Simple Fall Prevention Exercises Seniors Can Do at Home

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Reduce the risk of falls with simple fall prevention exercises.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shares that as many as one-third of seniors experience a fall each year, and surprisingly, only half of them bring those falls to the attention of a doctor. When an older adult falls, even if it does not cause a serious injury, it can lead to an elevated fear of falling again. This can cause the person to begin to limit activities and exercise, which leads to reduced mobility and eventually, a greater risk of another fall.  Read more

Senior Fall Prevention Tips for the Home

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Learn simple home modifications for senior fall prevention.

Experiencing a fall can be painful for anyone, but for older adults, falling can have devastating results. One of the common effects of a senior fall is a fractured hip, which can lead to even more health problems. Alarmingly, one-fourth of seniors who fracture a hip die in a period of just six months from the time of the injury – a sobering, yet preventable fact. This shows how important it is to take senior fall prevention measures to keep loved ones safe at home. Read more

Watch for These Signs of Depression in Senior Loved Ones

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Senior woman with sad expression

Be aware of the signs of depression that could present in senior loved ones.

Most people go through times when they simply want to be by themselves for a while with their thoughts, to sort out issues in their lives without any distractions, or just to experience some downtime. For older people, however, being isolated for an extended period of time might be indicative of a more concerning condition: depression.

At San Diego Home Caregivers, a provider of professional home care services in La Mesa and nearby areas, our team has shared the journey through depression with many older adults, and we want to offer help. The most important first step is to contact the older person’s doctor right away if you believe he or she may be struggling with depression. Depression in seniors is treatable, and the sooner, the better.

Watch for these signs of depression in your senior loved ones:

  • Loss: A variety of kinds of loss can trigger depression or other medical concerns: losing weight, losing the desire to eat, a loss of self-worth, disinterest in activities or hobbies that were formerly enjoyed, or a reduction in time spent with family or friends.
  • Slowing Down: Notice if the older person’s movements or speaking have slowed down, if it takes the senior longer than usual to talk about or recall memories, or if drive or energy are reduced.
  • Sleeping Changes: Depression in seniors can have significant effects on sleep patterns, causing trouble with falling or staying asleep, issues with awakening, or struggles with being alert and awake for the duration of the day. 
  • Forgetfulness: Watch for differences in how the senior takes care of herself; for instance, if she was always careful about maintaining good personal hygiene and taking care with her appearance, but abruptly begins to ignore personal care, or any other critical changes like forgetting to take medicine, to eat a well-balanced diet, etc.

Various other medical conditions may also make depression worse. Be especially mindful if the senior has been affected by any of the following:

  • Cancer
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease
  • Thyroid conditions

If you suspect depression in a senior loved one, it’s crucial to take action and not to disregard it as something the senior will get over in time. Depression is a chronic medical condition that requires treatment in order to recover. 

And keep in mind, you are not alone! The caregivers of San Diego Home Caregivers are here to help older adults, and their family members, through senior depression or any other condition of aging. We’re experienced in providing caring, compassionate in-home services for older adults, offering friendly companionship to help encourage participation in exercise programs and social activities, to prepare appetizing, healthy meals, provide transportation to medical appointments and to run errands, and more. 

Reach out to us any time online or call us at (619) 487-9000 to learn more about our home care in La Mesa and the surrounding communities.

Understanding the Differences in Depression and Dementia

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Elderly woman looking out a window

Would you recognize if a senior loved one had depression or dementia?

Visiting Mom recently revealed a number of concerning signs. Though she has always been up and out of bed before 7 a.m., now it’s difficult to wake her before noon. Rather than going to great lengths to prepare an elaborate home-cooked meal, she would rather merely warm up a can of soup; and can barely finish a small bowlful. On top of that, she’s lost interest in enjoying time with her best friends from her knitting club. Could she be suffering from depression or dementia? 

There are a number of similarities between the two, like:

  • Eating and sleeping changes
  • Reduced interest in formerly enjoyed interests and hobbies, and spending time with others
  • Reduced memory and the ability to focus

There are, however, a number of distinguishing differences to help identify whether depression or dementia could be at play:

Dementia:

  • A slow, progressive decline in mental functioning
  • Noticeable problems with motor and/or language skills
  • Difficulty with memory, without being aware of these problems
  • Confusion in knowing the correct date, time, and surroundings

Depression:

  • A more rapid decline in mental functioning
  • Difficulties with concentration
  • A bit slower, but still normal motor and language abilities
  • Difficulty with memory issues, but being aware of the problem
  • Awareness of correct date, time and surroundings

Sometimes, both conditions can impact a person simultaneously. Brent Forester, MD, director of the mood disorders division in the geriatric psychiatry research program at McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA, shares, “40 to 50% of people with Alzheimer’s disease get depression, but depression also may be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s.”

If you suspect either depression or dementia in a senior loved one, arrange for an appointment as soon as possible with his/her doctor. Receiving a correct diagnosis and beginning a treatment plan is imperative. 

Help for depression can include an antidepressant along with therapeutic counseling, or hospitalization if the difficulties are severe and require more intensive treatment. Dementia care usually involves medications that help with specific symptoms, like sleep problems, memory loss, or changes in behavior. 

If a senior you love has been diagnosed with either depression or dementia, or is struggling with any other difficulties of aging, San Diego Home Caregivers can help. With our skilled dementia and elder home care services, we’re here for whatever specific needs your loved one is facing. Contact us online or at (619) 487-9000 for more information on home health in La Jolla, or to request a free in-home consultation. For a full list of all of the communities where we provide care, please visit our Communities Served page.

Help for Seniors Who Want to Stay in Their Own Homes

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Portrait of a beautiful smiling senior woman

Portrait of a beautiful smiling senior woman

The great majority of seniors wish to remain at home for a lifetime, rather than relocating to an assisted living facility or nursing home – nearly 90 percent of them, according to research conducted by AARP. And who can blame them? The comfort of familiar surroundings, the freedom to go wherever, whenever you would like, the opportunity to prepare the meals you want when you want them are all priceless commodities. 

But although it seems like the perfect plan for growing older, there are some real concerns to think through as well: 

  • Will the older person stay safe?
  • How will the older adult get around once driving, or even walking, becomes a challenge?
  • What happens if the older person gets sick or injured and no one’s close by to help?

Fortunately, it’s now easier than ever for seniors to stay safe and well at home. Considering the following can assist you in taking the necessary precautions to ensure the senior you love is prepared for these needs and any others, now and in the future: 

  • Assess the home, both inside and out, from the viewpoint of the senior’s safety. Check to verify that: 
    • Grab bars are in place near the tub and toilet. 
    • Throw rugs and any other fall hazards are removed. 
    • There is plenty of lighting, including in hallways and stairways. 
    • Commonly used items are located within easy reach. 
    • Emergency numbers are posted in a highly visible location. 
  • Create a transportation plan, so it is ready to implement when driving is no longer possible: 
    • Look into public transportation choices that are available and easy to access. 
    • Put together a volunteer tree of reliable people the older person can turn to for transportation when needed: friends, family members, neighbors, religious organizations, local senior centers, San Diego Home Caregivers, etc.
  • Make sure the senior has access to the technology that can be used in an emergency to reach out for help when alone, such as a PERS (personal emergency response system). 

The perfect way to ensure older individuals remain safe and well cared for at home, however, is by hiring a professional home care agency, such as San Diego Home Caregivers. Our caregivers are trained and have experience in providing elder help for San Diego seniors such as personal care services, transportation, meal planning and preparation, and companionship, and are available to help for as much or as little care as needed. 

Our San Diego in-home caregivers start with the development of an individualized plan of care to address the senior’s particular needs and wishes, and then we continually monitor that plan and adjust as needs change – ensuring that the senior remains safe and can live life to the fullest, where it’s most comfortable: at home. 

As the leading providers of senior companion care in San Diego and nearby areas, we invite you to contact us online or at (619) 487-9000 to learn more about how we can provide help for seniors in multiple ways.

Home Modifications for Wheelchair Users

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Senior disabled man in wheelchair

Learn the most important home modifications to make for wheelchair users.

Home is where the heart is, and it’s for that reason so many older adults make the decision to continue to live at home for a lifetime. But many times wheelchairs come to be a part of life when older adults or those with particular disabilities lose mobility. This can be a unique challenge when it comes to making sure the home is a safe place. But a few key home modifications for wheelchair users can considerably improve safety for aging adults.

Following are just a few modifications recommended to incorporate a wheelchair into the home:

  • Ensure that walkways and driveways are smooth, but not slick.
  • Install a ramp to the front door with landings at the bottom and the top.
  • Doorways ought to be 32-36 inches wide with enough floor space near the doors to maneuver a wheelchair.
  • Thresholds on doors should always be ¼ inch or less.
  • Cabinet shelves should ideally be no more than 10 inches deep.
  • Kitchen stove controls should be located at the front.
  • Be sure that there is knee space underneath all sinks.
  • Oven doors should ideally be able to swing open to the side.
  • For deeper shelves, utilize a Lazy Susan to permit the person to easily reach all items.
  • Bathrooms ought to have either a wheelchair maneuverable tub with a 60-inch turning radius or T-turn space, or a stand-up shower that is curbless and at least 36 inches wide.
  • There should be plenty of room to transfer from wheelchair to toilet.
  • Walk-in closets are great for wheelchair-bound individuals, but a closet organizer that gives the person the ability to reach all items is also a good option.
  • Additionally, floors should be free of clutter and furniture should be arranged for maximum maneuverability. 

San Diego Home Caregivers, offers experienced in-home caregivers in San Diego and the surrounding areas, who can also assist with home modification ideas and coordination. The first step is our complimentary in-home evaluation, where we will put together a customized care plan to address the individual’s unique care needs and wishes, and then we monitor that plan ongoing and modify as needs change. Our in-home care services in San Diego are available for just a few hours each week, up through 24/7, around-the-clock care. You can reach us any time via our online contact form or at (619) 487-9000 to learn more about available services!

10 Tips on Medication Management for Elderly Parents with Heart Disease

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Worried wife supporting sick husband taking drugs for hypertension

Call our care team for help with medication management for elderly parents and to learn more about our home care in Carlsbad and surrounding areas.

If a senior you love has been diagnosed with heart disease, you’re aware that medication management for elderly loved ones is critical. But what specifically does that mean? Here are ten helpful tips from San Diego Home Caregivers, leading provider of elderly care in La Mesa and nearby areas, that can help your loved ones get the most from their medications:

  • Know what medicines they are taking. Find out the brand and generic names and be sure you understand what each one does. Thoroughly read the patient informational sheet so you’re informed about possible side effects.
  • Take the meds at the same time each day. When you partner with San Diego Home Caregivers, your loved one’s home care companion can give reminders when it’s time to take a dose. Don’t stop or modify any medication without talking it over with the doctor first.
  • List out all of the medications. Include the daily dosage for each one. Keep a copy at home as well as one in a wallet or purse.
  • If your loved one is having a hard time paying for the medications, ask the doctor for advice. Don’t skimp on dosages to try to save money. Doing so could be harmful to your loved one’s health.
  • Speak with the doctor before taking over-the-counter medicines or herbal remedies. Some may aggravate heart failure symptoms. These include antihistamines (like Benadryl), antacids and NSAIDS (like Motrin or Advil).
  • Refill prescriptions before running out of medicine. If it is difficult to get to the pharmacy, a caregiver can help you pick up the medication.
  • Take medicines along when travelling and continue to take them on a normal routine. If your loved one will be away from home for a long time, take an extra week’s supply. Be sure to bring a copy of the prescriptions in case a refill is needed.
  • At times, ACE inhibitors may can cause coughing. If your loved one is coughing too much and can’t sleep or perform daily activities, call the physician.
  • If taking diuretics (also referred to as water pills), your loved one probably has to visit the restroom more often. If the doctor has advised one dose of a diuretic each day, take it in the morning. If two daily doses are advised, be sure to take the second one by late afternoon to avoid additional trips to the bathroom during the night.
  • Be alert for signs of dehydration whenever taking diuretics. These might include intense thirst, dry mouth, dark-colored urine or reduced urine output, constipation and feeling lightheaded. If any of these red flags occur, consult the doctor prior to making any modifications in medication or fluid intake.

Professional home care companions from San Diego Home Caregivers can make life with heart disease easier to manage. They can provide support with everyday activities, prepare nutritious meals, offer medication reminders and take your loved one to doctors’ appointments and the pharmacy. Call (619) 487-9000 to learn more about our elderly care in La Mesa and other surrounding areas. For more information on the different areas we serve, please see our Communities Served page.

Reducing Readmission Risk Starts with a Safe Discharge Home from the Hospital

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safe discharge home from the hospital

Patient follow-through, including continuing home health care services at home, is an important part of reducing the risk for hospital readmissions.

There’s currently a high priority for hospitals: reducing readmissions for high-risk patients. Healthcare Financial Management Association’s article “Two Ways Hospitals Can Reduce Avoidable Readmissions” outlines that efficient initiatives from hospitals with lower 30-day rehospitalizations are, to a certain extent, the result of participating with inpatient and outpatient care providers, such as San Diego Home Caregivers, who can provide a continuum of care.

The hospitals discussed in the article provided the guidelines below to reduce hospital readmissions:

  • Begin getting ready for a patient’s discharge from a hospital stay on the day of admission. When a senior is admitted to the hospital, call a home care agency, such as San Diego Home Caregivers, to implement a plan for in-home care upon being discharged. Patient outcomes are more positive when home care services are initiated as early as possible following discharge.
  • Identify patients who might be at an elevated risk for difficulties after discharge for additional care coordination and/or case management services. (Ensure social workers see all patients age 80 and over to provide support with care needs.)
  • Use technology to assess, track, or refer patients.
  • Conduct an in-depth analysis of the patient’s care needs, risk factors, available resources, understanding and management of the disease or health condition, and level of family support.

At San Diego Home Caregivers, leading providers of home care in La Jolla and surrounding areas, we recognize how important it is to create a transitional care plan in order to ensure a safe discharge home from the hospital and reduce the risk of readmission. Our team of experts can begin planning a customized plan of care starting on day one of their hospital stay, monitoring their health and making sure that care plans are implemented as soon as they return home. Call us at (619) 487-9000 or complete our online contact form to discover more about how we can help someone you love transition from hospital to home, reducing the risk of readmission by utilizing professional home care services including:

  • Providing training and assistance with chronic condition management
  • Medication reminders to improve adherence to the prescribed plan
  • Assisting with coordination and balance
  • Skilled nursing services
  • And many more

Avoid an unnecessary follow-up hospital visit by partnering with San Diego Home Caregivers to improve patient outcomes for a safe discharge home from the hospital. Our team of experts is available to provide support according to a customized plan of care. See our full service area.

How to Help a Loved One Avoid the Emergency Room this Holiday Season

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avoid the emergency room this holiday season

Hospitals see an increased number of older adults around the holidays.

While we’d like to imagine enjoying a Norman Rockwell-worthy holiday celebration, with all of our loved ones spending quality time together, and Grandma’s traditional holiday feast, the reality is that numerous families will instead experience something unforeseen: an E/R visit. In fact, research shows that emergency room visits for older adults increase around 10 – 20% during the holidays.

Although pinpointing the reason behind this statistical increase is tricky, one issue could be that family members who have not been spending significant time with an elderly relative, discover during a visit for the holiday, that his/her health condition has deteriorated.

Dr. Tamara Kuittinen of Lenox Hill Hospital shares, “It’s an issue of out of sight, out of mind for many people. If you haven’t seen your mom in six months, you may not be fully aware of the aging process and her health in general.”

Not only that, there are some common changes related to aging that may be misconstrued, causing family members to feel that an E/R visit is required.

There are, nonetheless, some proactive measures that can be taken to help seniors avoid the emergency room this holiday season:

  • Maintain a listing of contact information for your loved one’s primary care physician and other medical specialists. Make sure the list contains all medications prescribed by each physician and any medication allergies or other issues. Contacting the appropriate doctor for his/her suggestions about your concerns is a wise first step prior to an E/R visit, unless of course the older person is experiencing a true emergency.
  • Talk with the older adult about appointing a health care proxy, who will be able to make health decisions if your loved one is unable to do so. Make certain a living will is in place as well.
  • Check in with your senior loved one regularly during the course of the year. For family members who live at a distance, it’s beneficial to enlist the aid of your loved one’s neighbors or close friends to stop in to see the senior routinely and to update you with any changes they notice.

Of course, if it is an actual emergency, never hesitate to call 911 and seek the emergency medical care required immediately.

A professional home care agency, like San Diego Home Caregivers, is the ideal solution to make sure your loved ones continue to remain healthy and well, and that any changes in condition are addressed immediately – so the holidays will remain as festive and enjoyable as they should be. Just a few of the many ways we can help include:

  • Medication reminders
  • Meal planning and preparation
  • Household chores and laundry
  • Personal care assistance
  • And many more

Call us at (619) 487-9000 to learn more about our professional home care services, arrange for a free in-home assessment, and to find out if our services are available in your area.  Our team of high-qualified professionals are available to provide customized La Jolla area elder care over the holidays and year-round. See our full service area to see if we serve your community.

How to Overcome Senior Fitness Hurdles and Improve Wellbeing

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senior fitness hurdles - at home nursing in san diego

San Diego Home Caregivers offers suggestions on how to overcome senior fitness hurdles to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle through exercise.

Establishing a routine exercise habit is challenging at any age. Working out is tedious. We would prefer not to expend the time. We’re feeling the pain from yesterday’s workout. We’ve all made excuses such as these for not staying physically fit; but frailty and advanced age make it even more difficult to stick with an exercise routine and overcome senior fitness hurdles 

San Diego Home Caregivers, provider of in-home senior help in San Diego and the surrounding area, is here to help the elderly continue to remain more physically active with suggestions to overcome the following normal senior fitness hurdles: 

  • Self-confidence: It’s natural for aging adults to feel some level of stress with the concept of achieving exercise objectives. It can be beneficial to begin slowly with exercises that are easily accomplished and advance slowly; and, encourage the senior consistently. 
  • Attitude: Attitude is so crucial when it comes to exercise. If approached negatively, it will be much more difficult to stay with an effective exercise regimen. Opt for activities that will be enjoyable and that the older person will look forward to. 
  • Pain: The expression, “No pain, no gain” actually isn’t true. Older individuals should prevent overdoing it, and scale back the level of intensity if sensing pain or discomfort. 
  • Disabilities: Older adults with physical or cognitive limitations can and should remain active according to their ability level. Consult the doctor for a referral to a personal trainer or physical therapist who can come up with a program of specialized exercises. 
  • Fear of Injury/Balance Problems: There are a range of assistive devices to permit safe, effective exercising without worry of falls while still enhancing senior fitness. 
  • Financial Concerns: It does not have to cost a lot of money to stay fit! Walking and other simplistic exercises in and around the senior’s home, making use of ordinary household objects can be incorporated into an exercise plan at little to no cost. 
  • Illness or Fatigue: Exercises can be personalized to match the older individual’s energy level, and he or she may gradually increase the endurance level over time. 

Keep in mind that the way to ongoing positive results with an exercise plan is to ensure the senior feels comfortable and safe with the plan and the exercises. If discomfort is observed in muscles or joints the next day after exercising, a reduced intensity can be put in place; and check with the doctor if the pain or discomfort continues.  

San Diego Home Caregivers will work with your loved one’s doctor to develop a safe exercise plan in accordance with his or her abilities to boost strength, independence, and overall quality of life. Contact us at 619.487.9000 to learn more about the advantages of daily exercise in improving senior fitness and to learn more about how our in-home senior help in San Diego in and the surrounding area can help!