time. Sadly, seniors tend to be targeted more often by scammers, and the pandemic has giving them more opportunity to try and take advantage. For this reason, seniors cannot let down their guard. According to Senior Living, scams include fake charities, people posing as government agencies, and more. The FTC recommends the following steps for seniors when making decisions during this time:

  • Take your time. Don’t allow yourself to be rushed into any decisions.
  • Check it out. Research any organizations or individuals who contact you.
  • Talk to others. Run any decisions past a trusted friend or loved one before acting.
  • Stay informed. Sign up for Consumer Alerts through the FTC.
  • Report suspicious behavior. You can report any scams that present themselves to the FTC at this link.

We’ve prepared this image that you can send to loved ones or share on social media to keep them informed. You can click the image to view a larger version.

How Seniors can protect themselves from scams during COVID-19

Protect Your Health

With many states, including Virginia, easing orders to stay home, it can be tempting to feel like the threat has passed. Remember: Seniors are among the most at risk for complications and death from Covid-19. Here are a few things to remember.

Safer at Home

While the governor has moved the entire state into phase one of the reopening process, he has still clearly stated that Virginians are safer at home. This holds especially true for those who are older or have underlying health issues. Right now, you should continue to stay home as much as possible and allow friends or loved ones to run errands for you. The less time you spend in public, the less likely you are to contract the disease.

Wear a Mask

If you must go out, wear a mask or appropriate face covering. Controversy over this has reared its ugly head, but if it has even a little chance of keeping you or a loved one safe, it’s worth it. As of May 29, the Virginia governor has mandated that anyone going to an indoor public place wear a mask.

Stay Informed

While social media serves as a great tool to stay in touch with loved ones, it may not be the best tool right now for reliable information. Make sure that the news you consume comes from reliable sources.

Seniors Helping Seniors Greater Richmond remains committed to being a reliable source of information and assistance for your family. If you need any help caring for your aging loved one during this time, we urge you to contact us.

The post How to Deal with Pandemic: A Guide for Seniors (part 3) appeared first on Seniors Helping Seniors.

How to Deal with Pandemic: A Guide for Seniors (Part 2)

shschesterfieldcountyva 30 Apr 2020

Inscription COVID-19 on blue background. World Health Organization WHO introduced new official name for Coronavirus disease named COVID-19Here in Virginia, we’ve been at home for well over a month. The last day of school for most schools was March 12 or 13, and students will not go back this year. In addition to the health and logistical complications, this situation presents an obvious mental health toll. In our last post, we outlined some ways to stay connected instead of feeling so isolated. Today, we continue that series with guarding your mental health.

Virtual Performances

We’ve discussed the need to embrace technology during this time in order to stay connected. There are so many other ways to use available technology to pass the time and keep yourself sane! For example, many cultural organizations have made performances available online, often at no charge. Here are some examples:

Regardless of your taste in entertainment, you can find something to enjoy at almost any time.

Learn Something New

Online College

In addition to enjoying cultural events online, there are more opportunities than ever to take classes online. Do you have a subject you’d like to explore? Many colleges and universities offer free online classes for seniors. You can earn a degree or simply take a class in something that interests you.

Learn a Hobby

What’s something you’ve always wanted to be able to do? Maybe you’d like to learn to knit, sew, craft, paint, or play an instrument. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to learn another language or cook a specific dish. Seniors can learn to do almost anything online. The great thing about video courses? If you don’t get something right away, you can rewind and watch again! Here’s a list of 5 skills and hobbies seniors can learn online right now.

Stay Active

It’s no secret that one of the best ways to guard your mental health is to eat well and stay active. You don’t need technology for this. Take a walk. Go outside. If you are able, go sit on your porch and breathe in the fresh air.

If getting outside doesn’t work for you, whatever the reason, find an online exercise class for seniors. Many of them require only sitting in a chair. This Senior Fitness website offers free videos for those of all abilities. So many possibilities!

Weigh In!

We’d love to hear what you are doing to stay sane during this quarantine! You can visit our Facebook page to join the discussion.

The post How to Deal with Pandemic: A Guide for Seniors (Part 2) appeared first on Seniors Helping Seniors.

How to Deal With Pandemic: A Guide for Seniors (Part 1)

shschesterfieldcountyva 31 Mar 2020

Inscription COVID-19 on blue background. World Health Organization WHO introduced new official name for Coronavirus disease named COVID-19You can’t go anywhere right now without hearing about the current COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus. Really, you can’t go anywhere. At all. Now that the governor has issued a stay at home order through June 10, we wanted to help you with some ideas to cope. Obviously, you should pay attention to and heed advice from the CDC about guarding your physical health. Their advice for older adults includes everything you’ve heard before about social distancing. This is not that kind of post. We want to help you feel less isolated and guard your mental health during this time.

Mental Health for Seniors During COVID-19

As an older American, you’ve probably already been social distancing for a while to safeguard your health. Unfortunately, cutting yourself off from loved ones and normal activities takes a toll on your mental health. You know it’s for the best, but feelings of isolation can still get the best of you. Here are some ideas to help.

Part 1: Embrace Technology

Now is not the time to resist emerging technology. Social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, help you feel more connected with the ability to view pictures and see what loved ones have going on. Other products include Facetime and cell phone conferencing help keep you connected.

Many have started using platforms like Zoom to video conference with family and loved ones. You can find all kinds of tutorials for using this free software, even some specifically designed for seniors. You don’t have to have an account to chat with someone who invites you, but you can easily create a free account and host meetings yourself. The app Caribu offers another option to talk to children, particularly those who are younger. In many cases, seniors and small children find it difficult to have something to talk about. With this app, both users can color a picture or play a game while they talk about what they are doing.

Since schools are out all over the country, this also presents a great opportunity to help your grandchildren review concepts. You can read an age appropriate book together, if you have one. Other ideas include asking parents for sight words or math concepts the child needs to review. Then make some flashcards and have a little virtual learning time! Students (and parents) enjoy this because it puts a new face to the learning process and keeps them from getting bored doing the same activities with their parents. Look how much fun this grandmother is having reviewing words with different beginning sounds with her granddaughter!

Grandmother using Zoom to review word families with Kindergarten student

Stay Tuned

Since we seem to be in this for the long haul, stay tuned here and on our Facebook page for more on how seniors can cope during this unexpected time.

The post How to Deal With Pandemic: A Guide for Seniors (Part 1) appeared first on Seniors Helping Seniors.

Senior Cell Phone Addiction: The Importance of “Being Present”

shschesterfieldcountyva 28 Feb 2020

Senior Cell Phone Addiction: senior man texting message on smartphone in cityWhat do you think of when someone talks about being present? You may picture a box with a bow on it, but that’s not the kind of present we mean. This kind of present means being in the moment… really experiencing your surroundings and taking it all in. With the invention of cell phones and tablets, really being present becomes more difficult. Whether it’s with social media, email, games, news, or a host of other distractions, we constantly pay more attention to our devices than to our surroundings. Regardless of age, most people experience this distraction at some point. What if it’s your senior who can’t stop looking at electronics? Senior cell phone addiction is a growing problem, and we’re here to help.

A Growing Trend

Considering that those who own cell phones grew to 2.7 billion people in 2019, it shouldn’t surprise us that cell phone ownership has grown in seniors, as well. In 2016, roughly 4 of every 10 seniors used smartphones. That number more than doubled in comparison to seniors in 2013, just 3 years before.

It’s no wonder that cell phone popularity has grown. Look how much you can do with them! Seniors can use them to call loved ones, video chat, see pictures of grandchildren, access social media, and so much more. In addition, they are a handy way to keep up with news and sharpen the mind with puzzles and brain training games.

Effects of Senior Cell Phone Addiction

When does something positive become harmful? While so many parts of cell phone usage provide positive experiences for seniors, it’s always possible to have too much of a good thing. Here are some of the effects senior cell phone addiction can have:

Slowed Reaction Time

First of all, too much screen time in seniors results in a slowed reaction time. Since cognitive ability gradually declines as we age anyway, the addition of delayed reactions because of cell phone usage could be catastrophic.

Mental Health

When seniors (or anyone, for that matter) spend more time looking at screens than interacting with others, it can cause depression. Since these adults are at a time in their lives where they are more prone to mental illness, too much cell phone usage can drive them deeper into that hole.

Not Enjoying Experiences

We’ve all been out and about and seen people too focused on their phones to enjoy what they were doing. When seniors spend family time or other activities glued to a screen, they rob themselves (and their loved ones) of memories that could become favorites. At the end of life, nobody ever says they wish they’d spent more time on a cell phone.

Signs of Senior Cell Phone Addiction

The signs of cell phone addiction in seniors greatly resemble those in other adults. If you notice that your senior loved one does any of the following, it may be time for a conversation:

  • Withdraws from family and friends
  • Has difficulty completing tasks
  • Compulsively checks phone
  • Tries to conceal cell phone usage
  • Panics when phone is left at home

Tons of sites exist to help with breaking smartphone addiction. Chances are good that your loved one realizes that a problem exists. By learning triggers of checking the phone and limiting its use, he or she can eliminate senior cell phone addiction.

The post Senior Cell Phone Addiction: The Importance of “Being Present” appeared first on Seniors Helping Seniors.

Looking Back: Comparing Centuries

shschesterfieldcountyva 11 Feb 2020

blue circle. mark on the calendar at 25.As we mark the beginning of 2020, we thought it would be fun to compare the first 20 years of the 20th century to the first 20 years of this one. Enjoy as we take a look!

A lot has changed over the last 100 years. Seniors today live in a world that is totally different than their parents. The beginning of the 20th century, from 1990-1920 was the height of the industrial revolution. Modern factors were created and the idea of production efficiency was developed. Most people lived in rural areas and on farms. Today, the world is dominated by large, urban areas, and the family farm has quickly faded into history. Technology dominates everything.

20th Century

Jazz was the music of the early 20th century. Ragtime jazz started in New Orleans and eventually spread across the country. By the mid-1910s, jazz dominated the clubs in New York and Chicago. How people listed to music also changed. Edison invented the phonograph in the late 1800s, but its widespread use did not happen until the early 20th century. By 1913, the device started to use discs rather than cylinders to play back sounds. Radios also became more common, but did not have widespread usage until the 1920s.

The early 20th century also saw several other major inventions. The first Model T car came off the assembly line in 1908. Between 1908 and 1927, Ford build some 15 million Model T cars, and the invention revolutionized transportation. Sonar was invented 1916, and Wright Brothers recorded the first flight in 1903. Shipping transportation was completely changed with the completion of the Panama Canal.

The world saw its first world war, which happened between 1914 and 1918. It’s estimated that 9 million soldiers died and 7 million civilians were killed during the conflict. The war completely changed the scope and way wars were fought.

21st Century

The 21 Century saw the electronic revolution and a major terrorist attack. On Sept. 11, 2001, two commercial airlines hit the World Trade Centers in New York and the building crumbled to the ground. That led the United States to enter conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, struggles that continue today in one form or another.

Music in the early 21st century has been dominated by technology and dance. Popular musicians have been the Black Eyed Peas, Eminem, Taylor Swift, Adele, Backstreet Boys, Carrie Underwood, Nickelback and Norah Jones. The music industry has also been radically altered by technology. The record and DVD were the primary way that music was sold during the second half of the 20th century. The invention of streaming over the Internet and the MP3 played changed how music was transmitted.

Since 2000, the Internet has become a mainstream commodity. Rather than getting news and entertainment through television, radio and newspapers, people can access information through websites and social media. Anyone can publish information and potentially reach millions of people. Movies are streamed through the Internet rather than on DVD or VHS tapes, the primary form in the later part of the 20th century.

Cell phones went from a mobile way to call people to small computers with a camera. The camera phone was invented in 2000 and today, and some estimated says that 100 million people use an iPhone on a daily basis.

Hybrid and electric vehicle have radically transformed the auto industry. The Toyota Prius came to the United States in 2001 and now hybrid and electric vehicles are one of the fastest growing segments of the auto industry. Tesla Motors was founded 2003, and now an estimated 1 million electric vehicles are on the road in the United States.

Some of the major historical events of the last 20 years include Hurricane Katrina, the Virginia Tech shooting, the Gulf oil spill and the election of the first black president. The break up of the European Union started with the passage of a referendum in 2016 and continues today with Brexit.

What will the next 100 years be? Nobody can say, but the world will look nothing like the what we have today.

The post Looking Back: Comparing Centuries appeared first on Seniors Helping Seniors.

Why Should Seniors Reconnect with Those from Their Past?

shschesterfieldcountyva 13 Jan 2020

Old woman working on laptop computer at home - reconnecting with loved onesDuring retirement, it’s easily to become isolated. You don’t have the structure of a job and as many reasons for leaving the house. In fact, a recent University of North Carolina study found that 43 percent of seniors surveyed felt lonely. That is not good for your health. When you feel lonely and isolated, you are more likely to become depressed and experience chronic health problems. That can lead to the inability to age in place and having to live in a nursing home.

A great way to feel less isolated is by reconnecting with people. You can reach out to old co-workers, classmates and others and develop new social avenues. It’s a great way to be able to get out of the house and engage in social situations. Here are a few tips on how to reconnect with people:

Keep it Simple

When trying to reconnect with someone, you want to keep it simple. You don’t want to overwhelm the person. When you reach out, you want to make them feel comfortable. You don’t want to dwell on problems that you and the other person may have had in the past. Instead, you want to engage them on a level that is easy and non-threatening. The goal is to be social and not make thing overly complicated.

Be Honest

You need to be honest about your motivation. If you’re struggling to find quality human interactions, let the person know. You don’t want to pretend that everything is perfect. You want to be upfront about your current status and the reasons you are reaching out. If it was that you were thinking about them the other day, then say that. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but the initial conversation needs to be genuine.

Make Actual Plans

Once you have connected with a person, you want to make actual plans. If you don’t make plans, you will miss out on the benefits of face-to-face interactions. If they live close, that might mean dinner or a cup of coffee. On the other hand, if the person lives out of the area, you could set a time for a video call or book a plane flight. You have to make the initiative to build the connection. It will not happen without some effort.

Be Patient

A solid relationship doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time for a friendship to grow. You have to be patient and give it time to develop. It’s like a flower. You plant the seed. Then you water it and sun beams down on it. Over time, the flower grows and blooms. A relationship is no different.

Use Social Media

Have you lost the contact information for an old friend or relative? Social media can be a great way to track them down. There are a variety of ways to search for a friend on social media. You can reach the person by using his or her name and location. You can also try through mutual connections. And reaching out on social media is really easy. You just send a message through the messaging system within the social media platform.

Find Lost Relatives on Ancestry.com

Another great way to connect with people is through ancestry.com. You might have cousins or aunts and uncles that you have never meet, and ancestry.com contains a wealth of information about your family history. Once you create a profile, you create a family tree. The system helps you locate relatives within your family tree who are also on ancestry.com. You can connect with them through the system. It’s a great way to grow your social connections within your family. And usually, other people on ancestry.com are looking to meet other relatives as well.

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The Importance of Senior Volunteering

shschesterfieldcountyva 09 Dec 2019

Happy senior volunteering separating donations stuffs on a sunny dayThe senior population in the United States is growing. Today, there are more than 46 million older adults age 65 and older in the U.S. By 2050, that number is expected to grow to almost 90 million. At the same time, the percentage of seniors who are volunteering is declining.  Around 24 percent of people 65 years of age and older volunteered in 2011, but now around 23 percent volunteer.

The trend comes at a time when a growing body of evidence demonstrates the benefits of volunteering. It’s a great way to be engaged with your community and remain active.

Ways for Seniors to Volunteer

If you are interested in volunteering, there are lots of opportunities. A good place to start is with organizations and topics that interest you. Perhaps you are concerned about foster children or you want to help animals. You can use Google to find organizations that work with these types of groups. Most of these organizations have websites with volunteer sections. You just fill out the form and a volunteer coordinator will contact you.  You can also pick up the phone and call them directly.

Also, a database of volunteering opportunities has been compiled by HandsOn Greater Richmond. You can search by your particular interest or type of volunteering opportunity and the database will search for a match. You then reach out to the organization. The process is simple and straightforward and an easy way to get connected with a nonprofit.

What are the Benefits of Volunteering?

1. Volunteering Helps Bridge the Generation Gap

A lot of seniors do not have contact with younger generations. They only communicate with people their own age. A key benefit of volunteering is the ability to bridge the generational gap and have conversations with younger people. That contact can be through the type of volunteering activity, but also through the organization. Many times younger people are the volunteer coordinators at nonprofits and will direct the volunteers. Through the volunteer experience, you will be able to learn about the desires and needs of the younger generation.

2. Volunteering Aids in Mental Health

According to a recent study, 6 million Americans ages 65 and older suffer from some form of depression. Volunteering is the perfect way to stay engaged with people, and research has shown that volunteering helps a person’s mental health. A recent study of Senior Corps volunteers found that 65 percent of volunteers reported fewer signs of depression and anxiety after one year.

3. Volunteering Promotes Physical Activity

Seniors often lack physical activity, and that can lead to health problems. A volunteering opportunity can enhance physical activity. A volunteering position gets you out of the house and moving. You can get much needed physical activity to improve your physical fitness and physical activity.

4. Volunteering Makes you Feel Happy

Besides the benefit of helping others, volunteering can make you happy. For example, a recent study by Wharton College found that people who volunteer feel more useful, capable and confident. Through volunteering, you focus on what you can accomplish rather than your declining abilities as you age. In general, people who freely give their time are happier.

5. Volunteering can Help Prevent Dementia

One of the key ways to prevent dementia is by keeping the mind and body active. Volunteering keeps the mind stimulated and the body active. A recent study in the journal Neurology found that people who are physically active reduced their risk of dementia and stroke by 53%. You can find a volunteer activity that matches your current physical ability and keeps you active.

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What Can Seniors Do at National Parks?

shschesterfieldcountyva 04 Nov 2019

National Parks Service LogoAs a senior, you have the time to travel and explore the world. You can visit new places and see amazing things. One overlooked area to explore is the country’s National Parks system. The National Park system was created in 1916 and is a crown jewel. Today, the system has 419 parks covering more than 85 million acres. A national park exists in all 50 states. Some are large parks like Yellowstone or Yosemite, but others are smaller battlefields and historic sites.

There are a wealth of opportunities for seniors at the nation’s National Parks. You should take the time to see what the National Parks have to offer.

Lifetime Pass

The federal government offers a Senior Pass to anyone 62 years of age or older. The pass is $80. It is non-refundable or transferable but is good for the rest of your life. The pass will get you into all of the properties managed by the National Park Service, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation US Forest Service and US Army Corps of Engineers. That’s a total of over 2,000 properties.

With the pass you can begin the process of exploring the National Park system. You will see the beauty and wonder that makes these pieces of property worth preserving.

Consider Volunteering

The Park Service is always looking for people who are interested in volunteering, and retired people make up a large percentage of the volunteer workforce. Volunteers staff visitor centers, run special events, do trail maintenance and are camp hosts. The work is as varied and diverse as the national park system itself. You start by identifying a park you want to volunteer at and research the opportunities. Here’s a list of volunteer opportunities.

Work for the Park Service

If you really want to get involved in National Park Service, you can apply for a job. In fact, over half of the workforce within the National Park system is over the age of 50. It’s usually seasonal work, and the pay isn’t extremely high. But it’s a great way to stay active and engaged with people. You can work in a concession stand or give an information talk. Often housing is providing during the summer tourist season, so you get to live in the park. More information is at https://www.nps.gov/aboutus/workwithus.htm.

Explore a Trail

Even if you don’t want to work or volunteer, there are still plenty of opportunities to explore the National Park system. You can take a walk along a trail, for example. The difficulty levels vary and many of the trails are paved and easily accessible. Besides getting a workout, you can also gain mental health benefits from hiking on trail. A recent survey found that 75% of respondents reported reduced stress levels while outdoors, and 63% believe outdoor activities would increase their lifespan.

Get Your National Parks Passport Stamped

The National Park system offers passport books. Much like an international passport, you get the passport stamped when you visit a national park. Most of the more than 400 National Parks offer a stamp to visitors. The stamp will have the date you visited the park and the name of the park. You can use it to keep track of all the places that you visited.

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6 Benefits of Seniors Volunteering in Schools

shschesterfieldcountyva 04 Oct 2019

Knowledge day. Back to school and home schooling. Kid is learning in class on background of blackboard. Microbiology science. My Microbiology experiment

Historically, parents were student volunteers. A parent would volunteer to serve on the PTA or would help out in the classroom. It is a way for parents to be more connected to their child’s school.

Now, the scope of school volunteers has expanded. As the population has aged and large numbers of baby boomers have retired, school systems are increasingly tapping into seniors as a resource for schools. Older volunteers bring a lifetime of experience and can add a lively dynamic to the classroom. Volunteering in a classroom can also benefit seniors in a multitude of ways including:

1. Preventing isolation and depression

Senior living can often be isolating, which can lead to depression. According a recent survey, six m

illion Americans 65 years and older have reported some form of depression. Retirement means a lack of routine and limited reasons for getting out of the house each day. Volunteering at a school gives you a way to connect with the community and limits your chances of feeling isolated. You are part of a dynamic institution.

2. Connecting with others

Children love connecting with older people. Older people can be easier to talk with than a child’s peers or parents, and volunteering at a school gives you the chance of connecting with a child. This can be especially true for under-privileged children, who often need solid adult role models. You can help students with their homework, or you might be asked to read a story to a classroom.

The senior will also be part of a school system and can interact and connect with teachers and staff at the school. It’s just another way that you can be connected with the larger school community.

3. Sharing experiences with a younger generation

As a senior, you have lived a long, valuable life, and you can impart some of that wisdom to a younger generation. Volunteering at a school is a great way to interact with children and give them life lessons. You can tell them about mistakes that you made or talk about some great adventure. You can pass on valuable information that will benefits young people.

4. Good for the body

Studies have shown that not only is volunteering in your senior years beneficial mentally, there is growing body of evidence that it can increase your health and prolong your life. Studies have shown a strong correlation with lower blood pressure and improved cardiovascular health when someone volunteers. In a Carnegie Mellon study, 200 hours of volunteering per year correlated to lower blood pressure.

Volunteering at a school also keeps you physically active. You have to keep up with young people, and that can keep your bones and joints in optimal health. You will remain physically fit if you volunteer at a school.

5. Improving self-esteem

Self-esteem is important for everyone but especially as a senior. Volunteering at a school is a great way to improve your self-esteem. You will get compliments from the children and the teachers. You will have a sense of purpose when you volunteer and will have meaningful interactions with other people.

6. Learning new skills

If you volunteer at a school, you might learn new skills. You might be asked to do something new and could gain a valuable insight. Volunteering can be an opportunity to be exposed to be new things and new ideas. You might find that you enjoy something and want to further pursue it. Schools are a place of learning, and you might find it to be a place that opens up a whole new world.

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4 Ways Seniors Can Be Prepared for Disaster

shschesterfieldcountyva 09 Sep 2019

Disaster plan on notepadDisasters are reality in this day and age. According to recent data, the number of significant disasters, where at least 10 people were killed, has been rising steadily since the 1970s. For example, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 caused an estimated $200 billion in damage and is considered the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history.

Unfortunately, older Americans are usually not prepared for a natural disaster. A 2014 study by the University of Iowa College found that less than 25% of older adults have a plan for how they’ll handle a natural disaster. Many older Americans are overly confident that services personnel can provide assistance during a natural disaster. Oftentimes, that is not possible, as emergency service personnel can be over capacity during a natural disaster.

Here are some tips on how to prepare for a disaster:

1. Compile important information

When a natural disaster hits, you want to be able to provide information to the relevant people quickly. Often, you do not have the ability to access important records once the disaster starts, such any information that might be on a computer. To begin preparing for a natural disaster you need to have a folder with all the relevant information and keep it is an easily accessible place.

The list might include the following:

  • Contact information of family and friends
  • Types and dosages for medications
  • Contact information for doctors
  • Address and phone number of pharmacy
  • Specific care instructions
  • Blood type
  • Photocopies of identification documents like passport and social security card
  • Personal care assistance plan if an elderly person work with a home health agency

2. Create a disaster preparedness kit

You also need the necessary supplies if a disaster hits, just in case you are trapped in your home. That means you need to assemble a disaster preparedness kit. The kit should contain as much as a week’s worth of supplies and be easily accessible. It should be organized and put together in a backpack or duffel bag. In other words, it needs to be something that can be moved quickly and easily. The elder person might even consider putting something on wheels if carry the kit is burdensome.

When putting together a disaster preparedness kit, a place to start is a great guide by the Red Cross called “DISASTER PREPAREDNESS For Seniors By Seniors.

A disaster preparedness kit should contain the following:

  • Food (preferably canned and dry food that do not need to be refrigerated.)
  • Water
  • Some basic tools
  • Battery powered or solar radio
  • Food for pets
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Solar cell phone charger
  • Emergency blanket
  • Cash and coins
  • Whistle

3. Establish a support network

During a storm, communication can be a challenge. That means you need to establish a support network. This is group of people who are called into action when a disaster hits. To start the process, you create of a natural disaster plan. The plan starts with how everyone in the network will be evacuated before a disaster hits. It then goes into contingency options once the disaster hits. In other words, the plan establishes the procedures to follow in the event of a disaster for everyone in the network.

4. Get weather alerts

The key to a disaster is staying aware, and that means being alerted about the potential of natural disasters. You can do this in a variety of ways. NOAA sends out alerts to local television and radio stations during a natural disaster and mobile phone have the ability to receive disaster alerts. As well, many local televisions send out text alerts about whether. The Federal Emergency Management Agency even has an app. that can be download. The key is finding a way to stay informed.

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Resources for Elder Care and Aging

shschesterfieldcountyva 26 Jul 2019

Modern flat design concept of recruiting. Website header of landing page template. Employer, businessman resources, hr job presentation. Vector illustrationWhether it’s you or a loved one, the aging process is daunting. Where do you turn for help? What legal resources are there? What if someone tries to take advantage of you or a loved one? The good news is that you are not alone. There are people out there who can help. Here at Seniors Helping Seniors Greater Richmond, we will try to steer you in the right direction and help you find the answers you need. We also have a resources page with links to all kinds of organizations that can help. When we find new links and organizations, we’ll add them on that page.

To help you find everything you need, we’re reprinting it here on this page. If you have any questions, we hope you will contact us! Here’s the Resources Rundown:

General Information

American Bar Association-Commission on Law and Aging Elder law resources in your area.
American Society on Aging Advocates for those who are aging and their caregivers.
Brookdale Center on Aging The largest multidisciplinary gerontology center in the Northeast.
ElderNet A senior’s online guide to health, housing, legal services, financial services, retirement, lifestyle, news, and entertainment.
ElderWeb Virtual community of computer-using older adults.
Senior Com This online community provides senior-oriented products, services, information, and entertainment.
SeniorLink Access to elder-care professionals, programs, helpers, facilities, and agencies.
Senior Resource Housing and lifestyle choices, as well as how to plan and pay for them.
Senior Sites A listing of non-profit helpers for senior housing, healthcare, and services.
Third Age Topic areas include health care, computers, retirement, investing, caregiving, travel, news, grandparenting, and much more.

Federal, State, & Local Government

Administration on Aging Information for older persons, their families, and those concerned about enriching the lives of the elderly.
Healthy Aging for Older Adults Helpful information on a wide range of health issues faced by older adults.
Social Security Online The official website of the Social Security Administration.

Health & Medical

Alzheimer’s Association The leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support, and research.
Healthfinder Information to help you and your loved ones live well and stay healthy.
Medline The world’s most extensive collection of published medical information, coordinated by the National Library of Medicine.
NIH Health Information Page Health and wellness information for older adults from the National Institutes of Health.

Caregiving

Caregivers Resources An extensive online library for caregivers that includes articles, reports, links, and more.
National Caregiving Organizations A list of organizations that exist to help caregivers.
Family Caregiver Alliance/National Center on Caregiving An online source of information, support, and resources for family caregivers of adults with chronic, physical, or cognitive conditions.
National Alliance for Caregiving Advancing family caregiving through research, innovation, and advocacy.
National Caregiving Foundation An organization concerned about the problems, the worries, and the sadness that can affect caregivers.
National Family Caregivers Association The Caregiver Action Network serves a broad spectrum of family caregivers ranging from the parents of children with special needs, to the families and friends of wounded soldiers; from a young couple dealing with a diagnosis of MS, to adult children caring for parents with Alzheimer’s disease.

Assistive Technology

Deafworks Products for the deaf and hard of hearing.
HomeMods.org Resources on home modifications intended to make performing tasks easier, to reduce accidents, and to support independent living.

Books of Interest

Elder Rage How to survive caring for aging parents. A Book-Of-The-Month Club Selection.

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BIG NEWS from Seniors Helping Seniors

shschesterfieldcountyva 28 Jun 2019

We’ve had a lot going on in the background of Seniors Helping Seniors, and we’re ready to share our big news with you!

Drumroll please…

drumroll

We are expanding!

Seniors Helping Seniors Chesterfield is changing its name to Seniors Helping Seniors Greater Richmond. In addition to the amazing service we’ve always provided to Chesterfield County, we’ll also serve the following areas in Greater Richmond:

  • Richmond
  • Short Pump
  • Henrico
  • Glen Allen
  • Tuckahoe
  • Goochland
  • Hanover / Ashland

news microphoneStay Tuned

Our website address will be changing, but not to worry. If you type in the old one, it will automagically (see what we did there?) forward you to the new one. We’ll also be combining some things over on Facebook, so be sure to look in over there and see what exciting things our new page will have in store.

As always, we thank you for the trust you have placed in us to care for your loved ones, and we’re really excited to be expanding our services and reaching more people. If you have any questions at all, please reach out!

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Tom’s Story

shschesterfieldcountyva 04 Jun 2019

Playing dominoes on a light background . The concept of the game of dominoes. Close up.Tom and his wife were in good health and doing well until a stroke changed everything for them. With a loss in Tom’s speech and mobility and no family in the area, his wife faced the task of caring for him and managing their household on her own. Since their son lived in the Richmond area, they moved to Chesterfield to have the support and companionship of nearby family in May 2017. Tom and his wife enjoy a community with other seniors and love what the area has to offer.

Tom and Seniors Helping Seniors

Even with family closer, Tom’s wife needed a little additional help some days. They learned about Seniors Helping Seniors through the Internet and decided to contact them. It’s not safe for Tom to stay at home alone, so SHS provides a caregiver to come once a week. This provides his wife an opportunity to run errands, get her hair done, attend appointments, or anything else she may need to do. They have had several caregivers, each of whom has bonded with Tom. He enjoys their companionship and particularly enjoys playing dominoes with them.

Here’s what Tom’s family has to say about SHS:

It is important for us to know that my dad is happy and safe when my mom is not around. He has been spoiled by the exceptional care that my mom gives him, but they both deserve a little time apart once in a while. My mom would not leave him in the hands of anyone that she did not feel comfortable with. She is pleased with the caregivers, so we know he must be in good hands.

I think it is important for families to know that they have options when a loved one needs additional care. SHS offers support which can make a big difference for an aging loved one as well as the family. When my mom first met Lurene she immediately had the right feeling that this was the company for them. Lurene arranged for them to meet the caregivers prior to the start of service to make sure that it was a match. And it was!

We are so thankful that Tom is part of the Seniors Helping Seniors family!

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Roberta’s Story

shschesterfieldcountyva 30 Apr 2019

WASHINGTON DC, USA - SEP 24, 2015: Korean War Veterans Memorial, West Potomac Park, Washington, D.C. Korean was from 1950 til 1953.
Korean War Veterans Memorial

Relationships are at the core of everything we do here at Seniors Helping Seniors. Here’s a story from Roberta, a family member of a gentleman we helped. In her own words:

Roberta’s Dad

My father, Bob, had lived in Chesterfield County most of his adult life, and my husband and I moved to Chesterfield after living in the Northern Virginia area for 38 years. My father had lost his second wife and was having health issues – prostate cancer and dementia.

When we had to ask my father not to drive anymore is when we started looking for outside support so he could remain in his home for as long as possible. A hospice coordinator recommended Seniors Helping Seniors. Our need was to have a man take my father to breakfast two or three days a week to get him out of the house.

Seniors Helping Seniors’ Role

Lurene Reck met with us and went over our needs. She partnered my father with a gentleman named Fred. He was so wonderful! He had read my father’s history and boned up on the Korean War. My father had been in Korea as an officer and enjoyed sharing his stories.

As Fred got to know my father’s interests, he took him out on extended outings when they were done with breakfast. They would hit golf balls, walk around in a park, go to the library, or walk at the mall. The time came with my father had to go into assisted living. We asked Fred to continue his outings with my father. He agreed and came to the assisted living facility to pick my father up.

Extended Family

Fred had beome my father’s friend. Fred was reliable, trustworthy, kind, and compassionate. He had become an extended member of our family. He even came in those last days to visit with my father before his passing.

I highly recommend Seniors Helping Seniors and have referred other families to them. Caregivers need others to help and step in to fill in the gaps. Fred was a blessing from God for our family.

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Elaine’s Story

shschesterfieldcountyva 29 Mar 2019

Elaine ToddTwo and a half years ago, Elaine Todd knew that the Chesterfield area would be where she retired so she could be closer to her daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren. A pleasant change from the small community where she lived before, she loves the variety of activities available here. She does wish, however, that there were more options for affordable housing in well maintained communities for seniors.

Elaine met the owner of Seniors Helping Seniors at a church function about 2 years ago. She has been plugged in ever since. Here’s what she has discovered about herself through the experience:

I have discovered that I really enjoy being with the Seniors. Many of them have lived very interesting lives and have gone through difficult circumstances. I can learn so much from them. I have also realized how important it is to me that they retain their dignity and as much control and independence as possible.

Elaine’s Story

In her own words, Elaine describes a specific SHS experience:

One lady I helped needed a little housekeeping assistance but she mostly needed companionship as she worked to get her strength back from a hospitalization. She decided we would use some of our time going through and organizing her hundreds of recipes. Oh the stories she told as the recipes would jog her memory as to when and where it was served and the people involved! We laughed so hard! And, of course, I went home with countless copies of recipes she said I had to try!

Her Lesson

Elaine has a greater appreciation for the aging process. She wants families to know that they should listen to their loved ones and strive to respect their wishes and preserve their dignity. In addition, she stresses patience for families who become frustrated when trying to push changes on their loved ones. The intentions are out of love and concern, but they can come across as aggressive. She closes by saying, “Try to remember how very very hard it is to give up ones independence even when the physical body is clearly saying ‘It’s time’.”

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Michael’s Story

shschesterfieldcountyva 06 Mar 2019

Michael Boykin with Seniors Helping SeniorsAbout Michael

Michael Boykin, a native of Chesterfield County, went to school in Midlothian and college at Virginia Commonwealth University. He has worked in news journalism and human services. He joined Seniors Helping Seniors in 2014 after having been his mother’s caregiver and co-caregiver for his father. The work teaches him patience as he lives the adage of treating people how wants to be treated.

Michael’s Story

He was one of my best friends, despite our 20-year age difference.

Soon after I started working with Seniors Helping Seniors, I was asked to visit Dick at Brandermill Woods. A widower, he had moved there months before to be closer to his daughter and her husband.

It was November 2014. I had lost of my father a month before. He was two weeks shy of 91. Dick was in his early 80s.

At the time of my first visit, he had just returned from having a hip replacement surgery. Annette and Ron were staying with him during this recuperation period and I would be there to take him out and about on errands.

And that we did. Although Brandermill Woods offered van services locally, he preferred having a driver so he wouldn’t have to wait for the van to return or to tackle the steps on and off.

Off we went in his 2002 Buick LeSabre to run shopping errands and doctors, doctors, doctors and more doctors.

He would take me to lunch because he didn’t like eating alone, certainly not at home alone or in the Brandermill Woods dining room where he couldn’t hear conversations very well.

In his 80s, he had his fair share of health issues. He once told me that he dedicated so much time to caring for his wife and sons as they were dying that he neglected his own health.

Despite his health issues, impaired hearing and sight, he still had a brilliant mind, sharp with great recall.

He stayed abreast of what was happening. He had an earphone set so he could listen to NPR news in the morning. He pulled up a chair close to the television at 10 p.m. every evening to catch Rachel Maddow.

He listened to books on tape.

He worked crossword puzzles under a huge magnifying screen called a Merlin. Whenever I visited, I brought my morning newspaper so that he had a fresh puzzle. For his birthday, I gave him four large print crossword puzzle books.

Usually, after the errands of the day and lunch, we played a game of Scrabble. He would stand over the board with a 1’x2’ magnifying glass and study the board until he found the play worth the most points.  He told me, “Don’t ever let me win or I’ll never play you again!”

My game improved.

Visits with Dick started out as many as three times a week. Then we settled into a routine on Wednesdays when his cottage was being cleaned. On those days, we might go to breakfast then off on errands.

The Phone Call

He was one of several of “my seniors.” One day in October I was visiting another of “my seniors” at his memory care center when my phone rang.

It was Dick’s son-in-law, Ron.  “Dick died last night,” he said.

He had talked to his daughter from this phone in one room, walked into his bedroom, readied himself for bed, and collapsed on the floor.

That was the way he wanted to go. He would never have gone to a care center.

Needless to say, after being his companion and friend for four years, I was devastated. I called Lurene Reck, our manager with Seniors Helping Seniors, to tell her. She answered and I couldn’t speak. Grief had overtaken me.

The next day was Wednesday when I would normally visit with him. What could I do? I couldn’t sit in my grief.

Instead, I decided to share his passing. I went to the restaurant where we ate often. Our waitress was there. “He died,” I told her. She hugged me and I cried.

I went next door to the Food Lion pharmacy to the staff who knew of us both going there for his prescriptions. I didn’t cry.

Last, I went to the barber shop, staffed by all women. When I walked in without him, his barber knew something was up. “Sometimes people stop coming and I never know why,” she said. “Thanks for sharing.”

Thanks, Dick, for sharing your friendship and your example of facing life and its challenges with dignity.

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Sandra’s Story

shschesterfieldcountyva 21 Feb 2019

Sandra okleaskySandra Okleasky moved to Chesterfield 27 years ago to escape the cold of New England. With her son in the Police Academy here, it seemed like a natural choice. She loves the nature and beauty in the part of the county where she lives but would prefer to see less traffic and new development in the county.

A little over two years ago, Sandra’s friend referred her to Seniors Helping Seniors. Here’s what she said about what she’s learned:

I had no idea there was such a need for all the services SHS provides and have truly been enriched by the experiences I have encountered with the receivers and their families.

Sandra’s Story

In her own words, Sandra recounted a story about a particular senior she encountered with SHS:

I have had many positive and memorable experiences, but one that I will always remember was from October, 2017 when I was offered the opportunity by SHS to help a family from Connecticut with assisting Kathleen, a dear, beloved family friend and grandmother figure to the bride and her family. I was assigned to be her companion and helper as she was in a wheelchair and was to attend the wedding rehearsal dinner and the wedding on the following day.

Since I had never met the receiver or the family and had only conversed on the phone, I was a little anxious as it was for a long time and hoped I could meet their expectations. My fears were dashed when I met Kathleen at the hotel and entered the room of a very gracious, polished 97-year old woman. Her first comment to me was, “Hello, dear, does my hair look okay?” I immediately loved her as she was a delight and we were off on our 2-day adventure. At times it was difficult to maneuver the wheelchair and lift it in and out of the car with dress clothes on, but we did it! She was funny and sweet and wore beautiful sparkly tops and we shared much laughter and life stories-an amazing woman!

The wedding day presented its own difficulties as it was outdoors at a plantation in VA. and when I put her in the wheelchair there on a dirt road, I knew it was going to be a challenge for me to push her, so I prayed I could do it and, lo and behold, an angel named Caroline appeared in a golf cart! Miraculously, she was assigned to pick us up and away we went to the wedding ceremony, wheelchair in tow. We were then transported, again by Caroline, to the reception, held outside also with a delightful farm table decor along with food trucks serving pizza and tacos. Dessert was cupcakes and string lights were suspended overhead providing the musicians and guests with a softening glow. It was all very beautiful and delightful.

Kathleen had a great time and always was concerned about my welfare. I so enjoyed her company and felt honored to be with her. The family was also so kind and gracious to me and appreciated my attentiveness to her also. All was great until around 9 pm when it started to rain. I immediately summoned our golf cart friend so I could get Kathleen back to the car without getting soaked. It took a while to get to the handicapped parking lot in the rain and the lighting was poor but with Caroline’s help, we safely got Kathleen back into my car. Caroline was so kind and good to us and I thanked her profusely ashamed I did not have more to give her from what I had with me. She was amazing. So, off we went and Kathleen and I laughed and shared more stories on our way back to the hotel. I got her safely back to her room in her wheelchair and she was funny and so gracious all the while. I was tired, but reluctant to say goodbye not knowing when or how I would see her again as she lived in Connecticut.

She invited me for a visit there and I later sent her a thank you card and also called her. She was her gracious, funny self and I so enjoyed conversing with her. I told her I still had sparkles in my car from her outfits and every time I see one I smile as it reminds me of her and her zest for life and sparkling personality. (She was so amazing and took up ballroom dancing at age 85!)

Anyway to my great sadness and dismay, I received a card from her family notifying me of her death in December, 2017, just 2 months after that beautiful wedding. I am still sad that she is no longer with us and feel truly blessed that I was able to share some time with her, though briefly. I will always remember her and how she inspired my life to be joyful, thankful and perhaps more gracious. I still find sparkles in my car, so I know she is still with me.

What Sandra Learned

From this experience and others with Seniors Helping Seniors, Sandra has learned that ” life should not be taken for granted and is so fleeting and to embrace those in front of you and be kind and helpful and as cheerful as you can.” She wants families to know that their senior loved ones should never lose their dignity and to be respected for they did not choose their infirmities. We should remember that we could face the same challenges one day. In summary, she states, “They have value, special memories and great stories and want to be heard and not be invisible.”

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2018: A Look Back for SHS Chesterfield

shschesterfieldcountyva 15 Jan 2019

As we embark on a new year, it’s normal to be reflective about the old one. Things here at Seniors Helping Seniors have been humming along, and we wanted to share a “year in review” with you. Here’s what our owner, Lurene Reck, had to say:

What was the most exciting thing about SHS in 2018?

In November, we finally met as a team for the first time and spent a full four hours of Dementia & Alzheimer’s training. We did have one person not able to attend because of a family matter, but it was as close to 100% as we could possibly ever expect.   This may seem strange that we have not been together as a group before, but with various schedules throughout the week and weekends, it’s impossible to ever have everyone together at one time.

In addition to training, we took time for lunch and the opportunity to get to know each other and share their stories of how helping a senior has impacted their lives.  Some of these stories will be shared in the next few months in our Seniors Helping Seniors social media platforms.

At the end of the day we stayed together for our first team photo:

Seniors Helping Seniors Chesterfield Group Photo

Another good thing that happened in 2018 was bringing on 6 new providers to the team, with 3 of the 6 being men.  A traditional view is a female in the caregiver role, but many widowed men look for a buddy, someone to play scrabble, dominoes, or talk about their time in the military, that makes having a male a better fit for them.

Our growth means we always need exceptionally caring, compassionate, and empathic retired seniors on board.  This inter-generational employment model is the key that makes Seniors Helping Seniors work so well and we are thrilled that we can provide meaningful employment for older adults that capitalizes on their life experience, which is invaluable.  Our providers have the heart of a volunteer and are devoted to their client’s well-being.

What did 2018 teach you in terms of elder care?

Life teaches us that the only two things guaranteed are taxes and death.   And 2018 was a sad year for many of our families, and for the providers who cared for them.  Whenever possible, the provider and I attended the memorial service to show our respect and support to their families.   For the provider, coming to terms with their grief meant finding some unique ways to process this grief and honor the loss of a dear friend.  The story behind this will be shared in an upcoming blog posting.

Another lesson learned for us was that a person with Dementia or Alzheimer’s may not be able to understand or complete a simple task, but there are ways to engage and support them no matter how much they do accomplish.   Our role is to ensure they feel safe, loved, and always treat them with dignity and respect.  Everything we do is focused on a person-centered relationship.

What are you most looking forward to this year?

Each year we pick a theme to support our mission of helping seniors remain independent in their homes, wherever that home may be.  Last year our theme was “Journey of Discovery”.

What makes SHS a special companion agency is our ability to genuinely have fun and lift spirits in the work that we do each day. In 2018, we took it to another level and learned something new about the people we supported, and the stories shared were heart-warming, funny, and inspirational. When we truly connect with someone, we continue to lift spirits, foster connection and instill a sense of purpose. At the end of the day, we’ve done our job if someone’s life was enriched and improved by our involvement.

For 2019 our theme is: “Getting Help from People Who Know About Life”.

Who better to help a senior than someone who has “been there, done that, and then some”.   This is our competitive advantage and differentiates us from other companion care and homemaking agencies.

When a family calls to inquire about “having someone come and sit with my mom or dad”,  my response is that we provide companion care with the purpose of socializing and engaging their loved one.  Our providers don’t just sit while mom or dad is placed in front of the TV. Or worse yet, the provider is on their phone while mom or dad is placed in front of the TV.   While the safety of their loved one is the first priority, we want to get to know them,  hear their stories, give them a chance to enjoy the outdoors, games, or even the occasional ice cream cone.

If the senior is still living independently in their home we can help them with daily household tasks such as cooking, grocery shopping, running errands, cleaning, laundry, organizing closets, removing unwanted items, and other tasks.   Sometimes just having someone new to tell their stories is a welcome addition to their daily routine.  And it certainly gives the adult children some peace of mind knowing mom or dad are safe and have a new friend to pass the time.

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Caring for Early Stage Alzheimer’s Disease

shschesterfieldcountyva 04 Dec 2018

Alzheimer’s Disease progresses over time. Some signs of early stage Alzheimer’s are: memory loss, difficulty learning new things, difficulty handling problems and difficulty following conversations. A person in the early stages of the disease is generally able to function somewhat independently. He or she can bathe him or herself and may still be able to drive a car. You may, however, need to provide limited care for an early stage Alzheimer’s patents.

The early stage of Alzheimer’s can last for years. A diagnosis of early stage Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t just affect those with the disease; it affects everyone who loves and cares about them. Here are some tips on caring for someone with early stage Alzheimer’s disease.

Find a Support Group

When caring for an early stage Alzheimer’s patient, you need to form a solid foundation. A key part of that process is finding a support group. Most cities have some form of a support network for Alzheimer’s caregiver. The Alzheimer’s Association has a search feature that helps you locate a support group near you.

Understand your Role as a Care Provider

When providing care, you need to consider your role. You are a care provider. You are not the person’s boss or guardian, especially in the early stages of the disease. You need to find ways that let the person function in the most independent manner possible, but at the same time, you must make safety the primary goal. You do not want the person to harm him or herself. Rather, you want to provide meaningful care that respects the dignity of the individual receiving the care.

Reduce Stress

As a care provider, you need to find ways to reduce stress on the patient. You can identify tasks that the person can easily accomplish. For example, you might need to do the shopping for the individual due to memory loss, but you can still involve the person in the creation of a menu. It is a task that the person can accomplish, and it reduces stress. The person will not struggle with a shopping list in a store.

Make Positive Assumptions

Alzheimer’s disease can be stressful, and it’s easy to focus on the negative. You can dwell on the loss of memory or the decline in the number of tasks the individual can accomplish. Instead, you need to look at the happiness the individual expresses when seeing a relative or eating a meal. The positive parts of being a caregiver will bring you reward and satisfaction. The negative aspects of the job will only hurt your ability to provide meaningful care.

Ask Questions

You can’t make assumptions about the type of care the individual needs. You need to have a conversation with the patient and ask meaningful questions. If the person is honest, he or she will let you know what tasks will help and how you can be valuable as a caregiver. You don’t want to talk down to the person. You want to engage in dialogue. That will benefit you as the caregiver and the one receiving the care.

Keep in mind that the person with Alzheimer’s may not be able to communicate their needs properly or find the right words. Therefore, it’s important as a caregiver to watch for signs to determine what they are trying to say and be patient so they don’t feel rushed or not understood.

Understand your Emotions

You will experience a variety of emotions as a caregiver for an Alzheimer’s patient — denial, fear, stress, anger and frustration. You are allowed to experience these emotions, but you can’t let them impact your ability as a caregiver. You need to listen to these emotions and understand the reason that they occur. You can find ways to confront the emotions and make the caregiving experience more positive. That might mean adjusting how you interact with the patient or providing support in different ways.

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5 Tips for Alzheimer’s Caregivers

shschesterfieldcountyva 30 Oct 2018

Over 5 million Americans are believed to have some form of Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Foundation. The disease gets progressively worse over time, and that often means a loved one is providing care. The responsibility of a caregiver is massive, but one that millions of people take on every day. The goal is to help the person with the disease live the best life possible.

Someone who is providing care to an Alzheimer’s patient must have support and an understanding of the challenges. Here are a few tips:

Learn About the Disease

When treating someone with Alzheimer’s, the first thing you need to do is educate yourself about the disease. No cure exists for the Alzheimer’s, but there are ways to slow the progression. Also, a lot of research has been conducted on the best ways to interact and provide care for people with the disease. A good place to start is the Alzheimer’s Foundation website. The site has a whole page dedicated to caregiving.

Strike a Balance

When providing care to an individual with Alzheimer’s disease, you need to strike a balance. You don’t want to limit the person’s freedom and choices, but you also must make sure the person is safe and not going to harm himself or others. This is a delicate balance to achieve, especially for a loved one. You have a personal connection to the individual. One’s inclination is often toward safety, but you don’t want to be stifling and overbearing.

Over time, the scales will tip. A person with early stage Alzheimer’s can mostly live an independent life. You might have to just do a little cleaning or offer a few reminders to the person. Your main goal is to reduce the stress and anxiety on the individual. You want their life to be comfortable and easy. As the disease worsens, safety becomes the priority. You might have to restrict cooking and driving. It is not easy, but that is your role as a caregiver.

Meet Your Emotional Needs

Being a caregiver is a hard job, and you have to understand your own emotional needs. You might become frustrated or angry with the person, something that can be especially hard with a loved one, but you will not help the situation by lashing out. You have to remain calm and in control when providing care for a person with Alzheimer’s.

You need to take time for self care in your free time. Once you are no longer providing care that day, you might need to de-stress and relax. Meditation, a glass of tea, a walk in the woods or chatting with someone are all ways that you can unwind from the day. Ultimately, you need to build a support system around yourself. You need to listen to yourself and know when you need some self care.

Live Your Own Life

You had a life before becoming a caregiver. You can’t completely put your life on hold just because you have become a caregiver. You still need to live your life. While your life will often center around the loved-one with Alzheimer’s, you need to understand that being a caregiver is only part of your life. You need to set boundaries and understand that life still exists outside your caregiving role. Your job, family and life cannot be put on hold just because you have become a caregiver.

Arrange Professional Care

If you are taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s, it is best to have professional support. While other family members can often help with the caregiving, it is often a good idea to involve a professional. A professional caregiver can relieve some of the caregiving responsibility but can also offers tips and suggestions. The person is knowledgeable about the disease and has experience working in the field. He or she can be a resource when issues and problems arise. It is one more way that you can receive support when serving as a caregiver.

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How to Spot the Early Signs of Alzheimer’s

shschesterfieldcountyva 28 Sep 2018

Alzheimer’s is a growing problem in the United States. According to Centers for Disease Control, deaths associated with the disease grew 55% between 1999 and 2014. Over five million people above the age of 65 have been diagnosed with the disease, and the agency estimates that the number will almost triple by 2025.

Given the growing nature of the Alzheimer’s epidemic, people who have older relatives need to be able to identify some of the early sign of Alzheimer’s. There is no easy way to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, but a person who observes him or her often can search for clues.

Older people often give small, subtle clues that they are not as mentally sharp and are suffering from the disease. It’s best to make notes when these types of event occur, that way a written record is kept of the person’s behavior. The information can help doctors make a positive diagnosis.

Basic tasks are challenging

When people start to experience Alzheimer’s, they often have a difficult time solving problems and completing basic tasks. They might not be able to cook based on a simple recipe. Or, they incorrectly write something down after being told information.  They are usually meaningless tasks, but can be a sign of a larger problem.

Less energy

Less energy or feeling fatigue can often be a sign associated with early Alzheimer’s. Examples are falling asleep in front of the television or sleeping for long periods of time at night. The person might appear to have less stamina and vigor. 

Memory loss

The brain’s cognitive ability fades as a person age, but a person with Alzheimer’s can experience huge decreases in mental function in a short period of time. The person might forget about a stove burner being turned on, and he or she could fail to recall the name of a familiar friend.

Confused when and where events happened

Time and place can become disoriented for an Alzheimer’s patient. The person might become totally confused about when and where significant events happened in his or her life.

Vocabulary seems limited

A reduction in a person’s vocabulary or difficulty saying the correct words can be a red flag. Vocabulary and word usage are often an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease. This is especially easy to notice among people with a large vocabulary who are very articulate.

Difficulty managing money and finances

If a person wants to live independently, he or she has to be able to manage finances. That can become more challenging if Alzheimer’s sets in.  Someone might have a difficult time remembering to pay a bill or forgets when certain bills are due.

Misplace things

It’s easy to misplace things, but a person with Alzheimer’s disease will consistently misplace things. Objects might be located in strange and interesting locations.

Changes in mood

Alzheimer’s patients often become frustrated and can get angry easily. A sharp change in a person’s mood could be an indication of Alzheimer’s.

Difficulty navigating when driving

Driving is a difficult task, and it can be very dangerous when a person with Alzheimer’s gets behind the wheel. A person with the disease might become lost easily when driving or might have a difficult time navigating unfamiliar situations.

If your loved one is displaying any of these symptoms, the best course of action is to talk to his or her doctor.

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How to Maintain Brain Health in the Aging Process

shschesterfieldcountyva 04 Sep 2018

The New York Times recently declared that the “next frontier is inside your brain.” Scientists have made huge advancements is brain science over the last few years, and they are making more discoveries every day. As we age, it becomes important to understand the new science around the brain and the role we playing in helping to maintain proper brain function.

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and it’s estimated that 5.7 million Americans live with the disease. It’s one of the countries silent killers. In fact, Alzheimer’s kills more people than pancreatic and breast cancer combined. The major factors that contribute to Alzheimer’s are: diabetes, hypertension, obesity, heart disease and various sleep conditions.

To maintain your brain’s health, you need to exercise both your body and your brain. The brain needs a workout just like your muscles and heart. If you don’t stimulate the brain, it atrophies like any other muscle.

Ways to maintain brain health

Physical exercise

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that you do 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week. The exercises can vary.  You can take a brisk, 30-minute walk a few times a week or swim in a pool. Besides exercise, the agency recommends weight and strength training. Several times a week you should do multiple sets of 10-15. The amount of weight doesn’t matter, but you need some form of resistance to build muscle strength.

Proper diet

Your brain needs proper fuel, and that means eating a proper diet. A recent study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found a correlation between the Mediterranean diet, and higher scores on cognitive tests. The Meditation diet centers around fruits and vegetables and mostly fish for protein. The diet avoids sugar and red meat. In fact, scientists have discovered a link between sugar consumption and Alzheimer disease. Eat well. Your brain will thank you.

Social connectedness

Humans are social creatures. We need to interact with other people and have meaningful conversations. That can be challenging in the age of social media, but as you age, you need to make an effort to interact with other people. You can join a club or volunteer your time. You have to find ways to stimulate the brain through social interaction.

Mental stimulation

Besides stimulating the brain through social interaction, the brain also needs mental exercise. You must workout the areas of the brain that solve problems. You might consider doing a daily crossword or Sudoku puzzle. Also, you can try using your non-natural hand and write. Some people like to record their dreams or keep a log of daily activities. Art classes are always a great way to exercise the brain and your creativity.

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How Does Heat Affect Your Aging Loved One?

shschesterfieldcountyva 27 Jul 2018

Heat is the leading cause of weather-related death in the United States. Heat, especially when combined with humidity, is hard on the human body. A classic example is the 1995 heat wave in Chicago. Over 800 people died, many of them elderly. Another example is a 2003 heat wave in Europe that killed an estimated 22,000 to 50,000 people.

Heat in Aging Americans

Older Americans, especially those their 70s and 80s, are more susceptible to the heat, and they need to be aware of this fact. That is especially true during the dog days of summer — from mid-July through mid-August. These are generally the hottest days of years.

Unfortunately, many older people often deny that the heat has any impact on them, and this attitude can lead to life-threatening conditions like heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Older Americans often take medications that make them more susceptible to the impacts of heat. Renal disease and other diseases can also impact the body’s ability to regulate its temperature. Salt restrictions in a diet are another reason.

What About Water?

Dehydration is also challenge. The body’s ability to retain water decreases as a person age. Studies have shown that people retain about 80 percent of our water as young adults, but people in their 80s only retain about 55 to 60 percent. Old people often don’t feel the signs of dehydration until it’s too late.

A 2006 study done by a professor at Kent State University found that 90 percent of participants older than 65 knew about the risks associated with heat and humidity. They understood the need to drink more water, and stay inside in the air conditioning during extreme temperatures. Unfortunately, many older Americans don’t believe the warning applies apply to them, because it applies to people older than them.

One federal study found 40 percent of heat-related deaths were in people 65 and older. Those numbers could be lower if more people heeded heat warnings aimed at seniors. Families and friends need to educate older people and talk to them about being careful when the temperature and humidity rise in the summer time. They need to be advised to take a cool shower during the day and drink water or other liquids. They should avoid caffeinated beverages.

Symptoms

Symptoms of Heat Related Illness in the Elderly

Here are a few symptoms of heat-related illness.

  • A body temperature over 103 degrees
  • A rapid pulse
  • Dry skin that’s red and hot
  • Dizziness and nausea
  • Heavy sweating
  • Paleness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • A weak, fast pulse
  • Fast, shallow breathing

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Keeping Your Senior Safe at Home

shschesterfieldcountyva 26 Jun 2018

As they age, seniors generally want to stay in their home. Many times, they have lived in the same place for a long period of time, and they don’t want to live in a special facility or with a relative during their later years.  Independence is preferred, but families must confront reality —seniors face challenges when living in a home without assistance. As people age, they are more prone to injury and cooking, cleaning and bathing becomes more difficult. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 29 million seniors were injured during a fall in 2014, and they are the leading cause of death among seniors.

“Older adult falls are increasing and, sadly, often heralding the end of independence,” Centers for Disease Control Director Tom Frieden said.

For families that are looking at ways to keeping on older relative independent and safe in a home, the AARP HomeFit Guide is a good place to start. It’s an informative and well-illustrated 24-page booklet.

“The AARP HomeFit Guide was created to help people stay in the home they love by turning where they live into a ‘lifelong home,’ suitable for themselves and anyone in their household,” according to the guide.

Not only does the AARP HomeFit Guide operate as a practical toolkit, it functions as a resource for keeping a relative safe and secure. Examples are given on ways to improve the safety of the home and keep seniors in a home for the longest period of time. The guide takes you step-by-step through each area of the home and provides useful instructions and practical tips. Each section contains questions with a box that the family can check off. The guide asks such insightful questions as — do the outdoor lights have sensors? And is the kitchen floor not polished with a slippery wax?

The manual offers users the ability to take notes and contains additional resources. In the end, the guide gives the family practical and useful information. That way family members can have a logical discussion and determine if the home is safe for the senior or find ways to improve the home.

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How to Begin Your Spiritual Will

shschesterfieldcountyva 16 May 2018

“Getting our affairs in order.”  This phrase has a dark undertone.  As if an impending doom is very near.  But, what if we began to log our “affairs,” learn from them, and share them.  Although the concept of a spiritual will is not entirely new, there is a resurgence of the practice – no matter your belief system.  So what is it?  And how do we begin the process of creating one?  It’s easier than you might think.

First, a brief history lesson:  In the Jewish faith, an “Ethical Will” dates back centuries and emphasizes “a legacy of values over material things,” according to Beliefnet.com.  It’s a concept that is gaining mainstream traction, crossing the barriers of religion.   Referred to by many as a “Spiritual Will,” this document is created to pass on wisdom and values to future generations.

Simply put, your life experiences are gifts to be shared with your family.  Poet William Arthur Ward once wrote “feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”  So what should your present to future generations include?  Start by charting the decades of your life.  What stands out from each time period?  People, places and events can each, in their own way, provide life long lessons.  Be thankful, write it down, and pass it on!  This can be an opportunity to make amends, as columnist Racheal Freed points out, “it may also affect the family, opening communication where there’s been resentful silence, strengthening relationships when the family has been estranged, beginning the powerful, spiritual process of forgiveness.”

There is no time like the present to start such a document.  Whether you are living out your golden years or still waiting to become a grandparent, begin to journal now.  As you reflect, your memories will begin to flood in.  Write them down and then break them out into different life lessons.  End each passage with a blessing for future generations.  Simply put, this gift is far more lucrative then silver and gold.  Freed says it best when she writes “writing this kind of letter we experience ourselves as a living link binding the past to the future.”

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How to Protect Yourself from Scams

shschesterfieldcountyva 09 Apr 2018

In the age of cell phones and caller ID, we all receive incoming calls from phone numbers we don’t recognize.  Most of the time, they are from sales people.  But sometimes, they are from criminals salivating at the thought of stealing our identity.  How do we know when to hang up?  We also get emails, quite frequently, from addresses that we don’t know.  How do we know when these emails are providing legitimate information?  It is important for all of us to be vigilant when it comes to securing our personal information, however, seniors are particularly vulnerable, especially at tax time.

According to Reuters.com, “one in eight older Americans falls victim to financial fraud or scams, annually.”  In fact, according to the North American Securities Administrators Association, the past few years have seen an increase in senior fraud.  Why?  What’s the key to unlocking the metaphorical door to personal and banking information?  Anxiety.  At tax time, the vast majority of us have some level of angst.  From the pending deadline to the amount of money we owe, from the fear of “doing it wrong” to getting audited, we all have some sweat on our brow.  So when someone questions our taxes, or starts making threats, there is a higher likelihood of cracking under the pressure.

Scamming Methods

There are two very prominent methods of scamming someone into providing their personal information.  “Phishing” is done over email.  Typically, the scammer tells their victim that they are due for a tax refund.  The victim is then asked to provide all of the personal information that is needed to steal someone’s identity.

Phone scams are even more intimidating.  In fact, justice.gov dubs these calls as downright “aggressive and sophisticated.”  A person claiming to be from the IRS will call your phone, often from a Washington D.C. area code (202) to make the inquiry seem even more legit.  They will often provide you with their bogus IRS identification badge number.  Typically, they claim that you owe money to the government.  They insist that the money needs to be paid over the phone immediately or demand your banking information.  Additionally, they threaten to arrest you, or, if you are an immigrant, they threaten deportation.  They can get very angry and loud.

Just hang up.  Or, in the case of email, just delete.

Please remember this:

Never give your information to people over the phone.  It is the least secure way to collect information and no legitimate organization or business will force this method of payment.  There is always an alternative way to make a payment.  Also, the IRS will never make initial contact with you through email, phone or social media.  They don’t have the authority to arrest or deport you.

You can report scammers by emailing phishing@irs.gov or by calling the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

Please spread this information to all of your friends and family.  When it comes to scams, knowledge is power.

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Your Caregiver Toolbox

shschesterfieldcountyva 08 Mar 2018

The faucet in my guest bathroom shower is broken.  It simply won’t turn on.  Do I have a toolbox?  Sure do!  Do I have any idea if any of those tools will fix the problem?  Nope.  I have a toolbox full of tools – hammer, screwdriver, nails, and pliers.  In a pinch, for a small problem, some of these tools might work.  But they are the generic tools of a survivor.  They aren’t the tools I need to fix my faucet.  I WISH I had a toolbox labeled “faucet fixer.”  One in which I can fling open the top and “poof” there is everything I need to fix the problem myself.  Once I’ve “YouTubed” and experimented and finally called the plumber that I’m avoiding calling, I will likely be able to build that toolbox.  But right now.  I don’t have a clue.

Caregiving can be exactly like this.  Once you’ve been the caretaker for one person, you might be able to create a “toolbox” of resources that will help you next time.  However, if this is your first time as a caretaker, you may need help putting together that toolbox.

Today, I want to provide you with a few tools to start your Caregiver Toolbox.  This Toolbox should be a resource for you when you run into an issue in which you need support.  We cannot be experts in everything, so it’s always good to have a box of tools that will help guide us in the right direction.

Caregiver Toolbox

Your health while Caregiving:  How to Stay Fit with Go4Life

Resource for good cognitive health:  The Healthy Brain Initiative

How to prevent falls:  The STEADI Program

Understanding depression in older adults:  Free SAMHSA Publication

 

 

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The Comfort of Routine

shschesterfieldcountyva 01 Feb 2018

As much as we want to believe that growing older will happen gracefully, it can, quite frankly, hit us like a ton of bricks.  The unpredictability of our daily physical health, our balance, and our mental health can create anxiety like we have never experienced before.  Routine and commitment are important to the elderly because it creates a cocoon of safety and security that lead to reduced worry.

For the Family Member or Friend…

Breaking a commitment can be a bigger deal than you might initially think.  The definition of commitment, according to Merriam-Webster, is “an agreement or pledge to do something in the future.”  The elderly look forward to their scheduled dates and commitments.  When we are unable to keep our commitments to our elderly loved ones it sends a strong message “that we don’t value him or her,” according to Michelle Gielan of Psychology Today.  When we fall into a pattern of broken promises, it can create a mental downward spiral for your elderly loved one.

Routines with the aging - Routine Routes

The International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry found that more than 27% of older adults who live in assisted living or are taken care of by a provider have a level of anxiety that impacts how they live their lives.  What does that mean?  Well the official definition of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, according to Mental Health America, is “chronic, exaggerated worry about EVERYDAY ROUTINE life and activities, lasting at least six months.”  There is no need to belabor the point.  I’m sure you understand.  Routine is everything.  The more you can encourage and take part in that routine, the happier your elderly friends will become.  So what can you do?  Perhaps take your friend out to tea once a week or do a puzzle.  Their need for routine doesn’t need to consume your life.  Just be a part of the routine!

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Mental Health During the Holidays

shschesterfieldcountyva 20 Dec 2017

Over the river and through the woods used to be such a great place to be during the holidays.  The smell of cookies and ham, the festive decorations, and all those presents under the tree meant the holidays had truly started for our family.  But as time went by, I grew up.  And coming home for the holidays inevitably meant I would encounter change.  The holidays were great, but my grandmother no longer “owned” the holiday.  She wasn’t cornering the family holiday market with her treats and festive spirit like yester year.  The holiday became about including her in our new traditions.  For me, it was sad, but it wasn’t devastating.  I cannot speak for grandma.  But, coming from a family of mental health counselors, we made sure grandma was always by our side.  According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 6.5. million Americans 65 years old and older suffer from some level of depression.  Our family wanted to make sure that grandma wasn’t a statistic.  During this holiday season, I ask that you do the same.  Your favorite senior citizen could be suffering silently, so be extra vigilant and take gentle care to make sure they smile this holiday season.

In order to make people smile, you must first understand why they aren’t.  In seniors, many times the holidays bring up memories of lost loved ones.  Additionally, not being as “spry” as they once were means they cannot do everything they used to.  The holidays are physical and, from putting up the tree to crawling around the floor wrapping presents, we take this for granted.  Even making cookies can be a struggle.  In a person’s twilight years, they are more likely to live alone as well.  This can lead to isolation.  Isolation, believe it or not, can increase a senior’s risk for health conditions like dementia and heart disease.  And there is the opposite side of the coin.  What if your favorite senior has moved into a nursing home, or a relative’s house?  Well, it likely means their most precious holiday possessions are no longer at arms reach.  The special ornaments won’t get hung and eating from the Christmas Spode might not happen.   And the most common of all holiday bummers – a fixed income.  Most seniors don’t have the cash flow they once did.  Not being able to spend money on special goodies and presents like they once did can be just downright disappointing for them.

Signs of Depression in Your Aging Loved One

PHYSICAL

  • Change in sleeping habits
  • Change in eating habits
  • Change in weight

APPEARANCE

  • Unkempt – not shaving or doing hair/ makeup
  • Wrinkled clothes

EMOTIONAL

  • Disinterest in conversation
  • Easily irritated
  • Appear lethargic or dazed

ENVIORNMENTAL SIGNS

  • Unusually messy living quarters/ home
  • Piles of laundry
  • Unpaid bills stacking up
  • Rotting food
  • Unwashed dishes

Notice any of this?  Here’s what you can do to make a difference, and maybe, just maybe, bring a smile to your favorite senior’s face.  Just be there!  A simple visit can do wonders to the spirit.  Invite them to join in on your holiday plans.  They may not have a single one.  Bring by a favorite holiday confection or spend a little time helping them make one.  And, for goodness sake, please avoid “heavy talk” during the holidays.  If they begin to get teary eyed about a memory turn the conversation around.  Change the subject.  Focus on the positive.  Lastly, if you notice signs and symptoms of depression in your favorite senior this holiday season, share your concerns with their family members after the festivities have wrapped up.  Make sure to bring a list of observations to the conversation because this will help to clarify your concerns.

I still have vivid memories of my grandmother’s nursing home apartment.  It was small but it had an oven.  And every year, my sister and I would make a point to go and bake with her.  Unable to stand because of balance issues, my grandmother would “manage” the process from her white card table in the corner.  The time was precious (and tasty) and it got all of us in the holiday spirit.

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