8 Qualities & Characteristics that Define a Caregiver

Being a caregiver is an incredibly rewarding experience that can offer many amazing benefits. From the sense of satisfaction, you get from helping someone in need to the strengthened bond you form with the person you’re caring for, there are plenty of reasons to be proud of being a caregiver. Here are just a few of the reasons why caregivers are amazing people:

1. Constantly Giving of Themselves

Caregivers are always putting the needs of others before their own. They’re always willing to lend a helping hand, whether it’s running errands, cooking meals, providing transportation, or simply being a companion. This selfless attitude is one of the most admirable qualities a person can have.

2. Great Communicators

Caregivers know how to communicate effectively with the people in which they are providing care. They understand that different people have different communication needs, and they’re able to adjust their style accordingly. This ability to communicate clearly is essential in providing quality care.

3. Have a Lot of Patience

Caregivers know that some days are going to be more challenging than others but the patience shown when faced with opposition is unmatched. This patience is often very helpful in diffusing difficult situations.

4. Flexible

Caregivers are flexible people who are able to adapt to changing circumstances. They’re able to roll with the punches and make necessary adjustments on the fly. This ability to go with the flow is a valuable asset in any caregiver’s toolkit.

5. Have a Positive Outlook

Caregivers understand that there will be good days and bad days. They try to focus on the positive and find the silver lining in every situation. This positive outlook is contagious and can often help the people they’re caring for feel better about themselves.

6. They are Resourceful

Caregivers are always looking for new ways to help their patients. They’re constantly researching new resources and keeping up with the latest developments in home health care. This resourcefulness is invaluable in providing quality patient care.

7. Caregivers are Strong

Caregivers are some of the strongest people you’ll ever meet. They have to be because they deal with challenging situations on a daily basis. They have to be strong for not only their patients but their patients’ families as well, even when they don’t feel like it themselves.

8. Compassionate

Caregivers are some of the most compassionate people one can ever encounter. They genuinely care about the people and have a desire to make their lives as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. This compassion is one of the key defining characteristics of a caregiver.


Why You Should Consider a Career as a Caregiver

Caregivers play an important role in the lives of their patients. They provide physical and emotional support, which can make all the difference in the world for patients who are battling illnesses or injuries. Caregivers are also vital for providing continuity of care, which can be crucial for patients who are recovering from surgery or a long hospital stay.

Becoming a caregiver can be a rewarding experience, both professionally and personally. If you have a passion for helping others and want to make a difference in the lives of those around you, then becoming a caregiver may be the perfect career choice for you. Here’s why:

1. Sense of Accomplishment

Caregivers generally report feeling a great sense of accomplishment from the work they do. This is likely because caregiving requires a high level of compassion and empathy, which are two traits that can be difficult to find. In addition, caregivers often report feeling a deep sense of satisfaction from knowing that they are helping others on a daily basis.

2. Build Close Relationships

There are many other reasons why someone might want to become a caregiver. For example, caregivers often have the opportunity to build close relationships with those they care for. This can be a very rewarding experience, as it allows caregivers to really get to know the people they are helping. In addition, caregivers often have flexible schedules, which can be a great perk for those with busy lives.

3. Make A Difference

Caregivers have the opportunity to make a real difference in someone’s life. They are the unsung heroes of the world, and they are essential in helping those who need it the most.

When you become a caregiver, you can help people with their activities of daily living, and you can provide them with companionship and support. This can be an incredibly rewarding experience, and it can make a significant difference in their lives.

4. Great Way to Give Back

When you become a caregiver, you can use your skills to help others. You can provide them with companionship, support, and care. Caregiving is a great way to give back because it provides an opportunity to make a real difference in someone else’s life.

It can be extremely rewarding to help another person manage their illness, recover from surgery, or simply listen when needed. Caregiving also allows you to build strong relationships and create lasting memories.

5. A Rewarding Experience

When it comes to finding a career that is fulfilling, many people may overlook the option of becoming a caregiver. However, this is an incredibly rewarding profession that allows you to become part of a new family and experience what it’s like to dedicate your life to others.


Join Our Team as a Caregiver

Caring for someone is one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have. The sense of satisfaction you get from helping someone in need and the strengthened bond you form with the person you’re caring for are just a few of the reasons why caregivers are amazing people.

If being a caregiver sounds like something you’d be interested in, join us now and become part of our team of dedicated and passionate individuals. We’re always looking for new members who want to make a difference in the lives of others. Check out our home health careers and apply today!


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Caregivers Provide Light Housekeeping Services for Seniors | Elder Care, Senior Home Care Helping Seniors Live Well at Home

Respiratory Therapy & Care

When we think of respiratory problems, we automatically understand that a case of this nature could be potentially life-threatening because, without our respiratory system, we cannot function. However, some specialists can help provide you with the best treatment to improve your quality of life for these respiratory problems. These therapies or respiratory care include evaluating and diagnosing a patient with respiratory issues and providing treatment plans, management, and ongoing assessment to improve and help a better quality of life for people living with this problem. A patient of any age, especially someone older, can receive respiratory therapy as many diseases, injuries, conditions, and symptoms can impact breathing. Patients would benefit from care to make breathing easier.


Home Health Companions provides Respiratory care for patients in the short-term, long-term, and indefinitely for rehabilitation after an illness or for patients with progressive diseases that will not recover. Respiratory therapy involves using many tools, strategies, technology, and equipment to manage symptoms and improve breathing over time.

While it’s simple to hire any group to aid you or your family with breathing problems, you want a group dedicated to sticking with you and providing the best care. At Home Health Companions, our trained nurses help to guide you through your healing or coping processing with the guidelines created by your Respiratory therapists responsible for evaluating and treating you. In making the best route for care to resolve or assist problems and illnesses within the lungs, The main priority is diagnosing your issue, whether lung disease or breathing disorders, managing breathing equipment, and evaluating your blood oxygen levels.

Our program helps individuals who suffer from issues with breathing, such as:

  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Cardiac Failure
  • COPD
  • Emphysema
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Lung Cancer

In addition to your treatment plans we:

  • Assisting doctors in creating and monitoring treatment plans
  • Educate patients about their conditions and properly use therapeutic types of equipment
  • Measure the lung capacity of our patients to determine the severity of your condition
  • Providing essential treatments for diseases
  • Taking notes and keeping records of each patients’ treatments and prognoses
  • We provide in-home assistance with cooking and much more
  • Aid in transport if a patient needs to travel, whether for medical or other reasons.

Get the help and service you need to achieve better respiratory function.



What is Respiratory Therapy? | Becoming a Respiratory Therapist (

Respiratory Therapy | Standards of Care

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Tips for Safely Navigating Spring Texas Storms as a Caregiver

The weather in Texas can be unpredictable during the spring. Beautiful and sunny weather, could quickly turn into a severe thunderstorm with high winds and hail. We have recently experienced a number of severe thunderstorms with hail and tornadoes. As a caregiver, it’s important to be prepared for any type of weather emergency for not only yourself but for your patients as well. It’s important to be informed with the most likely natural disasters, stay up to date with weather alerts and prepare an emergency plan. In the event of bad weather, these tips can help you safely navigate spring Texas storms.

How to Stay Safe in a Tornado

Tornadoes can be extremely dangerous, and they can occur without warning. It’s important to know that a tornado watch means a tornado is possible in and near the watch area. A tornado warning means a tornado has been spotted and you should immediately take cover. According to the National Weather Service, the best way to protect yourself from a tornado is to take shelter in a sturdy building. If you are not in the position to take cover in a sturdy building nearby, take cover in a ditch or low-lying area. In the event of a tornado, you should:

  1. Stay away from windows to avoid injuries from flying glass. If you can’t stay away from windows, try to find a safe place to hide, such as a basement or an interior room without windows.
  2. Stay off of porches and balconies. If you’re on a porch or balcony, go inside immediately.
  3. Avoid open spaces. Find a safe place to hide like a low-lying area such as a ditch or ravine.
  4. Stay away from power lines and poles.
  5. Keep yourself and your family together.
  6. Don’t try to outrun the tornado.
  7. Take cover immediately in basement or an interior room without windows. If you can’t find a safe place, lie flat on the ground and cover your head with your hands.

Stay Safe from High Winds with These Tips

High winds can cause just as much danger to caregivers and patients as more severe storms. According to the National Weather Service, sustained wind speed of 58mph or higher is considered damaging and have the potential to cause injuries due to downed lines or flying debris. Follow these tips to stay safe during high winds:

  1. Stay inside if possible.
  2. Wear sturdy shoes to prevent losing your balance.
  3. Use caution when driving.
  4. Stay away from power lines and poles.

Be Prepared During Hail

Hail is precipitation in the form of ice that falls like rain and can be the size of a grapefruit or larger. If not prepared, hail can be extremely deadly. Follow these tips to stay safe during hail:

  1. Quickly find shelter indoors.
  2. If you have to go outside during a hail storm, wear a hat or helmet.
  3. Stay away from windows as hail can cause glass to break possibly resulting in injuries.
  4. Protect your head and face if you are not able to find shelter by crouching down while covering your head with your hands.

What to do When Lightning Strikes

The leading cause of weather-related fatalities is due to lightning, according to the National Weather Service. Lightning can be hotter than the Sun’s surface so if someone has been struck, contact 9-1-1 immediately. Follow these tips to help prevent injuries during a storm:

  1. Find shelter indoors as quickly as possible.
  2. Stay away from windows.
  3. Don’t stand under trees.
  4. Avoid metal objects.
  5. Stay away from water.

How to Remain Safe in Case of a Flood

Flooding can occur quickly as water accumulates. For your safety, it is crucial to avoid walking or driving through a large accumulation of water or floodwaters. If you encounter flooding while driving, turn around and find an alternate route. If you’re caught in a flood, these tips can help you remain safe:

  1. Stay away from moving water.
  2. Don’t walk through floodwaters.
  3. Turnaround or find an alternate route to avoid driving through floodwaters.
  4. Stay on higher ground.
  5. Don’t enter a flooded building.
  6. Watch for hazards in floodwaters like sharp objects, animals, and other dangers.

Being Prepared Means Staying Safe

Spring storms can be dangerous, but with a little preparation and the tips above, you can keep your patients safe as well as yourself. Part of being prepared means assessing the needs medical and physical needs of your patients so that in case of an emergency, you will know how to respond. Lastly, it’s critical to always heed the advice of local emergency officials. Sign up for local weather alerts and stay safe!

If you’re looking to join a team that makes caregiver and patient safety a priority, search our home health careers.

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Hypertension & Heart Disease 

Are you or a loved one living with hypertension or heart disease and seeking care. Home Health Companions is the group for you. When living with Hypertension or heart disease, there are numerous things that you must take into account, like the complications that come with these health issues. 

High blood pressure puts you at risk for: 

  • Cerebrovascular disease. 
  • Chronic kidney disease. 
  • Congestive heart failure. 
  • Coronary artery disease. 
  • Peripheral arterial disease. 
  • Retinal disease. 

Herat diseases such as coronary artery disease (CAD) and Left Ventricular Hypertrophy (LVH) can put you at risk for: 

  • Aneurysm.  
  • Arrhythmia: your heart beats abnormally 
  • Heart attack: blood flow to the heart is interrupted, and the heart muscle dies from lack of oxygen 
  • Heart failure: your heart is unable to pump enough blood to the rest of your body 
  • Ischemic heart disease: your heart doesn’t get enough oxygen 
  • Peripheral artery disease.  
  • Stroke and sudden death 
  • Sudden cardiac arrest. 

While Hypertension, generally known as High blood pressure, means having higher than normal blood levels, Heart disease is any condition that affects the structure or function of the heart. However, even with the two being different high blood pressure may place you at risk for heart disease.  

The main risks factor for heart disease is high blood pressure. Your risk increases if: 

  • you’re overweight 
  • you’re not physically active enough as needed  
  • you smoke 
  • you have a high intake of fat and cholesterol 

The treatment of Hypertension and heart disease varies depending on their severity. Therefore over at Home Health Companions, we offer private duty nursing staff specifically trained to assist you with tracking your blood pressure and a heart condition. Moreover, we provide ongoing care, including transportation, in-home help with food preparation, general care preparation, companionship, and medication management.  


Medications used to treat heart disease and Hypertension may include the following as the primary goals are to prevent blood clotting, improve blood flow, and lower cholesterol levels: 

  • Aspirin to prevent blood clots 
  • Calcium channel blockers and ACE inhibitors to help lower blood pressure 
  • Nitrates to treat chest pain 
  • Statins to treat high cholesterol 
  • Water pills to help lower blood pressure 

Adjusting to the idea that you have to prioritize your medications and maintain a particular lifestyle can become too much. Seek help with Home Health Companions as we’ll guide and take care of you every step of the way.  

Get help! Check out our website @ 




Hypertension and heart disease | OSF HealthCare 


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How to Spring Forward Your Home Health Caregiver Career

Spring Forward Your Career as Home Health Caregiver with These Tips

Spring is almost here, in fact, we spring forward on March 13th. That means it’s a great time to give your home health career a boost and continue to grow and improve in your field as a home health caregiver.

In this blog post, we will discuss some of the top tips from industry experts on how to spring forward your home health caregiver career in 2022. Check out the tips below.

  1. Stay up to date with the latest industry trends

One of the best ways to stay ahead in your career is to stay up to date with the latest industry trends. As a result of the pandemic, there are always new developments and policy changes. It’s important to stay up to date regarding any changes that might impact patient care. Organizations like National Association for Home Care and Hospice and PHI, share the latest in federal updates and legislation. You can easily stay up-to-date on the latest health care news by signing up for newsletters from these professional organizations, reading industry publications/blogs, or following them on social media.

  1. Get certified

Another great way to further your home health caregiver career is to get certified. There are a number of different certification programs available, so be sure to do your research and find one that is best suited for you. There are many great resources available online, including the best home health certification programs of 2022 that list a variety of different certification programs, as well as costs associated. This could also involve getting a certification in a specific area of care, such as dementia care or wound care. By doing this, you will be able to demonstrate that you have the skills and knowledge necessary to provide high-quality care for your patients.

A great start could be online courses that teach or enhance your skills as a home health care provider. This can be done from any computer, and it’s extremely easy! All you need is access to high-speed internet, some time on your hands, as well as patience while learning. Furthermore, Home Health Companions offers online training through its Home Health Companions University to advance the skills of caregivers and the safety of clients. Continuing education and training can help set you apart from other health professionals and give you an edge when it comes to your next career move.

  1. Network with other professionals

As a caregiver, it can be challenging to network with other professionals outside of your usual work setting. However, networking with doctors, nurses and other health professionals can help provide greater career focus and an idea of career progression. Understanding where you want to go in your career will help you set goals and achieve them with proper planning.

Networking can also spring you into your next career. Most companies these days offer referral programs and the larger your network, the more opportunities you have to find your next caregiver job.

Wondering how to network with so little time? Here’s how:

    • Leverage social media and expand your network by following friends, family, and peers
    • Get to know your colleagues
    • Join organizations and professional associations
    • Attend conferences, virtual or in-person, and engage in discussion
  1. Take on new challenges

One of the best ways to further your career is to take on new challenges. If you’re always doing the same thing, you’ll never learn or grow. So be sure to ask for additional responsibilities whenever possible and volunteer for projects that interest you. As we mentioned above, take courses or training that stretch beyond traditional caregiver skills like music, cooking, and fitness. This can offer different perspectives that can be used to engage and care for your patients.

  1. Make self-care a priority

A career as a home health caregiver can be very demanding so it’s important to put self-care at the top of your priority list. This can be difficult when your work schedule does not permit, but it’s essential to your own well-being and the quality of care that you provide. One way to focus on self-care is by setting goals for yourself and taking time to replenish. This can be done by focusing on nutrition, taking brief walks throughout the day, and making time for the things you enjoy most. Your self-care will exude positive energy for yourself and those around you.

A Rewarding Career in Home Health

Home health caregiving is a rewarding career that offers many opportunities for growth and development. If you’re dedicated to your work, there are plenty of ways to advance and further your career. Join a home health team that helps you spring forward in your career as a caregiver. Learn more about the job opportunities at Home Health Companions.


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Healthy Tips for Nurses and Caregivers for National Nutrition Month

As a caregiver or nurse, it can be very challenging to live a healthy lifestyle as you are always on-the-go and working to keep your patients healthy. March is National Nutrition Month, and that means it’s time to focus on ways to improve our diets and stay healthy.

Home Health Companions has put together some tips to help you maintain your healthy lifestyle as you continue to provide exceptional patient care. Although it can be tough to find time for meal prep or to pack healthy snacks, it can be very beneficial and key to getting a nutritious and balanced diet. Here are a few tips you might consider:

1. Meal prep lunches.

If you have a few hours on the weekend, set aside some time to cook up some healthy lunches for the week. This will save you time and money, and it’s a lot healthier than eating out or buying pre-packaged meals. You can cook up simple meals like grilled chicken or fish, quinoa bowls, or salad jars. If you have a bit more time, you can also try out new delicious and healthy meal prep recipes.

2. Pack healthy snacks.

When you’re on the go, it’s important to have some healthy snacks handy. This will help you avoid resorting to unhealthy options, like fast food or sugary snacks. Some healthy snack ideas include fruit, nuts and seeds, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, veggie sticks with hummus, and whole-grain crackers with cheese.

3. Reduce caffeine intake and drink more water.

Caffeine can be a major drain on our energy levels, especially if we’re drinking it throughout the day. Try to reduce your caffeine intake and make sure you’re drinking plenty of water instead. A great way to be sure you are drinking enough water is by keeping a refillable water bottle handy. This will help you stay hydrated no matter where you are. A study published by John Hopkins University showed that drinking more water can help reduce calorie intake and promote weight loss. This is especially important for caregivers and nurses who are often on their feet and burning lots of energy.

4. Keep in mind a balanced diet.

It’s important to remember that our diets should be balanced and include all of the major food groups. When we’re busy, it can be easy to forget about this and fall into bad habits.

According to experts, a balanced diet includes:

  • Fruits and vegetables of all different colors
  • Grains (at least half of which should be whole grains)
  • Protein (lean and plant-based options)
  • Dairy
  • Oils

Be sure you’re getting enough fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and healthy fats. And if you can, try to get most of your nutrients from real food instead of supplements.

5. Try to get enough sleep.

Last but not least, make sure you’re getting enough sleep. This can be extremely challenging depending on your work schedule. However, it’s so important for our overall health. Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep each night and create a bedtime routine that will help you wind down before bed.


National Nutrition Month is a great reminder and opportunity to refocus on our health and make some positive changes. Following these tips will hopefully help you make better choices for your health and improve your overall wellness. Make it a point this month to put your health first and develop healthy habits. You will be your best self for those you provide care for daily.

Looking to make a career change? We are always seeking caregivers to help keep our clients healthy. Search our home health careers and apply here.

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Why You Should Consider a Career in Healthcare Recruitment

Are you seeking a career where you have the potential to impact the lives of caregivers and their patients? Consider a rewarding career as a home health recruiter and care coordinator. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall career growth in healthcare is estimated to grow 16 percent by the year 2030. As the healthcare industry continues to grow, there will be an even great need for healthcare recruiters to help match qualified caregivers to amazing career opportunities. Here are just a few reasons why you should consider a career in home health recruiting.


Benefits of Being a Home Health Recruiter

Potential to Grow

Health care is continually evolving. One of the many things we’ve learned from the pandemic is that change is necessary and so is innovation. As a result, new health care roles were introduced and other health care roles grew in importance, like home health caregivers. The innovation and evolution of healthcare will continue to drive the career growth of home health recruiters. As the home health landscape changes and the U.S. population continues to age, we will always need great recruiters to help us find spectacular caregivers to be companions to our clients.

Make a Real Impact

Help caregivers find their dream job while ultimately helping patients find amazing companions. In your role as a home health recruiter, your ability to help caregivers has the potential to change their career trajectory. Many caregivers have done extensive training with plans to continue their education to go on to be a nurse. Others might have become caregivers by having to care for their loved ones. Either way, there’s an opportunity to help these health professionals throughout every step of their career. You can take pride in knowing by helping these professionals, you are potentially saving lives.

Build Lasting Relationships

As a home health recruiter, you will connect with a number of professionals with the potential to build lasting relationships. You will not only recruit exceptional caregivers but you will also schedule care givers to fulfill client needs. This will help forge real relationships and possibly friendships as you are matching the needs of the care givers with client’s needs.

We’re Hiring

As you can see, the benefits add up as you dive deep into this career. If you’re interested in making an impact while furthering your career in home health, apply today for the home health recruiter and care coordinator job at Home Health Companions.

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Home Health Companions Receives 2022 Best of Home Care® – Employer of Choice Award

It’s official! Home Health Companions is excited to announce that we have received the 2022 Best of Home Care – Employer of Choice Award from Home Care Pulse for the fourth year. The Employer of Choice Award is granted only to the top-ranking home care providers, based on caregiver satisfaction scores gathered by Home Care Pulse, an independent satisfaction research firm for home care. Home Health Companions is recognized among the best employers of in-home caregivers in the region.

“We’re excited to congratulate Home Health Companions for their well-deserved achievement: earning the Best of Home Care – Employer of Choice Award,” says Todd Austin, President of Home Care Pulse. “Since this award is based on employee feedback, it shows the dedication Home Health Companions has to providing their employees with a great working experience, ensuring clients have well-trained, compassionate caregivers.”

Best of Home Care – Employer of Choice award-winning providers work with Home Care Pulse to gather feedback from their caregivers via live phone interviews each month. Because Home Care Pulse is an independent company, it is able to collect honest and unbiased feedback.

“It’s truly an honor to be recognized as a Best of Home Care – Employer of Choice for the fourth year,” says Lisa Shardon, President of Home Health Companions. “This award is a testament of how we continue to support our employees and provide opportunities for growth like our Home Health Companions University and Concierge caregiver program.”

We’re Hiring!

Find out why our caregivers love working for Home Health Companions, explore our careers here.

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Diabetes Care

Diabetes is a lifelong treatable yet deadly disease if it’s not treated quickly and correctly; the condition is a case in which the body either can’t produce or properly use the insulin produced in the Pancreas. Insulin is an essential substance created in our bodies as it helps to carefully regulate the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood to ensure that the body functions appropriately. A high amount of sugar within the blood can result in organ failure or damage to our nerve or blood vessels.  

Symptoms of Diabetes  

  • Blurred vision  
  • Darkened skin (armpits and neck). This condition often indicates insulin resistance. 
  • Erectile dysfunction 
  • Fatigue (feeling tired or lethargic), irritability, and anger  
  • Frequent or recurring infections 
  • Frequent urination  
  • Fruity-smelling breath: This can be a warning sign of diabetic ketoacidosis. In this condition, ketones build up in the blood, mainly affecting type 1 diabetes and requiring prompt medical attention. 
  • Increased thirst  
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet 
  • Slow-healing cuts and bruises 
  • Unexplained weight loss 


Types of Diabetes  

  • Gestational diabetes- occurs during pregnancy and puts both mother and child at risk of developing diabetes later.   
  • Prediabetes – blood sugar levels are higher than usual but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. 
  • Type 1 – This is a condition in which a person cannot produce or regulate insulin because the body is attacking the Pancreas (insulin-dependent diabetes, also known as autoimmune) 
  • Type 2 – This is a condition in which a person cannot regulate the insulin produced by their body. 

People should treat a condition like this with a high level of care, so Home Health Companions provides a way for clients to be given the help they need to reduce the chances of it becoming deadly. With diabetes, you have to ensure you eat on time, seek the physician’s help once you have an open wound, and maintain a healthy diet. 

What we offer at Home Health Companions is: 

  • Wound care  
  • Medication management  
  • In-home help  
  • Meal preps  
  • Wellness checks  


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Wound Care: Prevention and Management of Chronic Wounds

Wound Care 

What does Home Health Companion provide for wound care, and why is it important? 

A wound is created from an internal or external break in the body’s tissue. Almost everyone has had a laceration, avulsion, abrasion, or puncture, whether minor or severe, but how it is cared for determines how well this wound will heal.  

Each wound requires a different level of care; some can be treated at home, and others may need the attention of doctors or trained personnel. Treatments range from many approaches such as debriding, removing stitches, taking pain medication to handle the pain, plus bandage changes, and more.  

Treatment is necessary to prevent infections due to improper care and neglect of the appropriate steps to ensure the area is cleaned and bandaged, depending on the type of wound. Injuries affect both the younger and older demographic, but members of the aging population are at a more significant disadvantage. Severe wounds may be caused by heart transplants or hip replacements that are more popular amongst older individuals but do not exclude the younger demographic in cases like these or other instances. Full-time or part-time care is needed. However, finding a suitable facility to provide the help necessary can be very tedious.  

Advantages of Wound Care: 

  • It reduces the risk of infections (Necrotizing fasciitis & Cellulitis) 
  • It helps to make healing faster  
  • It allows better medication and pain management 
  • It tracks the healing progress 
  • It helps in regaining full mobility 
  • Limits possibility of the wound having to be reopened 


Any facility can provide care, but Home Health Companions offers the best care with trained personnel to ensure each client receives the care their injury requires. The severity of a wound determines the level of attention a wound will need, especially if it needs to remain open, with HHC for wound care includes: 

  • Bandage changes to keep the area clean while it heals 
  • Debriding/ cleaning the wound  
  • Monitoring the healing process 
  • Medication management  
  • Helping with household chores to ensure the wound doesn’t require strenuous activity. 
  • Checking for infections or signs of infection  


When you want the best care to heal or even help you or a family member throughout the healing process, choose Home Health Companions. We are trained, and above all, we want to see you get better for yourself and the people that care about you.  

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Wound Care Stages

Pain management

Pain is any discomforting feeling you experience when something is wrong, either physically or mentally. The discomfort experienced may cause insurmountable pain in some instances, which requires a pain management plan to help alleviate this issue. Pain Management is highly effective, and they help eliminate potential substance abuse by trying to decrease the discomfort being experienced by an individual.  


The most common causes of pain include: 

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  • medical conditions 
  • surgery. 


There are two main types of pain:  

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Pain management is designed to fit each client/ patient based on the pain range from intensity, duration, aggravation, relieving conditions, and cause. Pain management has a role in identifying the precise source of the problem and isolating the optimal treatment. 



A person’s emotional wellbeing can impact the experience of pain, understanding the cause, and learning the appropriate ways to cope. Home Health Companions sees the need for Pain Management and the necessity of using the proper treatment to manage and increase our client’s quality of life. The pain a client/patient feels may take them away from their daily routines, so Home Health Companions works hard to prevent or decrease this issue by providing care or treatment the best way possible.  

Key pain management strategies include: 

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  • Psychological treatments  
  • Physical therapy 
  • Support groups.  


The right choice of medicine depends on:  

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  •  lifestyle impact such as loss of appetite or quality of sleep 
  • Medical conditions  
  • Another medication intake 



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Health Care Services

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Postoperative Care or Post-op Care is the immediate care a patient receives after surgery throughout the inpatient( (admission) and outpatient (discharge) period if necessary.

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Postoperative care is highly effective and can refer to any needs after surgery, such as care coordination, including wound care, pain and medication management, bathing, eating, and other necessities. Trained rehabilitation specialists work closely with patients to restore their quality of life, and Home Health Companions provides that for all patients.

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Choosing Home Health Companions to recover is the best decision you could make. Reduce the risk of complications and return to your daily routine most effectively and efficiently, thanks to our trained team of nurses and specialists prepared to care for your needs after any surgery.



Advantages of Postoperative Care:

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Health Care Services

The importance medication management and delegation

According to the National Institutes of Health, about 50% of American patients fail to take their medications properly, contributing to 700,000 emergency room visits and approximately 10.7 million prescription misuse. Through Medication Management from a licensed healthcare professional, clients can ensure proper consumption of prescribed medications and achieve a therapeutic outcome, as intended by the physician. Medication Management from a healthcare professional limits the chances of medicine under or overdose while increasing the likelihood of appropriate medication administration. Medication Management is one aspect of proper medication administration, and Medication Delegation is another.  

Medication Delegation is when legally qualified healthcare professional with authority to perform medication administration transfers that authority through delegation to an unauthorized person. During this process, unauthorized personnel is trained by the healthcare professional to oversee a patient’s medication intake, administration, progress, side effects, and communicate with doctors. 

Home Health Companions provide access to both Medication Management and Medication Delegation to ensure the proper health of our clients. 


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● Assessment of current medication management 

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Medication Management and Delegation are two actions that work well individually but even better together. As people get older, the number of medications and the complexities of how they are to be taken may increase. This poses difficulty in keeping up with daily or hourly medication reminders, and a more hands-on approach may be necessary. Home Health Companions can provide trained individuals with Medication Management and Medication Delegation services to improve a patient’s quality of life by taking the stress away from at-home medication upkeep. Both processes include setting up a daily regimen for clients based on their specific needs. This process includes identifying issues within a patient’s current medical plan and setting a new way of achieving the client’s medical goals based on the agreement between the doctor, caregiver, and the client’s health care providers.  


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Home Health companions are one of few home healthcare providers that offer Medication Management and Medication Delegation services. These efforts help decrease client hospital readmissions associated with medication misuse. We aim to give families and clients peace of mind in knowing they are appropriately cared for. 


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Он меня бесповоротно устраивает, но обновления не выходят еще пару лет и мою модель смартфона. Пробовал ставить кастомные прошивки, но вообще глюков и тормозов. Вышла новая версия приложения v. 74. Ждем официального релиза от разработчиков. Покуда можно скачать догадку v. 73 а обновиться через меню настроек, если при запуске приложения вы не было предложено загрузить последнюю версию. И не было никаких ограничений и ввод и вывод выигранных средств, если вы сначала воспользовались одним из укороченных способов регистрации.

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Benefits of Yoga for Seniors: A Beginner’s Guide

If you have this idea that yoga is only for those who are young, fit, and able to contort as if they’re double-jointed, then you are in for a surprise. Yoga has become a hugely popular fitness activity for both young and older people alike.

Per The Good Body, between 2012 and 2016, the number of people engaged in yoga grew by more than 50% and continues to trend upward today. Seniors comprise a substantial increase, having risen in numbers by 300% in that same period and continue to increase.

Yes, you read right: 300%.

Seniors already know that exercise helps them ward off pain, improve mobility, and stay healthy longer. Yoga has proven one more way to enjoy the benefits of better range-of-motion, increased strength, expanded lung capacity, as well as feeling a greater sense of wellbeing.

You don’t have to cart around a yoga mat or even greet people saying “namaste” to join in and begin a yoga practice. Yoga can be modified for you no matter your physical level which makes it perfect for you regardless of age.

Here we highlight a brief history and some basics to immerse you into the world of yoga, along with some easy beginner poses you can try at home. As with any new exercise you want to do, consult with your doctor before you begin.


The Backstory of Yoga in the U.S.

It might feel like yoga is a new trend for those of us in the U.S., but per History its introduction is attributed to a Hindu monk named Vivekanada who came to Chicago in 1893. He provided lectures about yoga for the World’s Columbian Exposition. The concept he described, however, was rooted primarily with a philosophical focus rather than the posed-based version people associate with yoga today.

By the 20th century, a physical activity focused yoga came into practice offered Swami Kuvalayananda. He saw the correlation between a yoga and its benefits for medicine. This yoga, termed Hatha, became popular in India in the 1930s and largely favored in the United States.

Yoga rose in popularity by the 1990s with a mainstream audience when it was picked up by fitness gurus and celebrities.


The Language of Yoga

The purpose of many yoga styles is to help people cultivate a mind and body connection through stretching, breathing, strengthening, and balance by way of poses (called ansanas). There are over a dozen different types of yoga practices.

Here we highlight a few that you’ll see most often:

  • Hatha – Features a slow-paced series of sitting and standing poses. The focus is stretching, not boosting your heart rate.
  • Iyengar – A methodical and precise form of yoga with an emphasis on form. Participants use tools like bolsters and straps to help them achieve the poses with correct alignment.
  • Kundalini – This is often called “yoga of the awareness” and can be appealing for those interested in a spiritual practice as well as the physical benefits.

Other popular types of yoga like Bikram and Ashtanga are more intense, which might not be best for seniors. There are always, however, modifications that can better suit a style for you. Chair yoga is one example where yoga poses are modified for those who cannot make the up and down transitions.


Basic Yoga Poses

Yoga for you should never push you or injure you but offer you the benefits of stretching and breathing. These are some basic poses which you should only do if you’ve been cleared by your physician to start.

Training in a group setting at your local gym, studio, or senior community center is also helpful. You’ll enjoy learning while being observed by a professional, and can make some new friends in the process.

Here are a few poses to give you an idea of what you might find in a class:

Upward Salute

Benefit: A natural way to stretch your entire body and give yourself a boost of energy. Helps reduce back pain and stiffness.

  • Stand up with feet firmly planted and use a wall for brace if needed.
  • Raise your arms overhead and reach as though you’re trying to touch something just out of reach.
  • Extend the stretch and breathe in and out a few times.

Tree Pose

Benefit: Helps with balance and core strength.

  • Stand straight with a long back and feet planted and aligned. Your arms should hang straight along either side of your body.
  • Take a few breaths and find an object on which to focus your attention.
  • Slowly shift your weight to your left leg and begin to raise your right foot off the floor. Align the sole of your right foot with the inside of your left thigh. Your toes should be pointing down and your pelvis should be completely straight. Repeat using the right leg for balance.

This can be modified in several ways depending on your needs. For additional balance try keeping a chair nearby to support you if you tilt. If you have weak knees you can do the pose while laying on your back. If you have problems with your lower back, try the pose against a wall for support.

Child’s Pose

Benefit: Helps to stretch hips, thighs, and ankles. Reduces stress and fatigue.

  • Begin on your hands and knees. Center your breath and begin to let your thoughts slow down.
  • Spread your knees wide apart while keeping the toes of your right foot touching the toes of your left. Sit into the pose and rest your buttocks on your heels.
  • Sit up straight and lengthen your spine up through the crown of your head.
  • On a deep and relaxed exhalation, bow forward, draping your torso between your thighs. Your chest should rest between or on top of your thighs. Allow your forehead to come down to the floor. Keep your arms long and extended with your palms facing down.
  • Press back slightly with your hands to keep your buttocks in contact with your heels. Lengthen your body from your hips and reach with your arms to extend the stretch further.
  • Soften and relax your lower back. Breathe slowly.
  • To release from the pose, gently use your hands to bring your torso back upright and sit back on your heels.

Plank Pose

Benefit: Tones the abdominal muscles while strengthening the arms and spine.

  • Begin on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders. Breathe smoothly.
  • Spread your fingers and press down through your forearm and hands. Do not let your chest collapse.
  • Gaze down between your hands, lengthening the back of your neck and drawing your abdominal muscles toward your spine.
  • Tuck your toes and step back with your feet, bringing your body and head into one straight line. Keep your thighs lifted, and keep your hips sinking. Your back should be straight and continue straight down your legs without your backend dipping.
  • In contrast, if your butt sticks up in the air, realign your body so your shoulders are directly above your wrists.
  • Draw your pelvic floor muscles toward your spine as you contract your abdominal muscles. Keep your head in line with your spine.
  • Extend the straightened stretch for while you breathe smoothly for five breaths.



It’s never too late to make the most of what you have. Perhaps in your youth you took the marvel of your body’s abilities for granted, but now you are wiser you can begin to care for you.

Whether you embrace it as yoga or just consider it exercise, stretching and focused breathing are both tools that can help you feel better instantly. Speak with your doctor, pick your place to learn, and then get out there and strike a pose!



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Dancing for Seniors: A Guide with Great Ideas

Exercise is important at every stage of life, but for seniors, it can significantly improve quality of life by improving balance and even cognitive health. No matter how old you are, find the activity you enjoy.

Because, really, who wants exercise to feel like drudgery? If you don’t, then consider dance as a better option for getting active. Laden with twirls and swooshes, dance comes off as fun.

Here, we’ll highlight what makes dance beneficial and unique, some popular styles of dance to consider, and then how to find instruction nearby.


Dance Benefits: More Than You’d Expect

The perks of dance are many. As with any form of exercise, particularly if you’ve been less active in recent years, be sure to consult with your doctor before getting started.

Here are the biggest benefits from dance:

  • Cognitive: Dancing is a multifaceted activity that engages more than just your body. You must learn the steps, which fires off synapsis and associations in your brain.

    Since dancing involves music, too, your brain is doing more work at a subtle level. Listening to music with its varied structures, sounds, and rhythms calls on your brain to process and make sense of what you hear.

  • Cardio: Music triggers hormones that raise your pleasure sensors enough to turn into happy feet. This means that you naturally get a cardio workout that you hardly notice.
  • Flexible and Mobile: Maybe you’ve heard the adage, “someone can’t chew gum and walk at the same time,” meaning they can’t do two things at once. For seniors, the ability to multi-task while on their feet does become more of a challenge over time.

    Then, poor balance leads to falls.

    By consistently engaging in dance, you become reacquainted with thinking fast on your feet—simply by working to keep your chasey in motion to the music.

    Per S. News, researchers found a 31% reduction in falls and a 37% reduction in fall risk for those aged 65 and older when reviewing clinical trials on “dance-based mind-motor activities” from around the world.

  • Creative: When you dance, you are also interpreting the music and expressing yourself through movement. You are an artist on your feet. Go ahead and allow yourself to channel a bit of Fred Astaire while you shimmy and sway. It’s good for your brain and spirit.
  • Social: As humans, we all need some level of human contact. And dancing is often a social affair! Even if you go for some form of line dancing rather than ballroom, you are among people doing an activity that everyone can enjoy. Being social is good for your mind, your body, and most importantly your sense of wellbeing.


Styles of Dance and Where to Find Instruction

Whether you have prior dance experience or not, and even if you can’t get up on your feet, there is dance that will work for you!

The essential component of dancing is to get your body moving to music and to engage your muscles and your mind. Here, we feature styles of dance you can explore:

  • Line dancing – Popular with country and western enthusiasts, this style of dancing involves groups gathering in lines and performing the same moves as a unit. There is something euphoric about people moving in unison!
  • Ballroom dancing – Formal movement by couples that include dance styles like the waltz, cha-cha, rumba, foxtrot and many others.
  • Jazzercise – This is touted as exercise, but really, it’s about moving to the music of jazz. If you love this type of music, you’ll be fooled into the fun of it rather than feeling you’re doing a workout.
  • Freeform – Let your dance creative flag fly! This is literally for everyone because you move as you feel the music.
  • Chair dancing – Also called seat dancing, this is moving to music while seated. You’d be surprised just how much cardio you can get from moving your arms and torso to rhythms while you sit!
  • Ballet – This is a dance that is precise and highly formalized for steps and gestures, and brings big benefits with all-encompassing movement of the body.
  • Folk dance – This could be dance that reflects traditional customs of specific places of origin.
  • Clogging or tap – Use your feet like instruments as they clack and clomp to music. Clogging is stamping your feet to music, and it originated from folk dance in the United States. Tap dancing is not just about moving your feet, but also about creating rhythms with taps on special shoes. You become part of the music, in a sense.


Where to Find Dance Instruction

The most obvious place people will find dance instruction is at dance studios. Arthur Murray franchised studios began in 1912 and can be found all over the U.S. and even in other parts of the world. They offer group and couples dancing for every level.

For those interested in ballet, studios are a good source for classes, and the Dallas/Fort Worth area has many that offer lessons to the public.

Many community centers offer dance classes, too, particularly for line dancing, seated dancing, and folk dancing. A quick internet search for any of these dance styles along with “near me” will show you places that provide dance.

Don’t be shy to admit you’re a senior, either, or acknowledge your novice level as you search! Many programs for older adults are catered specifically to you and at affordable or free rates, too.


Dance to Your Health

Staying active is good for you in mind and body. The most important payoff is that you’ll feel better. Dance allows you to step out of your everyday thoughts and be in the moment of pleasure, to just experience your life.

Do your homework as to the style or two you’d like to try and search for resources near you. Remember to take small but consistent steps into dance and the benefits will follow. Be sure to consult with your physician, and then get out there and move your feet!



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Take Your Health Care Career to the Next Level for Free

Less than a decade ago, your best option for earning a higher degree was to go to a traditional college. The concept of online courses was a small niche or a supplement to in-class courses at a big university.

But then, out of the mist of the world wide web came Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), which are designed to bring knowledge to the masses. The idea was revolutionary when the first classes launched in 2006. Web innovator Dave Cormier wanted to see if students could learn without attending a classroom.

If students weren’t held back by geographic and financial roadblocks, could more information-sharing impact more people?

Today, the answer is undeniably “yes.” The landscape of education has changed since that first class, and multiple universities have come onboard in offering online courses—often, for free. The pandemic has exponentially expanded the need to adapt to online, too. There is no turning back now, and that’s good news for you!

Termed “MOOCs” and “Open Course Ware” (OCW), you can learn register to learn any subject from the comfort of your home.

Here, we explore some of your options as a CNA, Nurse, or other health care professional.


Your Reasons to Continue Learning

There are plenty of reasons to look at MOOCs to sign up for now, including to:

  • Stay Current: Whether you’ve recently earned your degree or certification or not, the reality is that a career in medicine means constant change. If you want to stay on top of your skills, renew your information regularly.
  • Further Your Career: Not only will you need to earn credits to keep your certifications current, you’ll be strategic with your future career growth in mind.
  • Bust Boredom: As varied as the situations and your clients might be, there is a reality that you might find yourself bored in the day-to-day of work. By engaging your brain with new information about your field or even related areas, you maintain a sense of wonder about what you do.
  • Keep Your Mind Sharp: You don’t have to make every course you take count towards credit or gain “certification value” when continuing your education. Learning for learning’s sake is good for your health, and equally beneficial to your career in almost every way. Online courses, especially those that are free, permit you to keep your brain active with new information.
  • Adapt: While your experience means you know how and what to do in high-stress and fast-paced situations, the act of learning helps you adapt even more fluidly to situations and ideas. Remaining a life-long learner allows you to pivot and shift more easily with any change.


Your Access to Courses

The courses offered by universities and colleges are funneled through online learning platforms which provide the interface to shop and sign up for classes. The options are almost overwhelming, so doing your research, starting with the biggest providers.

Where to Find MOOCs

EdX was launched as a joint effort by Harvard and MIT and contains courses from dozens of universities around the globe. There is an emphasis on free courses, but students have access to pay a fee to earn certificates and credits.

EdX also features a “micromasters” program with graduate-level coursework at a fee a fraction of what you would pay for in-person programs.

Udemy has both free and fee-based courses from universities, and online instructors are also available on this website on an individual basis. If you decide to pay for a course, you gain access to it indefinitely.

Coursera offers free, fee-based and subscription courses to choose from. Again, the options are almost overwhelming. A search of “healthcare” brings up a list of 1066 options. All classes are clearly ranked by students, though, which helps you discern if the course will work for you. They are also categorized for beginners on up.

LinkedIn (formerly offers an annual subscription membership. Courses completed on this platform allow you to tout your accomplishment via LinkedIn and other platforms. features courses available for free and then breaks out other offerings for fee-based bachelors and masters programs. Free courses for healthcare include Medical Terminology, Health Issues for Aging Populations, and Improving Critical Thinking and Clinical Reasoning. funnels all the providers for MOOCs into one place. You can take a class from the University of Glasgow, Stanford University or Johns Hopkins, for example. Class Central provides this database in exchange for commissions.


Things to Keep in Mind as an Online Student

You might hear that there was once a disadvantage from online learning like the lack of being considered “serious,” but today’s educators continue to evolve to meet today’s challenges and needs.

Even the concerns of student engagement have been washed away with the rise of tools for student-teacher and peer-to-peer interaction. Technology permits students to work in breakout sessions on Zoom, for example. Whiteboarding strategy, too, allows for incredible interaction with other students. In fact, one sure path to success is to be sure you maximize the connection between students during courses.

Another advantage of moving the classroom to your computer is that you are no longer restricted by time or borders as to when, where, or with whom you learn. You also have options for testing out different formats, instructors and subjects to find what makes the most sense for you.

Do your homework to discover what courses or platforms to start with. If your goal is to obtain certifications and degrees, just imagine how portable your accomplishments will be from your online degree to the places you can use your education in the future.

As a health care professional, you’ve signed up to do important work. Caring for yourself as a lifelong learner will assure you career success and a greater sense of personal and professional fulfillment.

You are on a journey of improvement where free courses and the internet allow you more control to determine your path to success.



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Four Steps to Sweeten Life and Protect Yourself from Diabetes

If you’ve recently taken a fasting blood glucose test and heard the words “slightly elevated blood glucose,” then you’ve joined an expanding group of people who are either diabetic or pre-diabetic.

Even the term “prediabetic” suggests impending diabetes, like a person with one malady on their way to having another, but the data is a bit more nuanced.

Here, we highlight the language of diabetes, the changing dialogue surrounding the disease, and the three steps you can take to enjoy a healthy lifestyle and protect your blood glucose from reaching diabetes levels.


The Language of Blood, Sugar, and Insulin

It’s easy to feel a bit “picked on” as we age. We live the reality of frequent new conditions and full-blown health problems. But the good news is that scientists are paying closer attention to senior health issues every day as the population grows. Per the Population Reference Bureau, Americans aged 65 and older are projected to double from 52 million in 2018 to 95 million by 2060.

This scrutiny is good news for seniors. With the help of science, we now stay healthier and live longer as a group, and the research supports the health care system that takes care of us.

Of particular interest for medicine is how older people process and produce insulin.

As we age, we do begin to develop a level of insulin resistance, which means the insulin hormone produced by our pancreas isn’t as efficiently used. When the cells can’t uptake the insulin, the result is more sugar in our blood.

For decades, the phenomenon was called “impaired glucose intolerance.” As you can imagine, this description can easily become diluted by confusion and misunderstanding in conversation. What does it mean?

To better help you understand the language of diabetes, we highlight a handful of the most common phrases here:

  • Fasting plasma glucose test: This is when you have blood drawn 8 hours after fasting to check for sugar levels. A reading higher than 126 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) is classified as diabetes.
  • A1C: A test to evaluate the red blood cell protein bound to glucose. Fasting is not required. The level indicates a person’s average blood sugar over the preceding three months. A reading of 6% or higher should be considered for preventive intervention.
  • Prediabetic: A fasting glucose test measuring over 100 mg/dl qualifies as prediabetes based on the American Diabetes Association standard.
  • Type 1 Diabetes: Previously called “juvenile diabetes,” this is the diabetes with onset in childhood or adolescent, which means a person’s pancreas does not produce insulin.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: This is when insulin is produced, but the body does not properly use it. Possible risk factors include obesity, high blood pressure, and age.


The History and Meaning of Prediabetes

In 2009, scientists in diabetic research convened to determine how to draw more attention and action to the growing problem of diabetes. The consensus was that by changing the descriptor for insulin resistance to prediabetes, and expanding the parameters for those who qualify, more could be done to reduce the risk of diabetes for patients.

As explained over at Science Magazine, scientists today are not in agreement about the strategy. Prediabetes implies that otherwise healthy patients are sick and one step away from diabetes, while data suggests that only 2% of those with prediabetes become diabetic each year.

More staggering a risk factor is that 1 in 3 seniors is classified as prediabetic.

Here are four steps you can take to lessen your risk and help turn prediabetes around:

  1. Early detection: Get regular physicals and annual labs as part of maintaining your overall health. The surprising problem of those with prediabetes is they often don’t know about it since they don’t have labs drawn regularly.
  2. Exercise: Yes, it is the oldest and most touted thing a health professional recommends, and prediabetes is just one more reason to “keep at it” at least five times a week. Activity helps your body do the work of utilizing insulin more efficiently.
  3. Lose some weight: Dropping some weight has been advice most of us have heard over the years, and when it comes to reversing prediabetes, the benefits are ample. A reduction of 5% to 7% bodyweight can help reduce blood sugar levels significantly.
  4. Eat healthy: If you’re a boomer, you grew up during the heyday of fast and processed foods. One reason the older generations might be experiencing rising levels of prediabetes these days is because of the diet we’ve had for decades. Now its time to turn the tides of that antiquated thinking about food.

    If you want to help keep your blood glucose in-check, cut way back on the carbs (which turn into sugar), sweetened beverages and snacks. In fact, work to abandon the center isles at the grocery store where processed foods are parked. Make your destination the fresh food areas on the outer stations of the store instead.

    Reduce alcohol intake, too, and drink plenty of water. Potatoes are not your friend anymore, either. Favor whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Lean meats are yours for the taking, too.

    You can explore the keto or paleo diets, too, or tailor a modified food plan that works best for your tastes and goals. The idea is to both enjoy food and keep your body from having to work as hard to process and turn it into energy.


The “One Step at a Time” Action Plan

How many times over the years have you been told to take care of yourself with exercise and healthy eating? Chances are it’s been too many to count. Sometimes you’ve responded well, and other times life’s temptations and stresses have gotten in the way to your good intentions.

It’s not too late to turn things around and benefit by eating well even in your senior years. And if you are dealing with an elevated blood glucose, your body is telling you something.

Just remember that taking care of yourself is a gradual process. Get going and take the steps now so that prediabetes is the door to changing behaviors for your benefit.



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Age Tech Trends to Track for Health Care

Maybe you’ve heard it said: “Aging isn’t for sissies.” The popular adage reveals the reality that there are many challenges to growing older. In the past, it was assumed that decline was the inevitable that seniors could expect. However, today’s elders are living longer, remaining active, and have more resources than ever before.

The increase in life expectancy comes at a time when worldwide birthrates have reduced. In the U.S, for example, the Census Bureau predicts that by 2034 the trend will amount to an unprecedented exchange of older adults outnumbering children.

The impacts of this shift on society and the economy will continue to play out, but the corresponding strain on the healthcare system is already being realized. Healthcare providers are faced with caring for a larger portion of older patients while resources (including dollars and caregivers) continue to decrease.

As the healthcare industry works to find the balance, it’s technology that has proven to be the game-changer. Termed “Age Tech,” companies have stepped up, especially in the past decade, to offer solutions aimed at serving the healthcare industry and (specifically) seniors.

The flurry of constant technology change is a daunting climb for some. Here, we highlight a few of the most significant trends and how they could impact those we care for in the near term.


Age Tech for Healthcare Providers

The whirlwind of companies getting into Age Tech is increasing as innovators seize on the opportunity to solve issues. Many of the pioneering ideas are exciting because they are bringing health care professionals together with other stakeholders who serve seniors and senior tech users themselves into the mix to create new ideas.

Per The Gerontechnologist, which features the 2021 Age Tech Market Map, there are 15 areas where technology experts are working to deliver solutions to serve seniors. Top tier categories include “Health,” “Wellness” and “Senior Living.” These reveal the largest number of companies onboard, too.

Other categories with fewer companies include “Housing,” “Legacy” and “End of Life Planning.” The acknowledge some of the most pressing challenges in the industry, such as the caregiver shortage, connectivity access and tech setup challenges for seniors.

Challenges aside, the transition to using more technology continues—most notably in the healthcare industry where tech helps streamline operations and offer patients more options.

The category “For Healthcare Providers” features a number of companies such as Vitalerter and Quil, both of whom are focused on care management technology used to monitor clients and alert medical staff of important, real-time medical data.


The Longevity Economy

Seniors are a savvy consumer group that are already having an increasing economic impact, and the trend is expected to continue. Per the AARP, the longevity economy represents the sum of all activity serving the needs of Americans over 50, including both products and services they purchase and the spending that generates.

The prediction is that elders will account for half of U.S. GDP by 2032.

Older adults don’t expect to age into silent oblivion, and today they are more willing to try and utilize technology. They want to “do for themselves” for as long as possible. Technology is looking for new ways to help extend and improve quality of life for seniors to meet the goal of independence.

The technology area “Independence” is divided into subsets of “Everyday Assistance,” “Sensory Aids,” “Mobility,” “Transportation,” “Finance” and “Activities of Daily Living” with companies like Naborforce connecting caretakers with seniors through an online portal.

Other areas that feed into serving both healthcare providers and seniors include “For Home Care Providers,” “Social & Communication,” “Cognitive Care” and “Tech-Enabled Home Care.”

Services such as Lifepod, for example, offer “patient-centered custom interactions” to keep seniors engaged and safe at home. The virtual assistant helps elders maintain routines, as well as provide immediate connection to community support if needed.


Aging as an Adventure

Aging as an adventure is no longer just for seniors. With more elders than young people in the population soon, caregivers and other senior care professionals are being called on to do more.

The Age Tech industry is working to address this need for families and employers who recognize offering support to their staff who must balance home care life with work life is a benefit. Torchlight, for example, can intuitively deliver information to aide caregivers as they explore the services and options they need to care for seniors (and young children, too).

While aging is still an adventure, Age Tech innovators are seeking new ways to make the ride less bumpy—for both seniors and those who serve them. As a result, the technology which might have once been only the tool of youth is proving to be of service to everyone no matter their age.



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20 Questions to Help You Get to Know Your Client

It’s likely that one of the reasons you are a health care professional is because you want to help people. You signed up and trained to provide your expertise so others can live their best lives. You feel good about what you do and know your work matters.

One of the ways to continue that purpose is to build stronger connection with the people you serve. It can be easy in the day-to-day challenges to lose sight of the point of your effort, but by establishing relationships with your clients you will renew in your deepest sense of satisfaction.

Here we deliver information on how to ask questions and trigger memories—and the benefits of shared life stories.


Reminiscence Therapy Benefits

Most people enjoy talking about themselves, and for some seniors their past is even more solid than newer, recent memories. Termed Reminiscence Therapy (RT) or life review, you don’t need to be a therapist to encourage life storytelling with your clients.

As a “people person,” you recognize the nature of your working relationship with your clients. As your work progresses, though, you’ll feel when the time is right to allow for more time to ask more questions to illicit life storytelling.

There is brain science at work during RT, too. Per Good Therapy, “RT encourages discussion of memories that have been stored away. It helps stimulate those memories through sensory organs. This causes the brain to react differently than usual. Those reactions can impact emotions or behavior. Studies have shown that RT can help older adults become more engaged.”

By evoking your clients to talk about their past, you provide more holistic care that honors both the patient and your role as a caregiver. Whether working with someone dealing with dementia or other conditions, seniors can see other benefits of life review, including improved mood or behavior, higher confidence, and reduced depression.

20 Memory Prompt Questions

These 20 questions are a starting point to guide you in conversation. The most important part is to remain invested and pay attention. Consider taking notes that you can refer to for future topics, and let the answers guide you to other questions naturally.

The most rewarding experience for you and the client can happen when your curiosity is heightened and YOU want to know more!

  1. Where and when were you born?
  2. What is your most vivid childhood memory?
  3. Describe the place where you lived (i.e., the community) as a child.
  4. Who were the most important people to you as a child?
  5. Who was your best friend, and why?
  6. Describe the kinds of games you played.
  7. Where were your favorite places to go when you were a child? Why?
  8. Describe your favorite childhood meal.
  9. What was your favorite subject in school? Why?
  10. What chores did you do as a child?
  11. Did you have a pet as a child?
  12. What was your special talent?
  13. Did you memorize anything like a poem for school?
  14. Who was your favorite teacher, and why?
  15. Describe one of those times you feel you succeeded in something.
  16. Describe the members of your family.
  17. What was your role in the family? (Were you the brain? Were you the athlete?)
  18. Describe a time you encountered danger as a child but lived to tell the tale.
  19. When did you realize you had truly become an adult?
  20. Describe a courageous moment when you took a big leap.


Other Reminiscing Tools

In addition to questions, other tools can yield memories, too. Pay attention to the photos on display in the home and ask about the people in the images. Who are they and how are they related to your client? Do the photos document an important event or milestone? Let one question lead to another.

Our senses are another strong memory trigger. Particular scents, sounds, or the touch of certain things can call up bits of memory that provoke more stories. Consider playing favorite music the client recalls or showing images of tools he or she might have used for work. Are there other objects on display in the home that are attached to stories?

Film clips from the time period of a person’s life are topics to start the flow of memories. Play video clips from major historical events and ask your client what he or she remembers of this significant time in history.


Stay Connected to Your Purpose

Your role as a health care provider is impactful for your client and the family as well. But at the core of your role, you are present in a person’s life at a vulnerably human moment. We will all have times we need the support of others due to illness or an ongoing condition. When that happens, all any of us wants is to be heard and treated with dignity. Taking time to enrich the relationships with your clients through reminiscing will keep you grounded in the importance of what you do.

But even more profound, perhaps, will be the life lessons and insights you glean from hearing the life stories of others.



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Health Care Services

Feeling Old? Get Outdoors!

If you’re old enough to remember the days when kids were told to head outdoors and play until dinner, then you’ve clocked some years.

In past generations, summertime, particularly for children in small towns, meant full days of outside adventure. Children ran around their neighborhood teaming up with other kids for activities without adult supervision. And often, after suppertime they went out and played some more until dark.

After full days outside, children came home tired and ready to rest. Their skin and hair were sundrenched, their lungs cleansed with fresh air, and their bodies a bit stronger after hours of activity.

If you remember those times you are lucky to have had the foundation of outside fun. Today, both children and adults spend more time than ever inside in front of screens and in hermitically sealed environments distant from the natural world.

And for seniors, this retreat is more problematic due to increased health issues that keep the outside world at bay.

If you find yourself feeling sluggish and a bit low in your older years, it could be (at least in part) that you don’t get enough of nature anymore. The good news is that the solution is right outside your front door. With small and actionable steps and a bit of knowledge, you can improve your energy, state of mind, and spirit by setting aside time to once again commune with nature.


Nature Deficit Disorder: It’s A Real Thing

Per a report featured in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology, “adults in the U.S. spend only about 2% of their time outdoors.” Put another way, the average adult spends only 33 minutes per week outside.

The deficit hits young and old alike and the cause is largely technology. We all spend unparalleled time in front of screens at home. In the youngest generation the numbers are show-stopping: stats reported by OSF Healthcare reveal that children ages eight to ten spend an average of six hours per day watching tablets, phones, and TVs (with the number going up for each age group from there).

Seniors are impacted with a sedate indoor imbalance as well. Per the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health, seniors surveyed reported spending most of their time at home, up to 72%. And the remaining time spent at other indoor errands and appointments rather than outside.

We are all suffering from Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD), a condition that is wreaking havoc with our internal settings, sleep patterns, emotional wellbeing, and physical health. You won’t find NDD listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Disorders, but there is a lot of common sense to the concept that as beings of the earth we’ve lost touch with nature.

Coined by American author Richard Louv in his book Last Child in the Woods, NDD is defined as “health and behavioral issues resulting from less time outdoors that encapsulates the human condition at a time when technology and being inside (at a desk or on the couch) dominate our lifestyles.”


The Benefits of Nature for Seniors

No doubt that aging comes with challenges and change. Sometimes, as with all difficult transitions, the knee-jerk response is to pull inward and stay indoors. It turns out that this reaction can work to worsen our ails of aging.

Eastern and natural practitioners have long understood the value of contact with nature. And today, even traditional medicine is returning to the basics and acknowledging the importance of natural therapy.

Per Scientific Reports one survey study found that adults who spent 120 minutes a week in nature enjoyed an improved feeling of good health and wellbeing. And where the feeling is, the behavior is likely to follow. Feeling rejuvenated leads to making better choices and yields improved outcomes such as lowering the likelihood of depression.

The study also suggests that “living in greener urban areas is associated with lower probabilities of cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, asthma hospitalizations, mental distress, and ultimately mortality.”

Less tested theories such as “grounding therapy” (which involves doing activities that “ground” or electrically reconnect you to the earth) are showing promise in small studies, too.

If the grounding idea seems a bit farfetched to you, just note that even access to seeing nature can lift your spirits. You’ve probably experienced this in moments when your mood was low and you stepped outside for a brief walk to clear your head.

Retirement communities are recognizing the impact of nature in architectural design as well. Residents enjoy rooms with a view, and shared spaces full of windows bring the world in on a regular basis. Seniors who can see the seasons, take in natural light, and watch birds and plants show an improved quality of life and cognitive health.

If you’re still not convinced that nature is good medicine, note these other benefits:

  1. Outdoor contact goes hand-in-hand with physical activity. Stepping outside will incite you to move. The adage “use it or lose it” kicks in when you engage with nature. Small steps may lead to a walk of some distance as you progress.
  2. Fresh air reduces risk of sickness. It turns out the environment indoors, especially in the winter months, is filled with concentrated levels of germs that have nowhere to go. Getting outside will break up your exposure and give your lungs a cleanse.
  3. Natural light helps you sleep better. As we age, we struggle to keep our brain on track as cellular activity changes and slows. While studies show that human touch via massage can help trigger the neurotransmitter serotonin, regular exposure to natural light keeps the brain’s on and off switches in sync as well. Per the CDC, the light/dark cycle of the sun has a powerful effect on the circadian clock regulating sleep and alertness.


Get Outdoors Fellow Earthlings

So much of today’s technology and ease of living indoors is a marvel. But all the focus on the inside has detached us from our connection to the outside.

It’s also nice to know you can do something so basic to help yourself feel better. Step into the breeze, catch some sun with your shades on, and take in the beauty of the seasons and the sky overhead. And if you feel really bold, take off your socks and shoes and nestle those toes in the grass. Remember, by earth’s timeline, you are still just a kid who should spend some time playing outdoors.


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Best Online Resources for Savvy Seniors In 2021

More information than ever is available to you on the internet, and more seniors are using tablets, phones, and laptops to gain access to the wealth.

Whether you plan to retire, continue working, change careers, take a course or volunteer, the details are available to you online. Here, we’ve compiled some of our favorite sources of information about these enriching opportunities!


Education & Travel

Remain curious about the world and you’ll stay more mentally agile (and young at heart). Here are a few websites offering seniors free courses or tailored access to travel and learning:

Academic Earth

If you didn’t get the ivy league education, now is your chance. Academic Earth is a straightforward portal offering a curated and unparalleled collection of free online courses from the world’s top universities.

Road Scholar

Founded in 1975, this not-for-profit organization’s mission is to inspire adults to learn, discover and travel. Road Scholar “designs learning adventures with engaged learning instructors that provide extraordinary access for seniors and stimulate discourse and friendship among people for whom learning is the journey of life.”

Tailored trips (both foreign and domestic) are also arranged for large and small groups with experts offering their knowledge throughout the trip. There are also online adventures and virtual lectures available. The group rates help make the packages offered more affordable.


Action & Volunteerism

One of the biggest issues seniors face as they become older is remaining feeling a sense of purpose. As more seniors live longer, remain active, and comprise a larger share of the population, their role in the greater good becomes even more important. Your version of purpose will need to intersect with your interests and abilities. Here are a couple of options to help get you started:

Elders Climate Action

“The mission of Elders Climate Action (EAN) is to mobilize elders throughout the United States to address climate change while there is still time to protect our grandchildren and future generations.”

This nonprofit organization keeps seniors informed with ways to get involved, including an action tool kit, monthly online calls, and other resources including things to do with your grandchildren.

Americorps Senior

This federal agency connects individuals and organizations to help tackle the nation’s most pressing challenges. The list of ways seniors can volunteer is expansive, including helping a child to read, delivering groceries to someone who is homebound, and offering assistance to others impacted by natural disasters. Americorps reports that every year they help match 200,000 volunteers with service opportunities.



Perusing the internet for information about your health can be a slippery slope that leads to anxiety as you wonder if your symptoms mean disease X, Y or Z. However, there is knowledge to be picked up so long as you understand your situation is unique and you should consult with your doctor.

If you seek both information and support for a specific condition, consider checking out groups that use Facebook as their way to communicate with each other. The one thing Facebook does well is offer groups an easy way to connect and communicate. There is a group for almost every health issue from diabetes, heart failure, to high blood pressure.

The Mayo Clinic

An easy-to-navigate website, The Mayo Clinic is an organized portal with information about all-things health. Simply search the topic of interest to you and you’ll find content that covers the basics, and also access to more robust information if you want to dive in.

National Institute on Aging (NIA)

This organization is a premier source of information about the science of healthy aging, and Alzheimer’s disease and Alzhiemer’s disease-related dementias. The NIA reports that scientists and other experts review the content to assure it is evidence-based and accurate before it is published. You’ll find the top subjects of interest to seniors up front on their main page, but can easily dig in and explore other health topics from their rich database.



The good news about so many more people falling into the over 50 group is that more companies are stepping up to address the needs and interests of older people than ever, for example:


You remember when you first got mailers announcing you are now eligible to join AARP for discount programs, services, and free information? You might have groaned to realize you reached the milestone, but this organization does offer a robust level of information for free!

If you join with an inexpensive membership, the additional benefits stack up, too. You can save on auto insurance, glasses, and many other services. If you plan to continue working further into your 60s, you’ll find resources to help you stay up to speed on employment opportunities and how to have fun in your downtime no matter the lifestyle you’re living.

Sixty & Me

This online magazine features a global community of over 500,000 women over the age of 60. The content covers everything from fashion and makeup products to retirement planning and senior dating as well as games to play in your free time.

You can get a real sense of community at Sixty & Me because the contributors of the articles are of all ages and walks of life. The founder, Margaret Manning, offers videos every other day about subjects meant to spark conversation within the community.


Work & Money

Retired Brains

Retired Brains is a comprehensive and independent source of information giving seniors advice to support “quality of life, financial stability, and opportunities for continued growth.” In addition, there are ideas for work from home jobs, part-time gigs and entrepreneurial opportunities.

The Money Alert

Everything about personal finance (no matter your age) can be found at The Money Alert. The website is well-organized with the latest news about investments and retirement planning spelled out for you to quickly review. Their mission is to provide highly reliable financial advice without bias. Topics include investing, real estate, legal issues, insurance and more.



All work and no fun makes one dull, so be sure to incorporate fun and relaxing activities into your days. Groups abound to join online as well as at your local senior centers and libraries. Here are two online tools we love:


The website Meetup organizes online groups that host events. People start groups and then make announcements that they are looking for people to join them. Most of these groups and events are free to join, too.

Suddenly Senior

Suddenly Senior is an online e-magazine that, in the words of the founder Frank Kaiser, “takes a humorous look at Geezers who’ve become senior before their time.” The website touts 4,000 pages of humor, nostalgia, senior advocacy, and useful information for people 50+. There are new articles weekly.

Did we miss one? Let us know!



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Health Care Services

6 Ways to Keep Your Eyes Healthy as You Age

Your eyes might be the windows to your soul, but more than that they’re your window out to the world. When we’re young, most of us take eyesight for granted—but as we age, we start to notice subtle and not-so-subtle changes.

It’s sometimes the small things (the small print, to be exact) that we recognize becomes harder to read. Called “presbyopia,” this shift usually begins around 40. As time progresses, the use of readers or bifocals becomes necessary to read the fine print, like those tiny words on prescription bottles.

Other things you might notice include how difficult it becomes to distinguish an object from its background when they’re the same color. Even light—especially the dramatic shifts of light—is challenging to see through. Studies suggest that it’s the rod cells responsible for low light vision that weaken as we age. For someone with light vision issues, driving at night is problematic as the eyes can’t easily accommodate the flashes of bright headlights.

For many, changes in vision are just taken as a matter of course without a thought of seeing an eye specialist. Per the CDC, “An estimated 93 million adults in the United States are at risk for serious vision loss, but only half visited an eye doctor in the past 12 months.”

Although our eyes do change with age, vision loss is not actually an inevitable part of growing older. With proper care, you can keep your eyesight and resolve issues earlier for better results in the long term. Here, we’ll detail a couple of eye diseases your doctor will look for during an exam along with 6 ways to keep your eyes healthy as you grow older.


Cataracts and Glaucoma

If you notice differences in your vision, it could be a sign that underlying health issues like high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. An eye specialist will be able to address possible reasons for differences in your vision and monitor your eye health.

Our eyes are susceptible to age, family history, and the environment. Two of the more common diseases a specialist will look for are cataracts and glaucoma.

A cataract is a clouding of the otherwise clear lens of your eye. Cataracts develop slowly, but with time will interfere with a person’s vision. Per the Eye Institute, “Cataracts are very common as you get older. In fact, more than half of all Americans age 80 or older either have cataracts or have had surgery to get rid of cataracts.” Further, it’s estimated that one in six Americans over the age of 40 already have started developing cataracts, and women are slightly more likely to develop them than men.

Most people who have cataracts develop them due to aging. Other health factors that exacerbate cataracts include diabetes, excessive exposure to sunlight, smoking and obesity.

Glaucoma is a condition that damages your eye’s optic nerve and worsens over time. Often linked to a buildup of pressure inside the eye, this disease can be hereditary, but is also triggered by underlying diseases. Early detection and treatment can stave off the worst damage due to glaucoma, but without regular screening it remains a silent problem.

Per the CDC, 3 million Americans have glaucoma, and worldwide it’s the second leading cause of blindness. Establishing a baseline state of your eyesight with an eye doctor is recommended so you can stay ahead of this problem if ever it develops.


6 Steps for Healthy Eyes

Your eyes require regular maintenance to assure they “go the distance.” Take these steps to protect them, and you’ll keep your vision healthy along with the rest of you, too.

  1. See an eye doctor: Get an examination with an eye doctor to determine the “baseline status” of your eyes. According to a survey conducted for the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), it was found that two out of every three American adults reports having problems with their sight, including blurry vision, double vision, seeing flashes of light, and red and watery eyes.

    However, of the 64% of people noting problems, only 13% actually saw an eye doctor. The AAO recommends that once you establish a baseline, for those 65 and older it’s especially important to see an eye doctor once a year.

    Depending on your vision issues, you might have relationships with an ophthalmologist who can perform medical and surgical interventions for diseases of the eye. An optometrist, on the other hand, is the eye doctor that examines, diagnoses, and treats your eyes. And an optician is someone who fits you for glasses and contact lenses.

  1. Exercise: As we age, the question of regular physical activity is even more essential. It’s the path to keeping the health you have as long as possible. Exercise helps with every aspect of your wellness, even your eyes! Exercise allows for good oxygen intake and blood flow, which supports eye health.
  1. Sleep: Just like exercise, sleep is important at any age. As you get older, a good sound sleep helps diminish depression, memory loss, and a host of other chronic conditions. When it comes to the eyes, sleep allows time for your eyes to enjoy continuous lubrication which flushes out toxins like dust, smoke, and allergens.
  2. Wear sunglasses: Wearing shades does more than help you look sharp—obviously, their primary purpose is to protect your eyes from the sun. Overexposure to ultraviolet rays increases the risk of cataract formation and eye cancer. Make sure the sunglasses you wear not only make you look good but also block out 100% of those UV lights.
  3. Avoid falling: You already know that preventing falls reduces your risk of broken bones and head injuries. It also makes you less likely to get a poke in the eye, which is actually something fairly common when elders take a fall. Be sure to increase lighting in dark spaces, secure stair railings, and cushion sharp corners of furnishings and home fixtures to protect yourself.
  4. Wear goggles when you’re being handy: Half of all eye injuries happen in or around the home, and most often during improvement projects. If you’re a do-it-yourself type, be sure to wear goggles as you work.


Your Vision Matters

Maybe the best thing about growing older is learning that nothing you have in the present should be taken for granted. You know the aging is a mixed bag of changes, but you don’t just have to accept them silently. Take steps to protect your eyes and make it a point to visit an eye doctor at least once a year. Then, you’ll be in a position to make the right decisions to help you retain your eye health so your “windows to the world” continue to serve you.



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5 Tips to Help Your Clients Understand Technology

Many take technology for granted these days, but it wasn’t all that long ago that holding a computer in your hand was the stuff of science fiction. For people under 20, computers are simply a way of life, but older generations have had to play catchup. For the most senior members of society, the gap to using technology is even greater.

Seniors need to understand tech not just to stay connected with others, but also to help with their health goals. Teaching tech to older adults, however, requires some special forethought and consideration.

As a healthcare professional, it will fall on you at times to help teach clients about technology, particularly as it relates to devices for healthcare.

Here, we provide five tips to assist you in working with seniors to help them learn ways to adapt to tech.


Technology and Senior Learning

It was in the mid-1980s that desktop computers began to appear in homes with practical use for everyday people.

Nowadays, it’s almost quaint to think about the advent of the “dumb” cellphone which became standard later in the 1980s that only made phone calls. In comparison, and much to annoyance of some of the older generation, people have abandoned phone calls entirely to instead connect via text and video.

It is nonetheless the smartphone that is bringing more seniors up to speed with technology. Per a recent Pew study, “While adoption rates among seniors continues to trail those of the overall population, the share of adults ages 65 and up who own smartphones has risen 24 percentage points (from 18% to 42%) since 2013.”

While more seniors have the tech tools, however, they are still lagging in how to use them. Per Forbes, it turns out the disconnect isn’t only due to frustrated older learners. Often, the very tech designed for them wasn’t developed with their input.

The pandemic has forced more elders to brave the tech frontier, and the push has had an upside. Not only is tech helping elders stay engaged with family and friends, but many have been surprised to find that it’s possible to learn new tech after all their previous doubts.

Technology is becoming an essential part of medical care as well. Today, healthcare technology delivers medication, monitors vitals, and links healthcare providers to patients via telemedicine. Healthcare trends suggest that as more seniors strive to age in place, it will be tech that will help them do so.


Tips to Technology Learning for Seniors

If you’re a health care professional who works with seniors, you already have some expertise in how to provide new information. Seniors are capable of learning tech, but the training must be adapted to how they learn best. Here we offer you five tips to keep in mind as you offer tech support to your clients.

  1. Explain the value. The first step is to explain the “why” of the tool. What value will this technology provide the client? Will it help monitor their insulin or report data to a physician’s office? Learning is a nesting process. We take in new information by applying it to what we already understand. By helping your client see the purpose of the tool, there’s a better foundation to learn more.
  2. Use easy language and gradually introduce terms. When teaching new technology to older people, try for the simplest language possible. Instead of saying “operating system,” for example, try explaining that Windows 10 is the hardware that allows a computer to work with other tools.
  3. Go sloooowly and be patient. Be prepared to explain a concept slowly and reexplain it several times. Remember that you’re teaching new terms and ideas, so it’s naturally going to be a steeper climb for your clients to understand. Encourage them to take notes (the old-school way, with a pen and pad of paper) if that helps.
  4. Give them confidence. Perhaps the biggest fear for any learner is concern of doing it wrong. Assure your clients that they won’t break the internet, and that if an error is made like inputting the wrong data, there are ways to fix it. Provide them with support numbers to call and let them know that most everything is fixable.
  5. Tap into professional training services. It’s unfortunate that sometimes an older person’s first experience with learning technology occurs when they ask their younger family members to help them learn it. Weather it’s grandchildren, nieces or nephews, it’s likely they aren’t skilled at training. They don’t mean to, but that younger family member often explains things too fast or ends up doing whatever the elder person requested rather than teaching it.

As impatience grows for both the senior and young person, it won’t help with learning or the relationship.

As a health care professional, you are a person outside the family dynamic who comes to teaching with a broader perspective. You have the opportunity to connect seniors to other opportunities where they can continue to learn technology, too. There are even national programs such as OATS which focus on computer education for people over the age of 55.


Technology for Elders

Because of how we learn (building knowledge one block upon another), it makes sense how it can be harder for older adults to learn technology. However, the benefits of doing so are many.

Not only will learning tech raise clients’ level of self-confidence, tech training can improve quality of life and the medical care you deliver, too. By utilizing these 5 steps, you will be well on your way to help your clients gain the information they need with all the benefits that come with.



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8 Tips for Seniors to Shop Safely Online

It was just 25 years ago that Amazon began selling books online. At that time, the predictions were that online sales would represent only a fraction of total retail sales for the foreseeable future.

Fast forward to today, and thousands of retailers big and small have closed physical locations and moved to an online presence instead. In this year of the pandemic, even the consumers who were previously most reluctant to shop online have found it to be easier, faster, and safer than they had imagined.

Per Digital Commerce 360, “Consumers spent $861.12 billion online with U.S. merchants in 2020, up an incredible 44.0% year over year. That’s the highest annual U.S. ecommerce growth in at least two decades. It’s also nearly triple the 15.1% jump in 2019.”

Seniors are embracing ecommerce as a useful tool to help them age in place. It allows them access to services and products from the comfort of home, and in the days of the pandemic also allows them to reduce exposure to the novel virus. However, there are still those who worry that shopping online as a senior automatically means falling victim to fraud.

Data proves otherwise. Per the FTC, it turns out that older adults were the least likely age group to report losing money to scams in a 2012 review. It was also the group of over 60s who spotted fraud and reported it more often before losing any money (at twice the rate of people between 20 and 59). A pretty wise group, we’d have to admit!

So, it turns out that an informed senior can be an online-shopping savvy one. Seniors are able to use the internet to shop and engage with the world safely so long as they remain informed. So, by staying current about online safety and using these 8 tips, you can shop online with more confidence.


1: Research retailers before you buy

Amazon is the biggest ecommerce retailer on the internet, and there are advantages to shopping there. A consumer can search the portal and instantly compare prices and products from a variety of sellers in one place. Reviews for each merchant and product are easy to find, which empowers buyers to make informed decisions.

With a bit of homework you can also enjoy other ecommerce shops that offer even greater variety, specialized expertise, and unique items you can’t find on Amazon. With a bit of research into reviews for those shops, too, you can feel confident shopping elsewhere if you look for the following:

  • An address and phone number listed on the website
  • Reviews from other customers
  • Robust product information for the items you wish to purchase


2: Know the return policy

Per Small Business Trends, 52% of shoppers don’t buy online because they’re concerned about ecommerce shops return policy. As a consumer, be sure to read a shop’s return policy to see if you can send things back within a minimum of 30 days or longer, and also to see whether the retailer will pay for shipping with no questions asked for the return. Serious retailers know they are better off providing fair return policies to help shoppers feel more confident.


3: Look for signs of website security before you shop

Glance at the URL found at the top of the page for the ecommerce shop and be sure it has the HTTPS format. This means the website is secure to protect any sensitive information that you key in for a purchase.

Also review the shop’s privacy policy to confirm they have one and that they guarantee your information won’t be sold or shared with another entity. A privacy policy should protect your credit card information and other personal information you share.

And have you ever wondered what’s going on when you see a window pop up asking if you wish to “accept cookies” on a website? The question is asking if you’re okay with the website gathering bits of data about your behavior on the page. By saying yes, you’re giving the merchant permission to use the information about your shopping and viewing experience to tailor their offerings to your interests. Just remember, this permission ONLY applies to the website you’re on.


4: Shop with a credit card

You can never be totally confident your information is safe online, but a credit card offers the most secure option. If your account is compromised, you’re not liable for unauthorized charges, and can dispute transactions with your bank to have them reversed. While a charge is in dispute, it remains frozen and doesn’t impact your credit limit.

The same protections exist with a debit card as well. However, if a thief gains access to a debit card, they can drain the account attached to it. You can dispute unauthorized charges from your debit card as well, however you’ll have to wait to have your account credited until the dispute is resolved.


5: Stay clear of spam in your email

There are those who think emails are less relevant today thanks to texting and messaging apps. However, marketers know that email is still a powerful channel to build relationships with customers.

Merchants gain your information when you sign up for an account to shop on their site. Your role as an informed consumer is to pay attention to your email inbox to separate those you want from those that have come along as spam.

If you don’t recognize the sender of an email, don’t click on the link or attachment they provide. Check your junk folder filter options and be sure to unsubscribe to newsletters that you don’t want or no longer use.


6: Be selective with your social media communication

Facebook is increasingly becoming a favored space for seniors to communicate. Per Pew Research, the share of older Americans over 65 who use the platform has more than doubled since 2012. However, more than half of all users don’t understand how the personal information the social network collects is used.

Recent news stories have shed light how these social platforms operate, specifically by commoditizing our data in exchange for advertising dollars. On the face it might seem like a reasonable swap, except that users signed up to share, like, and tweet without fully understanding the deal they made.

Use social media with your eyes wide open. When it comes to the information and sales tactics on social media, stay clear of gimmicky games and surveys which are often designed as “click bait” meant to capture more information about you.

Per Safe Streets, there are numerous ways you can protect your information and still enjoy some of the benefits of social media. Learn and use the privacy settings, be selective about the friends you have on your list, and review friend invitations before accepting additional friendships to your feed.

7: Monitor your online accounts and your credit reports

One of the wonderful benefits of online banking is the instant access you have to your transactions. Be sure to regularly review your checking, savings, and credit card activity daily.

The same holds true for monitoring your credit report annually. Be certain that the accounts on your report are yours and that the credit report inquiries are ones you’ve initiated. You can obtain one free copy of each of your three credit bureaus every twelve months by going to annual credit report.


8: Keep your passwords protected

Finally, take a moment to assess the security and organization of your passwords. In order for passwords to be effective, they must be personal to you and arbitrary in format. This makes keeping and tracking passwords more of a burden because they are meant to be different from one account to another, and are notoriously difficult to remember.

Using your address, or birthdate of your dog, or favorite word repeatedly as passwords across multiple accounts will put you at risk. Passwords are supposed to be random, often a series of letters, symbols, and numbers.

Keep passwords handy and up-to-date in an analogue system you can reference easily—but where no one else will see them. Don’t let bits of papers, sticky notes, and frayed bits of notebook pages here and there be your solution. Maintain a tidy book, perhaps alphabetically ordered, where you can easily go to refresh your memory on your assortment of sign-ins.


Your Online Defense is Knowledge

The internet is a remarkable place to gather information, interact with others, and conveniently shop for the things you need and want. It’s also a vast landscape for bad players to take advantage of those who are poorly informed.

Even though you’re older, you weren’t born yesterday when it comes to seeing that knowledge is power. By understanding that there are risks and doing your homework as an online consumer, you won’t fall prey to hackers online.

These 8 steps are a good beginning to taking care of yourself as you travel the internet. But make it a point as a person of the twenty-first century to stay informed. You can enjoy the many benefits available to you on the web where age is only a number.



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Team Demonstrates How an Inc. 5000 Company Works in Times of COVID-19

Home Health Companions has been recognized multiple years as one of Inc. 5000’s “most inspiring companies,” and in the days of COVID-19, anything inspiring can do us well. The company has lifted its employees up and served its clients in innovative ways in times of pandemic, and now, the team has been recognized again in 2021 as one of #Inc5000Regionals.

Inc 5000 Regionals TX Social Image 3

The story behind this home health care provider in Dallas, Texas is an inspiring one, and the company’s response to the pandemic the last 12 months has been as impactful as it has been moving.

The whole world is living through trying times. Though, for Home Health Companions’ primary clients (elders who live at home, often without caregivers living with them), the COVID-19 era has been even more challenging. This generation has faced challenges before, but no one alive today has seen life shut down to the extent it has during the pandemic.

Home Health Companions has stood out thanks to its home care services, its focus on companionship and combatting isolation, and its unique initiatives to offset specific challenges the pandemic has brought to their clients and the company’s employees.


An Inspired Initiative

Home Health Companions was founded in 2011 as a licensed home care provider that also focuses on providing the companionship and advocacy its clients need.

Over its first several years in business, the company added more services and staff based on client needs. Come 2020, a pandemic was the last thing anyone expected. Home Health Companion’s response is what has set the company apart, and ultimately what led to the Inc. 5000 recognition.


Home Health Companion’s Response to COVID-19

Home Health Companions had to make immediate operational and structural adjustments at the start of the pandemic to continue serving their at-risk client base. These changes included rigorous infection and screening protocols as well as compliance with the ever-evolving CDC and HHS guidelines.

Meeting these new standards, however, was all reactionary. It was not the kind of proactive, forward-facing change that leaders at the company believed were necessary in order to get ahead of the problem before the disease impacted clients and staff in more terrible ways.

The company quickly rolled out a new initiative called Home Health Companions University. With over 51 hours of available training, company employees received paid education to provide greater and safer service. The continuing education hours gave staff the opportunity to keep working safely while also moving forward in their careers.

There’s a greater need now than ever for home health care. And in light of the “new normal” we’ve all come to know, this need has reached a point of absolute urgency in Dallas and throughout the country. Home Health Companions stands out as a company who not only reacts to the needs of the community, but who also sets new standards of innovation, service and education.

The Inc. 5000 recognition has rightly showcased Home Health Companions as an inspirational business, and the team is committed to see that tradition continue.

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Let’s Talk About Anxiety In Older Adults

We accept that certain things occur as we age: our metabolism slows, our skin wrinkles, our eyes see less clearly. 

What is less understood are the possible changes in mental health for seniors, especially around anxiety disorders. 

Anxiety is more likely to go overlooked by both the patient and the physician when it’s camouflaged by physical illness. Untreated anxiety can lead to cognitive impairment, depression, poor physical health, and lower quality of life. 

Per the Geriatric Mental Health Foundation, “anxiety affects 10 to 20 percent of the older population though it is often undiagnosed. Among adults, anxiety is the most common health problem for women, and the second most common for men, after substance abuse.”

Anxiety disorders are largely misunderstood by seniors and may be a source of embarrassment. Plus, seniors are more likely to believe that emotional problems are a weakness of character best resolved on their own. 

Here, we highlight what anxiety is, how to spot possible symptoms, and a broad look at the range of treatments. 


What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes like increased blood pressure. The real problem is in determining the difference between normal anxiety and a possible mental health issue, because some level of anxiety is part of being human. 

In any dangerous situation we face, our brains respond with an alert. Anxiety is a mechanism meant to protect us that, once ignited, can become a vicious loop of illness. 

The problem with anxiety (also known as “fight-or-flight response”) is that it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy of brain activity. We feel anxious regarding particular triggers, even when the triggers are no longer a danger to us, and then cycle back to that emotion again and again. 

Anxiety impacts people of all ages, but seniors come to it with a unique perspective. During their lifetime, the topic of mental health has changed quite a bit. What was once taboo is now much more acceptable. 

It has only been in recent decades, however, that society has looked upon mental illness not as a weakness but an imbalance requiring treatment. By the time seniors today experience symptoms like excessive worry or fear, avoidance of social situations, poor sleep, and hoarding, it’s likely that they’ve endured the symptoms for a lifetime. 


A History of Our Understanding of Anxiety

Anxiety disorder manifests in varied ways that are often unique for the individual. For seniors who are more isolated or less active, the symptoms tend to increase, because there is no social source to help recognize the issue. The irony of untreated anxiety disorders is that they produce more of the same behaviors which lead to more anxiety! It’s a vicious cycle. 

Anxiety has been cloaked in misunderstanding for thousands of years. When Greek philosophers pondered it in the 5th and 4th centuries BC, they surmised it was associated with women. In fact, the word “hysteria” derives from the word uterus. From there and through the Victorian era into the 19th century, hysterics were the realm of the ladies. 

Then, after the American Civil War, doctors recognized something they termed “irritable heart syndrome” in men after they returned home from the war. Today, that illness is known as Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

Finally, fast forward to the 1950s when talk therapy became popular. The use of drugs and psychotherapy continued to evolve, and the language of mental health became more familiar in society’s vocabulary. By the 1980s, the term anxiety disorder was officially recognized by the American Psychiatric Association.


Anxiety Categories

With time and study, the mental health profession has refined and identified anxiety disorder categories and how they may manifest in individuals. There are several, but the most common forms of anxiety for seniors include: 

Phobias: An intense fear of a place, thing or event that isn’t truly a threat. Some phobias are fear of heights, fear of enclosed spaces, and fear of germs.  

In elders, a certain social fear commonly with age where a person feels embarrassed about the inability to remember names or the like. Some physical symptoms of social phobia that can appear in these cases include heavy sweating, heart palpitations, shortness of breath. 

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): Constant obsessive worry about a wide range of things from personal health to family issues or the fear of impending disasters are considered GAD. Symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain, irritability, nausea, and difficulty sleeping may surface in these cases.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): A person who suffered physical or emotional harm (to themselves, or if they were a witness). A person experiencing PTSD might experience flashbacks. People with PTSD sometimes also feel emotionally numb between episodes and find it difficult to feel affection for others. PTSD often shows outwardly with someone who loses interest in things and becomes aggressive or violent.


How to Talk About Anxiety with Your Health Care Professionals

Because anxiety so often goes untreated, it can become the gateway to other mental disorders including depression and cognitive impairment. There is a close association of anxiety and memory, for example. 

People dealing with ongoing anxiety sometimes have underlying health issues such as chronic fatigue and syndrome, too.

The key to getting answers and treatment for anxiety is to discuss persistent symptoms openly. If you receive home care, talk about your concerns with your health care professional in order to get tips and advice for how to take the discussion to the next level. 


Treatment Options

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment to remedy anxiety. Each person’s care must be tailored to their situation. Learn about your options and then work with your doctor to decide what steps to take. offers extensive information on the many treatments available. If you feel overwhelmed once you’ve spoken to your doctor or mental healthcare experts, consider working with an Aging Life Care certified professional. He or she will help you weigh the options and manage the communication between all your medical care providers.

Most treatments for anxiety require assistance from medical and mental health care staff in tandem. The most common treatments fall broadly into these areas: 

Professional Therapy: A number of these therapies involve talk with a mental health professional. Patients work through their anxiety symptoms and identify the underlying triggers and practice coping skills. Therapies run a gambit of types, including cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, and even hypnosis. 

Medications: Pharmaceutical research is ongoing. The current drugs available for anxiety-related ailments include antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and beta blockers. None of these are intended to be used without some form of talk therapy as well. Working with a psychiatrist or counselor is part of the treatment mix, and anti-anxiety drugs are not generally intended to be used indefinitely. 

Brain stimulation: Therapies have advanced dramatically since electroshock therapy of the 1950s. Today, brain stimulation treatments are often done under anesthesia and are targeted with the use of electrodes and electrical stimulation of areas of the brain. 

Self-help: A big step in resolving anxiety disorders comes with knowledge. Be your own advocate and explore self-help books, meditation, diet and nutrition, and exercise as avenues to alleviate symptoms. 


Learn and Talk About Mental Health

The ongoing push in the mental health field has been to normalize the conversation about anxiety. Teaching the public that there is no shame in having mental health problems is an ongoing effort. 

Your doctor can’t help you if you don’t talk about the symptoms you experience. The good news is that there are many treatment options available, and you don’t have to endure the pain of an anxiety disorder silently.



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Home Health Companions Awarded “Best of Home Care Employer of Choice” Award—Again

Recognition is hard to come by at times. And in the healthcare field in the era of Covid, pure exhaustion has riddled frontline workers with new and urgent needs from their employers in order to simply do their jobs. Home Health Companions stepped up to ensure the well-being of their caregivers, and now we’ve been awarded for it.


The 2021 Best of Home Care Employer of Choice awards have just been announced, and for a third year Home Health Companions has been recognized as a “best of” employer.

The Best of Home Care Employer award gathers ratings from both clients and caregivers. It is described as a “badge of trust” that tells prospective employees that the business treats every stakeholder with the highest level of integrity.

When asked about the award, President and CEO Lisa Shardon said, “We’re honored, of course. Getting this recognition comes straight from the hearts of our clients and the caregivers on our team. Having received this award three years now, that leaves me confident that our efforts to support, educate and take care of our staff are really getting through.”

The efforts to educate, in particular, have garnered much attention recently at Home Health Companions. In the middle of 2020, as care providers worldwide were struggling under the weight of Covid-era demands, one of Shardon’s most impactful initiatives at the company was an internal one. She worked with the leadership team to create an on-demand “university” of training to give staff more tools and opportunity to move forward, and greater confidence in a wide array of clinical topics.

What does it mean to be a 2021 “best of” employer?

The Employer of Choice award starts with happy caregivers. The employer—in this case, Home Health Companions—is recognized for excellent caregiver satisfaction ratings, which typically go hand-in-hand with greater company efficiencies, client satisfaction, and clinical results as well.

This caregiver feedback is collected each year by an independent satisfaction research firm called Home Care Plus. A minimum of 10% of current caregivers must be surveyed for a company to qualify.

We’re Hiring, Too!

Home Health Companions has now been recognized in 2018, 2019 and 2021 as a “best of” employer. And to the luck of all industry professionals who are looking for a supportive and future-facing work environment, we’re hiring for several positions. Visit our Careers Page to see all open roles!

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Safety Tips for Home Healthcare Providers

As with every vocation, there are positives and negatives to working as a home health care professional

On the upside, you provide an invaluable service that improves the quality of life for the clients you serve. 

As an added bonus, your skills are in high demand. Home healthcare is a rapidly growing industry. Per the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, employment for home care providers is projected to grow 34% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.

You also work with a diverse range of people and quickly increase your knowledge and expertise as you encounter unique situations. But there are risks to you and your clients, so knowing how to avoid them can help keep everyone safe. 

Dangers for home health providers on the job range from challenges within the space where you deliver care to exposure to bloodborne pathogens. The key to assuring you remain injury-free (the better to serve your clients without interruption) is to understand potential dangers and stay one step ahead with a plan. 

Here, we highlight a few of the most significant risks and the safety tips you can easily implement!


Lifting and Transferring Patients

For home healthcare professionals, a portion of work regularly involves transferring patients from one activity to another. The physical labor of pushing, pulling, and lifting another person mean possible injuries to your own back, knees and neck. 

The home environment is unique as far as caregiving goes. A person’s house is not designed for patient care, meaning you might be missing equipment. Plus, the room is tight for the work you’re out to do. 

Patients return from hospitalization sooner these days, too. They more often have short-term mobility issues while in recovery as a result. Perhaps you’ll struggle to move patients while working solo, particularly those who are physically larger than you are. 

Patients need help with transfers for activities including:

  • Bed to chair
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • And bathroom assistance

Musculoskeletal damage can happen to caregivers with overexertion, particularly with tricky lifts and pivots in awkward positions. The repetition in the range of motion can have effects over time, too.

So, how do you stay ahead of the risks? Utilize all the tools and available to prevent injury. Specifically, you can avoid significant wear-and-tear on your body and keep your patient safe if you follow proper lifting and shifting procedures. 


Ergonomic Solutions for the Home Healthcare Provider

Ergonomics has come a long way in helping people in the healthcare industry recently. Furniture, equipment, and tasks have been re-imagined to help people efficiently and safely work to care for patients. 

Electrical and mechanical devices are available to assist with the hoist and transfer process, for instance. Other electrical devices like draw sheets, slide boards, rollers, slings, and belts are available, too. 

Solutions to streamline tasks range from built-in weighing scales to rolling toileting or shower chairs and adjustable beds. Each home needs to be assessed separately to see which devices will work best in the space.

Bringing ergonomic devices into a person’s home can be a challenge. Good communication between the patient, family, and service provider will help make decisions for the needed adjustments. 

As an in-home care professional, your job is to keep yourself and the patient safe. If you foresee any issues of mobility, discuss solutions with your employer to brainstorm ideas with you, the patient and the family. 

Per CDC guidance, there are some even more basic tips to help reduce your risk of injury: 

  • Use ergonomic devices when available. 
  • Do not stand in one position while bending, twisting, and reaching to perform a task. 
  • When manually moving a patient, stand as close as possible to the patient without twisting your back. Keep your knees bent and feet apart, and avoid rotating the spine while in motion, and make sure one foot is in the direction of the move.
  • Use a friction-reducing device such as a slip sheet whenever possible. Using gentle rocking motions can also reduce exertion while moving a patient. 
  • Pulling a patient up in bed is easier when the head of the bed is flat or down. Raise the patients knees and encourage the patient to push if possible, to help with a transfer. 


Bloodborne Pathogens and Needlestick Injuries

Working with sharps expose healthcare professionals to potential dangers of bloodborne pathogens, including Hepatitis B and C as well as HIV. Stabs from contaminated needles and sharps such as scalpels are the primary sources of accidental infection. 

Add in human error and distractions that come with an in-home environment such as family, pets, and clutter, and it’s clear that home healthcare providers must be extra-diligent to remain safe from jabs. 

It is vital to understand and plan for working with sharps. Take these steps to stay safe while working with your patients: 

  • Participate in your employer’s blood pathogen program. 
  • Educate the patient and family in the proper disposal of sharps. 
  • Avoid using needles whenever safer alternatives are available. 
  • Help your employer select safe sharp devices whenever possible. 
  • Refrain from recapping or bending contaminated needles. 
  • Before a procedure, plan for the disposable of contaminated materials in advance. 
  • Bring your own leak-proof and puncture-resistant sharps containers with you on visits. 
  • Secure used sharp containers while in transport.
  • Report any needle and sharp injuries.
  • If you are jabbed by a sharp, immediately wash the area with soap and water. 
  • If fluid is released in your eyes, nose, or mouth, flush those areas with water. 


Other Safety Hazards

Working in someone’s home can be an unpredictable environment for a healthcare professional. You bring your expertise into a space that is not usually suited for the work you do (or the needs of your client). The area may be tight and filled with clutter. There may not be ramps and grab bars to help with lifts and transfers. 

You also might have to deal with challenged family dynamics. The neighborhood could be dangerous for all you know.

Until you’ve established a relationship with your client, you must be vigilant about the condition and nature of his or her needs for care, the area of town, and the state of the home. 

Environmental Hazards: On your first visits with a client, be sure to note any issues that you feel pose a threat to the work you need to do. Have a discussion with your employer and with the client about this subject.  

Be organized with your materials and prepare for the unexpected by having ample PPE and other supplies like a hazard disposal container. Ask that pets be kept away during visits and discuss any issues of poor hygiene or noncompliance for safety with your employer. 

Violence: Protect yourself from ever becoming a victim by going to home visits with a plan. Per the AJMC, “while 75% of nearly 25,000 workplace assaults occur annually in healthcare settings, only 30% of nurses and 26% of emergency department physicians have reported incidents of violence.” 

Make sure you’re informed of the patient’s medical conditions and mental status before your initial visit. Ask about any history of aggression and learn if there are any family dynamics in the home you should know about, and also if there are firearms in the home. 

At every visit, be aware of the exits and trust your judgement if you feel unsafe. If you encounter any physical or verbal abuse, or your client is inebriated, remain calm and leave and then inform your employer immediately. 

Travel to unsafe neighborhoods requires planning in advance as well. Travel during the daytime, when possible, and park in well-lit highly visible areas where you can see all around you. 

When you drive in new areas, be sure to leave your windows up and doors locked. Leave all your supplies in the trunk of your vehicle, and let your employer know your route and schedule for each day’s visits. 


Prepare and Be Aware

Your work as an in-home healthcare professional is a vital service. You are making a difference in the lives of others and building a career with paths to other opportunities.

You want to enjoy the rewards of doing your job well and, under optimal conditions, to be the most effective. By preparing for possible hazards in advance, you reduce the chance of ever suffering from them.



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5 Reasons Massage Is Good for You as You Age

Your wisdom is a testament to the lifetime of lessons you’ve picked up. And while the wisdom is welcome, the wear and tear that the corresponding years have put on your body is not! Even if you wouldn’t change any of your life, your body clearly isn’t in the conditions it was when you were younger. 

Now it’s time to put that life knowledge to use by taking better care of you. Whether you’ve been diligently looking after your health for years or are playing “catchup,” adding something like massage therapy to your regimen could be the ticket to restoring some of your youthful vigor. 

For many people, massage is considered an indulgence—a rare event meant to give yourself a pampering gift. Today, however, massage is a mainstream supplement to medical practices, and is considered a beneficial treatment for many of the ails of an aging body. 

More people associate massage with health benefits than ever before. AMTA Massage cites that 86% of individuals view massage as being “beneficial to overall health and wellness.” And while massage is good for people of all ages, here we’ll highlight the five most important benefits for seniors. Then, there are also a few tips to help you select the therapist right for you! 

  1. A wellness plan you can control: Traditional medicine is only one avenue of treatment. Procedures and pharmaceuticals are essential, but can still fall short of treating the entire person.

    People are increasingly turning to Eastern and natural options when they realize something is “missing” that can’t be solved by a doctor visit. Per the CDC, a nationwide government survey reflects that 36% of U.S. adults aged 18 years and over use some form of complementary and alternative medicine to help fill in the gaps not met by traditional Western medicine.

    More than ever, people understand the value of trying nontraditional practices for wellness. Massage is one of the most popular treatments that fall into this category.

  2. Pain management: It’s an unfortunate reality that most people think aging and pain are inevitable. However, with the proper care, pain doesn’t need to be a dominating presence in an aging person’s life.

    Pain is your body’s way of alerting you that things are out-of-whack, most often in your musculoskeletal and nervous systems. Inflammation is your body’s go-to response for many of those underlying issues, and that inflammation leads to pain.

    Per Harvard Health, massage can relieve pain through several mechanisms, including relaxing muscles, tendons and joints, and helping “close the pain gate” by stimulating nerve fibers and impeding the pain messages to the brain.

    If you think of those aches and pains as tattoos of a full life lived, that can make the pill a bit easier to swallow. However, you needn’t lay down and just accept chronic pain with no relief. By incorporating massage as a part of your pain management strategy, you could enjoy a wider range of motion and less pain overall.

  3. Help for better sleep: Getting a good solid night of sleep can become a struggle for people as they age. If we persist in getting inadequate amounts of sleep, it adds up to increased stress and a reduced immune response.

    As we get older, our internal clock recalibrates. As changes in the brain cells occur, it impacts message about when we are hungry and when we feel tired or alert.

    To help combat this, science reveals that massage triggers serotonin, a neurotransmitter that induces a calm feeling. Seniors report sleeping more deeply and for longer periods when they receive regular massage treatments.

  4. Assist in physical and mental relaxation: You’re old enough to know that stress is a part of life at any age, but it turns out that stress is particularly hard on older people.

    Seniors deal with ongoing stress related to changes in health, fears about money, and a general concern about overall wellbeing. The persistence of stress manifests in the body by way of tense muscles, chronic pain, and decreased blood flow.

    Massage therapy improves blood circulation by mechanically assisting the blood flow back to the heart, much like exercise does. Increased circulation promotes the removal of waste products from the body and reduces heart and pulse rate through activation of the relaxation response.

  5. Better healing for injuries and illness: As we age, joints and muscles tighten, which can make it more difficult to heal from injury because range of motion is restricted. Massage keeps your muscles, connective tissues, joints, tendons, and ligaments more fluid and less injury-prone in the long run.

    Massage helps healing at the cellular level, too. A recent Atlantic article cites research led by McMasters University where scientists studied the biological changes brought on by massage. Here’s how it went:

    Young men pushed themselves to exhaustion on stationary bikes. Their leg muscles were checked prior to and right after exercise. Right after a vigorous workout, each participant’s muscles showed microscopic tears and inflammation. The men received 10 minutes of massage, and then their muscles were checked again after 2.5 hours.

    With just limited massage, the pushing and kneading reduced signs of inflammation. Massaged muscles produced new mitochondria, too, which assisted in a faster recovery.

    Athletes and trainers have known for a long time that massage helps heal stressed and strained muscles. If you think about it, aging is just one long marathon, and your body shows signs of the exertion of a lifetime!


Selecting a Massage Therapist

If you’re new massage, you’ll want to think about how to select a therapist suited for your needs. Here are a few tips to assist you in the search: 

  1. Identify your goals and related health issues.
  2. Get referrals from friends.
  3. If you use an in-home health professional, ask them about their services for massage or for any recommendations.
  4. Once you have potential candidates, ask for a brief consultation with each to discuss your goals and the therapist’s expertise for your particular concerns.


Besides…You Deserve a Massage

Incorporating massage therapy into your wellness regimen puts control of your wellbeing back in your court. As a non-invasive treatment, massage works to reduce pain, relax you, and help you bounce back from injury and illness. 

Whether your goal is to keep the physical abilities you have or to feel better and even improve, you’ve got solid reasons to schedule massage treatment on a regular basis. Not only does massage have medicinal value, it’s also a way to treat yourself well, and there is nothing wrong with that!



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Top 3 Amenities That Make Aging in Place More Successful

Wherever older people gather (particularly those of the baby boom generation), you can pick up on a prevailing vibe. We like to describe it as the energy of empowerment. These days, elders are not like their Depression-era parents. They are more active and have more expectations in growing old. 

Seniors make up an exceptionally large “piece” of the consumer pie, and they know what they like and want. With more Americans aging into this demographic every year, they are actively looking for places to remain active, keep learning, and age well. 

Per this MarketWatch article about boomers, “households with people age 80 and over jumped 71% from 4.4 million in 1990 to 7.5 million in 2016, according to Harvard’s Join Center for Housing Studies in its ‘Housing America’s Older Adults’ report. As baby boomers age, the number of households in this group will more than double by 2037.”

Every year, outlets like U.S. News publish the best places to age in the United States. The locations share common attributes that appeal to older Americans—at least, those who are in that group today. Often, they are warm, urban, and affordable cities with lower tax rates. This year’s list of high-ranking cities for retirees includes several based in Texas. 

When it comes to aging in place, elders look to balance where they live with the amenities that matter most. For you and your aging story, make it a point to assess the amenities available wherever you want to live. Weigh pros and cons of location in comparison to the perks. Then create a plan that will set you up to age and live well.

The Amenities Seniors Want

The truth is, no matter where you live, the amenities only matter if you use them. It’s essential to know yourself, do your homework, and make sure the benefits match with what will be most important to you. 

Of all the offerings, we’ve found that there are three that top the list:

1. Affordable appropriate homes: Seniors, like everyone else, want affordable and appropriate housing. Per Urban Wire, what may be less factored in when determining the age-in-place strategy is the long-term financial impact.  

2021-Q1-Clients-Top 3 Amenities to Age in Place Successfully-4This is especially true for determining whether to remain in a current home or right-size to something smaller. “According to the 2017 American Community Survey, over 40 percent of seniors age 55 to 75 years, and 38 percent of seniors age 75 and older live in 3-bedroom houses, suggesting a potential mismatch between the size/maintenance for the home and the needs of the inhabitants.” 

This decision will require a balance between budget and your emotions, too. Since housing is the primary amenity, it’s critical to plan in advance and bring in an expert. 

Make the investment of time and a consultation fee to call in a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialists (CAPS), too. That person will walk you through the options required to modify your existing house or one you’re about to buy.

The good news is that many of the modifications to your home won’t always cost a lot of money. Making doors wider, installing ramps and bars can all be done at affordable rates and as needed. 

Beyond updating a house for mobility requirements, it’s essential to factor in regular ongoing maintenance investments of your house, too. With more information, you’ll know if you’re better staying in an existing home or aging in place in something smaller.

2. Social connection: No matter where you age, staying connected to people is key to your mental, physical, and emotional health. Per the CDC, the health risks of loneliness for elders can be associated with a 50% increased risk of dementia, 29% increased risk of heart disease, and a 32% increased risk of stroke. 

2021-Q1-Clients-Top 3 Amenities to Age in Place Successfully-1Today’s seniors realize the value of social connections and keeping the relationships they’ve built, especially in the wake of 2020 and worldwide lockdowns. This basic need might be one of the primary reasons elders often choose to age-in-place in a home they’ve lived in for many years, since they have connections nearby.

When it comes to communities, seniors are less interested in outdated models where they’re warehoused away. More seniors are opting for intergenerational communities where they can remain for every stage of life instead.

To be and remain connected, you’ll want to plan your social calendar early. Volunteer for what you value, join a group or two, and dive into your favorite hobbies. 

Go ahead and reach out to family to build on existing bonds. And for those connections that have gathered dust, accept that the ball is in your court to reach out. You’re older, wiser and can take on the responsibility.

For most of us, it’s the family ties and/or friendships that enrich our lives most. Connect with your life-long loved ones and make a point to form new ones and foster them. Make connection a mission in your later years in organizations where you have things in common. Be the friend to others by reaching out first and often. 

2021-Q1-Clients-Top 3 Amenities to Age in Place Successfully-2With retirement, you will discover there is a whole world of things that happen during the day. A great way to connect with services and friends is through senior centers in your area. Over at FYI 50 plus, they have a robust list of them available in the state of Texas, for example. 

If the pandemic has taught us anything, we’ve discovered the huge universe of social activity online, too. You can join any number of groups on the internet. Over at One Family, they suggest a list of 20 of them! You can find those who have had a “similar walk of life” in Silversurfers, for example, or groups devoted to a passion such as dog or cat owners. 

Ponder your story of aging as it unfolds and make decisions about how you’ll stay involved in the word with others. Then take action now! Whether you’re a social butterfly or more of an introvert, you’ll want to tap into the resources available where you’ve chosen to live.

3. Services access: One major interest to seniors is the ability to get the services they want and need with ease. Whether you maintain a car, select public transit and rideshare, or prefer to walk, take proximity to services into account.

You can start by exploring what’s available at the state level. A review of your state’s human services website will provide insights of issues you’ll want to keep in mind. In Texas, for example, the Department of Health and Human Services outlines their areas of responsibility to support and protect the interests of seniors.

Another worthwhile investment could be to walk through your options with a professional. Whether your several years away from your older years, or they’re just around the corner, consulting with a certified Aging Life Care Professional will give you a better sense of what is available.

It’s essential to map out the logistics of the services you’ll need. Are you within walking distance of a grocery store, some restaurants, a walking trail, and entertainment outlets? How close are your doctor and other medical services? Where is your nearest community center and indoor exercise facility?

Research and Prepare

Aging in place is preferred by more seniors than ever because it can be affordable and far more comfortable than the other options. But to live well, it’s essential to do your homework and plan for different possible outcomes with changes in health.

In addition to where you live, it’s vital to maintain and expand your social circle. Take a look at the opportunities to engage in the community and consider how you’ll continue to grow and learn.

Note the services that are needed now and think forward to which others will be necessary as you age. You’ll want easy access to a grocery store, pharmacy and shopping in your area, for starters.

Aging is a journey that includes joys and challenges. Reduce the fear and uncertainty you have about this natural process by preparing in advance. Do your research, form a plan, and then go on and enjoy aging well.



20 social networking sites for over 50s | OneFamily

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4 Signs of Dental and Oral Trouble for Seniors

What goes “snap” in the night? Unfortunately, it can be a snapping jaw, painful sore tooth, or other oral woe. Any type of agony is troubling, but tooth pain can be especially distressing, especially after nightfall.

About that time someone realizes the discomfort is unbearable is when emergency dental services are hard to come by (and expensive). For seniors, problems associated with dental care are on the rise, too, because more elders have their natural teeth compared with just a generation ago.

This is good news but, as it turns out, also the source of more oral troubles in this population.

As a home health care provider, you might be the first line of defense for your clients when it comes to managing dental issues. By paying attention and coming harnessed with information, you can be a useful resource for your client to address oral health care.

Dental Hygiene and Seniors

As we age, our oral chemistry alters. Cells renew at a slower rate. Tissues become thinner and less elastic, and our bones aren’t as dense. 

In addition, our immune system weakens, making us more prone to infection. And if we do become ill, it can take longer to bounce back. 

When someone’s mouth environment shifts, they might see signs of it in their gums and teeth. Sometimes, these changes signal underlying health issues that need further attention. 

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1. Dry Mouth: As we age, our mouth produces less saliva. Food particles consequently don’t break down as quickly. This is why older teeth hold on to globs of white goo between teeth and dental work. Yuck!

Saliva helps protect teeth from decay while also contributing to gum health, too. When someone produces less saliva, it might make them prone to cavities and gum disease. It can also lead to frequently dry cracked lips and even fissured tongues. 

Dry mouth alters how food tastes and ease of swallowing, too. Health conditions such as diabetes and stroke (and the use of medications to manage other conditions) contribute to the production of less saliva as well. 

2021-Q1-Nurses-4 Signs of Dental And Oral Trouble In Seniors-32. Cavities: Decay occurs when plaque in the mouth converts the sugars and starches from food into acid. Acid attacks the tooth enamel, which leads to cavities. 

Per the American Dental Association (ADA), more seniors are experiencing tooth decay in their older years than ever before. “According to a 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, approximately 18% of adults aged 65 years or older with retained natural teeth had untreated caries, and by 2009-2012 that number jumped to 68%.”

2021-Q1-Nurses-4 Signs of Dental And Oral Trouble In Seniors-43. Gum Disease:  Receding gums occur when gum tissue pulls away from the teeth, exposing the base (or “root”) of the tooth. This makes it easier for bacteria to get into the tooth and lead to decay and inflammation. 

Sometimes, overaggressive brushing causes receding gums, but diseases such as periodontal disease or gingivitis are more frequently the culprits. In addition to the receding gums, a prominent sign of gum illness is the appearance of excessive bleeding during brushing. 

4. Lining of the Mouth: The mucosa is the membrane lining inside the mouth. As we age (and depending on our behaviors) oral cancer may appear here. 

The use of tobacco and excessive alcohol as well as family history and extreme sun exposure can put someone at higher risk of oral cancer. Alterations of the mucosa such as swelling, lumps, bumps and rough spots merit attention, however, no matter the medical history of the elder. 

There are other possible symptoms of oral cancer you can share from Web MD. One of the more common is the presence of white, red, or speckled patches in the mouth. If any of these issues persist, they should be looked at by a dentist.

Preventative Care Is Key

Be sure to talk about the importance of dental care with your clients. Discuss the need to be vigilant to note changes in their mouth and teeth. Review the maintenance of good oral hygiene, including: 

  • Brushing both morning and night
  • Flossing once a day
  • Keeping dentures clean
  • Scheduling regular dental visits
  • Reporting any changes in the teeth or mouth

For some seniors, the ability to keep vigilant with their oral health can be a challenge with changes in underlying health conditions and medications. In addition, seniors suffering from cognitive decline will struggle to keep to a hygiene regimen.

Dental Care Issues

Cavities, oral cancer, and other matters of dental hygiene are routinely reviewed during regular dental visits. Unfortunately, many seniors do not have dental insurance, and may not be able to afford the out-of-pocket expenses of dental care. 

The CDC found that slightly less than one-third of adults aged 65 and over have dental insurance. Adults 65 and over had one dental visit in the past 12 months, and for some seniors, regular dental visits were even less frequent or likely. 

There are dental insurance options for older Americans, but they must be considered based on individual needs and budgets. Investopedia breaks down their picks of the top seven dental insurance carriers for 2021, offering a good place for seniors to explore what’s available. 

The mouth has sometimes been described as a mirror that reflects the greater health of the individual. Certainly, whatever is going on inside someone’s body will eventually manifest in the state of the mouth!

We spend a lifetime taking our mouth and teeth for granted. Yet it’s how our body receives nourishment. We send our thoughts to the world by way of our mouth and express our happiest moments when our lips curve up into the smile. Provide your clients with useful information about good oral hygiene, and alert them to possible issues and changes that may arise. Seniors can make better decisions about their oral health if they are armed with better knowledge.



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Age In Place with the Home Team Advantage

Maybe you’ve heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” But truly, no matter the stage of life, we all need support. For seniors who want to age in place, a “home team” makes all the difference. 

As the over-50 population grows, more seniors want to age in the very places they’ve lived forever (or those they’ve adopted for the amenities they want most). But even though remaining independent and staying close to what we value is important, some of us face aging with a certain fear that we won’t be able to manage it.

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Per an AARP survey, “While 76% of Americans age 50 and older say they prefer to remain in their current residence and 77% would like to live in their community as long as possible, just 59% anticipate they will be able to stay in their community.”

The main goal for seniors aging in place is to maintain their health and stay in the home they enjoy. However, as we age, our body changes and causes a long list of limits in mobility. This makes falls the biggest rick for seniors living on their own.

Age Safe America tracks the statistics on this issue: “falls account for 25% of all hospital admissions and 40% of those admitted will never return to independent living and 25% will die within one year.”

Select Four Members for Your Home Team

Forming a plan to age in place means learning all that you can about how to “age-i-size” your home. By selecting your team of professionals equipped to do just that, you’ll have the support needed to make solid decisions and worthwhile investments for your health and safety.

First base: your indoor pro. The National Association of Home Builders considers home remodeling for clients aging in place one of the fastest growing segments in their industry. The population of elders is growing rapidly, as reported by the United Nations: “in 2018, for the first time in history, persons aged 65 or above outnumbered children under five years of age.” 

This means more people are seeking services and solutions to help them age well and stay home. If your aim is to retain your independence, you’ll want someone reliable who can help your home adapt with you. 

Certified Aging-in-place Specialists (CAPS) are trained to address the types of modifications specific to those aging. Given that the aging process is gradual, CAPS are suited to help their clients manage current needs for the house and also advise for possible projects down the road. 

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Given that CAPS are certified professionals, sometimes their work may be covered by Medicaid. Research this, but even if the expense is yours, working with a pro could save you money in the long haul because the work done will be done right.

There are a number of resources detailing the types of projects—both large and small—that you might consider to prepare your house, such as those listed over at National Institute for Aging. 

Here, we highlight three broad areas to consider where a CAPS pro can help: 

  • Lighting: As we age our eyes strain to adjust to changes in light, our ability to focus is reduced. One basic but significant fix is to add lighting to stairs and passageways. Even a specific coat of paint can change the impact of lighting. By selecting lighter non-glare colors for walls and white ceilings, light is refracted, making it easier for you to see in a space.  
  • Mobility: Stairs and bathrooms are the problem-points for falls for seniors. Interestingly, it turns out that many falls occur on flat surfaces, too. Adding handrails wherever there is motion (particularly when someone shifts from one position to another) is a good way to stay safe.
  • Accessibility: Making frequently used spaces such as interior and exterior stairs easier to reach helps seniors with access and reduces the likelihood of injury, too. Ramps are an option to eliminate stairs. Restructuring kitchen spaces and bringing washings machines to a main floor improves user experience and reduces injury risk, too. 

To find a CAPS expert in your area, visit National Association of Home Builders and use their directory. 

Second base: your outdoor pro. One of the more overlooked issues for preparing to age in place is budgeting for ongoing costs of home maintenance, inside and out. Beyond modifications, your home exterior will also need upkeep. 

Plowz and Mowz is a free app tool that allows users to check out contractors and read reviews. Angie’s List is another trusted resource where providers are rated. Finding the right professional is easier now than ever before so you can build your real “dream team.”

You can also tap into old fashioned methods to find your outdoor pro referral, such as word-of-mouth and suggestions from other local service providers. Ideally, by establishing a relationship with a service provider, you can secure regular and trusted help at fees you can incorporate in your budget for better planning.

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Third base: your organizer/cleaner pro. As you’ve added in years, your home has likely accumulated stuff. Unfortunately, some of those things end up clutter that pose a fall hazard.  

Even if you’ve decided to age in place in a home you’ve lived in for years, bringing order to those familiar spaces can provide you and your home a fresh start. Consider a consultation with a professional organizer to walk through your rooms and things. They can help you decide what to consolidate and remove entirely. 

Home Advisor, Angie’s List and Find My Organizer are online resources where you can begin your search. Chat about pricing and services and think about what your home could be like with a bit less stuff and cleaner, more open spaces. 

You can also make a word-of-mouth inquiry with friends and other service providers in your community for organizers and house cleaning services. If you have light housekeeping, laundry and meal preparation needs (or desires) too, check out a one-stop service like Home Health Companions to arrange these tasks for you. 

Home Plate: your total resource pro. Information is essential to aging in place successfully. And as long as you can gather tools and ideas, you will have options in how you live your life. 

Depending on the complexity of your health situation and in-home needs, consider working with a professional advocate trained to help seniors: an Aging Life Care professional. These certified providers become the person who helps you make sense of medical needs while also linking you to valuable resources for aging comfortably in your home.

If you feel overwhelmed trying to track all the treatment information, differing medical details and instructions, for example, an Aging Life Care professional helps streamline and make sense of it all.

The Home Run Is Preparation!

Every stage of life is new to you, so it’s no wonder you have questions! We all face a period of learning as we grow older, especially with the new normal of aging in place. Don’t be afraid to dive in and discover the resources and options in this remarkable part of your life.

And remember, being independent doesn’t mean you should expect to do all of this alone. It’s okay—and prudent—to create your home team to help stay healthy and safe.



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The New Reality of Being “Old” In A Post-COVID World

If there is anything that aging teaches us, it is to expect things never to stay the same. Yet, since the outbreak of COVID-19, change has been so swift that it’s been hard to keep up. One constant, however, has been that coronavirus poses the greatest risk to seniors.

It’s not even been a year since the first reported cases in Washington State, which decimated an assisted living community. From then on, scientists have worked rapidly to understand the symptoms, the impact, and the evolving treatments for this disease. 

The positive news of late is that a vaccine will soon be available to the public. But life as we knew it, particularly for elders, will never go back to what it was. Older people will need to adjust to a post-pandemic world. Keeping pace with the new normal and understanding how and why certain changes are essential will serve seniors well and help them stay healthy. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 in elders 

There is still significant confusion about COVID-19 in the public view, including questions of its infectiousness and how best to remain protected. Some of this is due to misinformation, such as the idea that COVID-19 only impacts the elderly. Another point of confusion is that so many patients remain asymptomatic, while those who fall dangerously ill and die do so in the seclusion of a hospital ICU. 

Furthermore, the science community is still out on why people have such a range of symptoms. Per Health Harvard, the gambit of severity is perplexing, but new research suggests that it might have something to do with an inadequate interferon response. For those patients, “their antibodies mistakenly attack and neutralize their interferons. And there are others who have a genetic mutation that prevents their body from producing enough of a certain type of interferon.” 

But why are seniors a specific target of the disease? It could have something to do with a weaker immune system. Science has discovered that as we age, our immune system does begin to lose some of its strength. Per Compass by WebMD, the data about aging and immunity show that our T-cells tend to slow down in response to invaders, so we get sick more often and take longer to recover. 

For adults, how we understand the symptoms of COVID-19 keeps evolving, but the most common we know are: fever, body ache, dry cough, fatigue, chills, headache, sore throat, loss of smell. If the illness escalates, it can lead to underlying conditions such as pneumonia (resulting in even higher fever), more severe cough, and a frightening shortness of breath. 

2020-Q4-Referrals-3-new-deal-for-the-old-post-covid-2With additional cases and more medical insights, the target for diagnosis of COVID-19 is always moving. Recently, for example, doctors have noted that seniors can present with delirium as a first indication. Per MedPage Today, 28% of COVID-19 patients 65 and older presented to the ED with delirium, and it was the primary symptom for 16% of patients. An alarming 37% of patients with delirium did not present with typical COVID-19. 

A New Life for Seniors 

Once the vaccine is widely circulated, it will still be a while before we can return to something in the ballpark of life as it used to be. For seniors, many choices and expectations will be altered permanently. A list of the most immediate changes older people can expect are featured here, but as with everything, it is always evolving!

2020-Q4-Referrals-3-new-deal-for-the-old-post-covid-3“Mask up” often: The number-one thing that has been clear during this pandemic is that we all expel and inhale germs all the time, which poses a risk when someone is sick. Even once we’ve reached public immunity for COVID-19, seniors may need to remain prudent and mask up in public settings. For activities such as shopping and travel, keeping a mask on could be considered standard practice.  

2020-Q4-Referrals-3-new-deal-for-the-old-post-covid-4Travel changes: Per RISMedia, travel for seniors could be different as well. Expect more elders to travel by car for trips of 800 miles or less, rather than navigating a crowded and busy airport. And foreign excursions may be curtailed in exchange for closer in-country destinations. For those who do fly and can afford it, seniors might spend their dollars flying business class or purchase a ticket for a middle seat to create some distance on a plane. 

2020-Q4-Referrals-3-new-deal-for-the-old-post-covid-5Disinfecting: If you’ve ever felt like a lone germaphobe in a world where others just don’t care, now is your time to shine! You’ll see how every business and service everywhere continues to pitch cleanliness. The disinfecting of surfaces and air will be essential for any business that serves the public. Anticipate a response to the desire for greater physical distance to impact the design of shared spaces and architecture, too.

2020-Q4-Referrals-3-new-deal-for-the-old-post-covid-6Vaccines required: You know that if you travel abroad or work in medical fields that vaccines are often required. As we move into the vaccine phase for COVID-19, expect that certain employers will require a vaccine for their employees, and specific businesses such as those serving travelers may expect customers to get vaccinated prior to getting aboard planes and cruise ships.

Technology connect: Don’t hang up those technology tools you learned to use during the pandemic! Teleconferencing with physicians will continue as a prime method to keep communication open between patient and doctor. 2020-Q4-Referrals-3-new-deal-for-the-old-post-covid-7Expect less time in travel, less exposure in medical settings, and more quality face-to-face with your doctor—often virtually—in the future.

Seniors have gotten used to the delivery of groceries and other services via the click of a button on their phone, too, and these services will continue to be in demand. And since staying in touch needn’t wait anymore until gathering in person, elders will also use their phones or tablets more often to connect with family and friends all over the world.

2020-Q4-Referrals-3-new-deal-for-the-old-post-covid-8Age in-place: Occupancy in senior living communities has taken a hit during the pandemic. It’s a trend that persists as more families elect to age in place longer than they might have just a few years ago. 

The article, How COVID-19 Will Shape the Future of Senior Living. New Models of Care, More Aging In Place, over at Barrons, provides an insightful breakdown of the impact on senior living facilities. “Before the crisis, roughly a fifth of senior-living communities had occupancy rates of below 80%—a level that could make it harder for them to weather the slowdown, especially as costs increase and cash flow takes a hit.” 

While assisted living and memory care will recover, the economy and lowered confidence in the senior living industry will have many elders electing to age in place instead. Demand for in-home services including caregivers, companions, and private duty nursing offered by providers such as Home Health Companions will continue to increase.

Accepting and adapting for your health

In the future, armed with this newfound information gained from the pandemic, seniors will need to be more cautious about infections and veer away from large gatherings. However, thanks to technology and a myriad of options available today, the later years need don’t have to remain uninteresting or isolated!

Seniors know a thing or two about adapting because they’ve lived long enough to know that change is a part of life. Of course, nothing is meant to stay the same, but how we come to deal with the differences is what really matters.


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Should You Inspect Your Poo?

Let’s head to the bathroom for a moment, particularly at the time you need to relieve your bowels. Feeling a bit uncomfortable? It’s okay, you’re not alone—but we should all be mindful, because what goes on in your stool can help you know more about what is going on in your body. 

Perhaps you have a preferred moniker for relieving yourself? Maybe you veer to the “comfort room” language, or “go number two,” or even “drop a deuce.” No matter how you term it, this is obviously something we all do and is a kind of whisperer as to the inner workings of your digestive system. 

What goes on down there?

So, now that we’ve gone to the bathroom, it seems reasonable to ask: do you look inside the toilet? Do you turn and take a quick peek before you hit the flush? 

2020-Q4-Clients-3-Should You Inspect Your Poo-1It’s fine to admit that you do and probably built into each of us to take an interest in our feces. As animals, the instinct to look is primal. We look to see what is coming out because at an almost instinctive level we “know” that matter has things to tell us about our body. 

The stats in a study conducted by gastroenterologists and reported over at Discover provide some insight into our behavior on this subject. They found that only 27% of participants looked at every stool and wipe, and that 6% never looked at their feces or toilet paper. The extreme ends of this study are significant. 

Do you look every time? Or do you never take a look? Most of us fall in the other 67% of this population and at least look now and then. To see why periodic stool inspection matters, it’s important to have a layman’s understanding of what goes on in the digestive process. 

The story of digestion starts when you take a bite. You masticate (a fancy word for chew) and introduce saliva to the food to help break down sugars and assist it toward your throat and into your esophagus. 

The food moves down your esophagus by means of peristalsis, which are wavelike contractions of the muscles in the digestive pathway, until it is sent to your stomach. There, the food is showered in gastric juices so that the proteins break down. 

The food then passes through the small intestine where it is bathed in bile—which digests fats—and pancreatic juices—which contain enzymes to digest carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. 

The walls of the small intestine also release enzymes to help with digestion on this massive journey of five meters in length. Once the food finishes its path through the small intestine, nearly all the nutrients of the food have been absorbed. 

The food then moves into the large intestine where the main function is to absorb water, remaining nutrients, and salts, and convert waste products into a more solid form to be excreted from the body. The colon ends in the rectum and anal canal where the fecal material is ready to be expelled from the body through the anus. The IBD clinic provides this wonderful video of the process described here.  

Your body is a well-ordered combination of systems that all take place mostly inside of us, so when we emit anything it affords us a chance to at least pick up a clue as to what is happening inside.

Go ahead and look

If you are going to take a look at what you’ve dropped in the bowl, then it will help if you know a few things about what is normal in the first place. You’ll be inspecting your stool for color, consistency, and timing to compare with your baseline in the future.

What will be noteworthy are those instances of continued anomalies in your bowel function. So, as you go, keep track to report to healthcare professionals when there are any significant changes. One such person would be your in-home healthcare professional, such as those of Home Health Companions. These are people who see you regularly and will be part of the team to keep you on target with your health needs and concerns. 

Now let’s break down each of these categories with the terminology and information that will make your inspection more useful. 

Color: The typical color of your stool is likely in the medium brown range. If you produce something quite light or nearly black, then keep an eye for color should the trend continue. And what can other colors mean? 

  • Per Penn Medicine states that an especially light-colored stool could indicate infection, inflammation, or the blockage of bile ducts. 
  • Blood in your stool could mean several things, including bleeding in the rectum or anus (hemorrhoids commonly cause this) to swelling in the lining of your stomach. 
  • Black stool could be associated with something you’ve eaten or bleeding taking place somewhere along your digestive tract. If you find your stools are black after several voids, you’ll want to report the change to your doctor. 

Consistency: Once you’ve established what is your “regular,” pay attention to any stool that is too hard or too mushy or difficult to clean away with toilet paper. Specifically, you are looking for variations of shape and texture don’t go away in a few days. 

Over at Healthline they detail a system called the Bristol Stool Scale based on a study of 2,000 people, through which they determined seven types of stool with associated grades. We’ll hit on just a few of the points on the scale here:

  • Type I, appearance of marbles, this indicates constipation. This is something you’ll also have realized based on your length of time spent on the toilet. 
  • Type 3, log or hot dog shapes, are considered normal stool. 
  • Type 7, a watery mess that’s hard to clean with wiping, indicates full-on diarrhea. Of course, you most likely knew something was off if you had stomach cramping prior to going to the bathroom in the first place.

With any of these variations on the scale, there is usually nothing to do if you have a one-off incident. But make note if the how long any outlier continues, as this will be information to share with your doctor. 

Timing: How often do you go? Whether it is once a day, or once every couple, you know your standard. 

2020-Q4-Clients-3-Should You Inspect Your Poo-3A lot is made of regularity, and for good reason. Someone dealing with constipation feels the discomfort akin to carting around an anvil. Per a report on GI health over at U.S. News if you go (or don’t in this case) longer than three days, it’s time to let a medical professional know. Constipation is most often caused by lack of water or fiber, but could also be associated with other issues such as a change in medications. 

On the other side of the stool spectrum, a bout of diarrhea is awful and makes you feel uncertain you can even leave your home safely. A significant factor for this, especially as we age, can be a change in food sensitivity. Food allergies have become a hot topic in recent decades with many hypersensitive to the lactose and gluten in foods, for example. 

But aging and food sensitivity have become more prevalent now that more people live longer. It is possible that foods you once ate when you were younger suddenly turn on you as you age. In Today’s Dietitian, Larissa Brophy explains how food sensitivities come on with age as our immune systems change or undergo “immunosenescence.” 

Our innate and adaptive immune systems are impacted as we grow older, causing specific alterations of the various cell types of the immune system. Mast cells, for example, are key to food allergy reaction, and as we age their reactions in the digestion process are altered. 

Everybody’s doing it…

It’s not that we want to gravitate to bathroom humor on this topic—we just want to make sure you benefit from knowing as much as you can about reading your overall health. Keep your eye out for changes in stool color, consistency and timing that persist for longer than a few days. 

2020-Q4-Clients-3-Should You Inspect Your Poo-4If you still feel a bit squeamish about the subject of “number two” and taking a glance in the bowl, consider the Groom of Stool as described over at Historic UK. Back during the 15th century, Henry VIII designated the first “grooms” for the role of royal poop inspection. Grooms of stool were an honored breed, and considered a position generally assigned to the sons of noblemen or members of the gentry. After Henry, the tradition of royal fecal inspection persisted for several centuries, because change in stool can be the window to what is going on inside. So, think of yourself as being rather regal, and go ahead and take a look!


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Health Care Services

How to Successfully Team with Your Patient for Better Results

You know (and I do, too) that not all our behaviors work in our best interests. Some of us eat too much sugar, sit on the couch too often, and imbibe the additional beer—knowingly to our detriment. Many of us want to do better, but we are instead drawn to what is easy, preferring instant gratification and the rewards it brings. The reason for the disconnect, as psychologist Dan Gilbert explains, is that we walk around with an illusion of our personal history—we believe that who we are right now is who we will remain the rest of our lives. When we imagine our future selves, they’re just wrinklier versions of the same person we are now—behaviors, beliefs and preferences in-tact.

Diving deeper, this comes from the false belief that we don’t change, which can leave us stalled, even when faced with information that asserts we must. In the healthcare sphere, patient resistance to caretakers trying to help positive change happen is a daily problem. The disconnect comes between the sterile clinical side of medicine advising what we “must” do versus the reality of human behavior, as seen in those receiving care. 

2020-Q4-Nurses-3-How to Team with Your Patient For Better Health Outcomes-2Patients most often resist medical treatments when they perceive the choice is one of life versus quality of life.  According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 125,00 people with treatable ailments die each year in the United States because they don’t take their medication properly. And 10-25% of hospital and nursing home admissions result from patient noncompliance at home. 

If you’re a health care provider, you understand this; you’ve witnessed it countless times. The good news is that there are now more tools and options in your medical toolbox to help you work together with patients. The message has finally shifted from a cold and clinical perspective to one rooted in personal empowerment. You and the patient are a team.

What really inspires patient engagement?

Before we can delve into how to encourage teamwork, let’s define what patient engagement is. Per healthcare communications expert Spōk, medical providers sometimes confuse engagement with other measures of satisfaction and experience. So, to be specific, engagement here is: “Actions individuals must take to obtain the greatest benefit from the health care services available to them.” 

2020-Q4-Nurses-3-How to Team with Your Patient For Better Health Outcomes-3Engagement requires good communication and collaboration between the patient and healthcare provider. When patients are engaged, they are more likely to remain out of the hospital and comply with your care plans, thus reducing the likelihood of additional costs such as further diagnostic testing, referrals, and additional surgeries. 

A patient-driven strategy

So, how can you work in tandem with your patient to see these improvements in engagement? Here, we highlight several concepts that empower patients. You are an essential part of the medical environment, and technology has proved a boon, too, as has the advance of information access. The total result has been a melding of lessons that have significantly altered the overall in-home-care patient experience. 

  1. True collaboration: To achieve cooperation, the goals for healing must be meaningful to the patient. Dropping pounds, lowering blood pressure, or adjusting triglycerides may not be compelling if driven by metrics alone. It’s far better if the payoff is a relatable reward—for example, achieving the health for more fun activities, such as dancing or being able to pick up a grandchild easily. Brainstorm with patients to set their targets, and encourage family support if the patient wants the boost.
  2. Make change easier: Change is tough, especially when it is thrust upon someone due to a health issue. Tech has stepped in with solutions from reminders for medications to tracking behaviors, all of which make creating new habits more fun and manageable. Clinics and pharmacies also use tech to send text reminders for appointments and refill prescriptions. Some medical outlets offer perks such as rewards for goals met and memberships to services such as gyms. Turning behavior change into a game-like challenge to manage rather than a problem to overcome shifts the dynamic. 
  3. Medical Report Record Form History Patient Concept

    Communication control: Nothing is quite as empowering as the access to information. Assuring patients can easily communicate with their physicians via email has been a significant change from healthcare delivery of the past. And now that more medical records are digitized, patients can receive their medical information faster, too. In this paradigm where the patient is part of the solution, tools of communication have made all the difference. 

  4. Honor the patient experience: Perhaps the best way to empower patients and to establish trust is to honor the patient experience. Individuals must be able to speak freely and tell their story, even if some details fall outside the data needed for medical records. For some, it is therapeutic to share their journey and even hear from others on a similar path. Invite patients to join online groups and in-person gatherings to encourage personal storytelling. 

When health care professionals can step back and see the person behind the patient, the foundation for effective interaction is laid. Sometimes the act of listening is what is key. When there are setbacks, it will then be easier for a patient to acknowledge them and pick up to move forward again if they feel heard.

An improved care experience

Today, it is hard to remember the old, patriarchal climate of medicine when patients were subservient and clueless in their healthcare situation. We’ve come a long way in recognizing the value of a collaborative environment. For the patient, the advantage is increased adherence to medical directions, which translates to better outcomes. 

With the use of technology, access to information, and a focus on teamwork, patients can take a personal stake in their care. And for health care providers, patient engagement means your work is more likely to make a positive difference.



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Health Care Services

6 Reasons to Be A Home Healthcare Provider

Why do you work? You might think this is a trick question, but dive below your first answer and give this a moment of thought. The average fulltime employee spends 40 hours a week at their job. Over a lifetime, a fully-employed person works an average of 90,000 hours or nearly one third of their life. 

2020-Q4-Nurses-2-Six Reasons To Be A Home Health Care Provider-1In her book “The Writing Life,” author Annie Dillard notes, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. If you start to sum up your days and realize how much of it is spent working, then all the sudden your work needs to be much more than a paycheck. Your time working comprises a lot of the limited time that is your life.”

In this post, we’ll point to the top 6 reasons that working to bring healthcare to people where they live (aka, home health care) is a truly incredible use of your time that will bring you much more than a paycheck.

  1. 2020-Q4-Nurses-2-Six Reasons To Be A Home Health Care Provider-3You’re in demand. Nobody likes feeling like “a dime a dozen,” and in the healthcare industry, particularly for in-home care, you are a jewel. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for home health aides will increase to as high as 34 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. As the baby-boom generation ages and the elderly population grows, the need for the services of home health aides andpersonal care aides will continue to increase.
  2. In-home care is optimal care. For those who truly want their work to have an impact in the lives of others, health care services provided to people in their homes is more effective than in retirement facilities or long-term hospital stays. Per the Institute on Aging, remaining at home is the most desired option among older adults, and aging in place comes with multiple benefits. Research shows that seniors are far happier living at home and that the service received happens to be much more affordable than in the institutional setting. When you bring care to the places people live, they respond better and can stave off facility care longer or indefinitely. 
  3. You build important relationships. Once you’ve onboarded with a service such as Home Health Companions, you’ll build a roster of clients who will come to count on you for care and you’ll establish a relation of trust. These clients won’t be just patients, but people with whom you’ll feel connected knowing that you see them regularly. 
  4. Flexibility in your work. Home health care providers enjoy caring for others and the positive impact of their support. With time, once you’ve established your relationships, you can work autonomously to determine who needs more care and at what time of day. This self-management allows you to work independently and ensures you meet client needs efficiently. You’ll also find that you’re more resourceful in matching care needs and your skills as they evolve, thus build your own self-reliance. 
  5. You will be on the cutting edge of technology advances. After the care of your patients, the most important work of in-home care providers is to document your work and your client’s health data and information. As in-home care continues to increase, technology is ever-changing to help providers bring in the treatments and efficiently document important information in real time. It’s likely you’ll be using the latest and greatest of tech for all parts of care as this market continues to expand.
  6. You can specialize. With more people using in-home care services, the range of conditions continues to increase as well. Several key areas of medical need begin to arise that require specialized care. If you find you prefer to work with patients who are dealing with specific health concerns, the opportunity to specialize your care for a subset of clients may be an opportunity as you move forward.

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Your desire to be of service and make the time you invest in work count is noble as well as invaluable to your personal wellbeing. If you work for the paycheck alone and derive little satisfaction from what you do, on the other hand, you are not meant to be a home healthcare provider. 

If you want a career that will be in demand and where you can make a difference, you’ll continue to see your fortunes improve in this space. Home health care providers along with several states and federal programs continue to crunch the numbers to find the right balance for salaries and what the market can afford.

The data points to the many benefits of helping people stay at home while receiving medical care. In-home care outpaces long-term care and extended hospitalizations for cost in relation to its benefits. This means you will see an increase in your income with time as you build your career. 


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Teach Your Old Skin New Tricks with These Three Tips

2020-Q4-Referrals-2-Teach Your Old Skin New Tricks with These Three Tips-1The aging process can be a hard pill to swallow as you look in the mirror, but take a step back and recognize the marvel of your body—even as it changes! Did you know, for instance, that your skin is the largest organ of your body (covering an average area of 20 square feet)? It turns out that outer package of yours amounts to a significant portion of your body, so caring for it properly can pay off.

Though you may feel like a bucket of bones, it’s really your skin (wrinkles and all) that is keeping you all together. And caring for it can make a huge difference in how you feel. Your skin protects you from microbes and the elements, helps regulate your body temperature, and alerts you via the sensation of touch to pull back from the hot handle of the pot or wrap warmly when you head outdoors on a cold day. 

In this post, we’ll list the best ways you can keep your skin in top-notch health as you age.

1. Hydrate

2020-Q4-Referrals-2-Teach Your Old Skin New Tricks with These Three Tips-2You started to see the differences in your skin with age as it lost elasticity and became thinner. Your veins might have begun to appear more visible, and those wounds you once bounced back from now take longer to heal. 

Often, the first response is to address the appearance of aging with the usual anti-aging serums and creams. It’s debatable if you can really “reverse” aging, but maybe you can camouflage it a bit. More importantly, if you want to keep your skin healthy (thereby giving it the best chance it has at aging more slowly), it’s essential to keep your body and skin hydrated. Here’s how:

  • Drink water
  • Avoid the sun
  • Use sun blocks with moisturizing creams
  • Stop smoking
  • Run a humidifier during dry months. 
  • Take fewer baths and use fewer soaps

2. Investigate

Given that your skin encloses the rest of your bones, muscles and organs, it makes sense that it can foretell other issues going on within. Changes you see that are skin-deep merit closer attention. It’s not uncommon to experience more bruising with age, for example, which can be a side-effect of medications or other medical concerns. If you see bruises more frequently in places you can’t easily explain, be sure to mention them to your doctor. 

The most common skin changes that come on with age are benign, such as age spots (flat, brown colorations that come with years in the sun), and skin tags (flesh-colored growths of skin that spout up from the skin’s surface like a tiny tongue, often on your neck). 

Skin cancer is the primary reason to routinely investigate your skin, as it’s the most common type of cancer in the United States. Primary causes of skin cancer include exposure to the sun along with sunlamps and tanning beds, all of which deliver those ultra-violate rays most harmful to the skin. The importance of early detection for skin cancer is imperative. 

The principle types of skin cancer include basal and squamous cell carcinoma, both of which which grow slowly and rarely spread to other parts of the body. The third skin cancer melanoma is the most dangerous because it can spread to other organs, though it is rarer than the others. 

A monthly review of your skin is a time to spot new growths, such as a sore that does not heal, or bleeding moles. Check birthmarks and other parts of the skin for the “ABCDEs of skin changes.” This anacronym helps you track as you inspect. If you see any of these changes, see your doctor.

2020-Q4-Referrals-2-Teach Your Old Skin New Tricks with These Three Tips-4A = Asymmetry (one half of the growth looks different from the other half)

B = Borders that are irregular

C = Color changes or more than one color

D = Diameter greater than the size of a pencil eraser

E = Evolving: this means the growth changes in size, shape, symptoms (itching, tenderness), surface (especially bleeding), or shades of colorIf you work with a home healthcare provider such as those at Home Health Companions, he or she can help you track skin changes and keep a regular record. And if you’ve had any issues with skin growths that were pre-cancerous or any cancer of any kind, then yearly or bi-annual checkups with a dermatologist could be recommended (and should be added to your health resume).

3. Mitigate

You can’t undo the years of damage to your skin from sun exposure and aging, but you can protect your skin going forward. Be sure to work in the following practices to reduce further harm and enjoy your older skin!

  • Limit your time in the sun. You can be outside, but now is the season of life to bask under umbrellas and in the shade of trees rather than in direct sunlight. 
  • Wear clothing that covers your skin; and if it is hot, keep the items loose. Long sleeves, slacks and hats are key. Make sure the hat covers both the back of your neck and shades your face well. 
  • Use sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher and select sunscreens that list “broad spectrum” on the label
  • No more sunbathing which includes tanning beds.

You might not be able to alter the years that show on your skin, but you can insure it goes the distance with you and keeps you intact. Remember to treat your skin like the wonder of your anatomy it is with attention to hydrate, investigate, and mitigate it as you move on in health.


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Isolation During COVID-19: The Silent Killer

Striking a balance between quantity and quality of life is something for both patients and health care professionals to consider. Medical science has the means to extend life, but if additional days come at the price of personal well-being, a patient may opt out of treatment altogether. 

Since COVID-19 first broke out in the United States in March 2020 in an acute care facility, health experts have warned that older people are at a higher risk if they contract the virus. The understandable response has been to segregate the older population to their homes (or facilities) to reduce potential infection. However, as quarantine has continued, the ramifications of prolonged isolation have posed a significant health problem as well. 

In the article “The hidden Covid-19 health crisis: Elderly people are dying from isolation,” several examples of the adverse impacts of isolation are detailed, including that of Chester Peske, a 98-year-old male who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease before the pandemic began. 

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It wasn’t just that Chester’s family couldn’t visit once his facility was closed to visitors; it was also the reality that the daily activities of life and social interaction at the facility were discontinued, too. Within a short time, Chester’s health declined. He stopped eating and withdrew until he was identified with failure to thrive and sadly passed away without his family being able to say goodbye. 

Chester’s example is an unfortunate one that has been repeated in other elder care environments, too. It’s even manifested among the caregivers serving this population, since they, too, have to isolate to protect their clients. Due to exclusion from people and purpose, elders are also reported to suffer more falls, are less ambulatory, and have seen other existing conditions accelerate, such as dementia. 

Data as to the impact of isolation as a cause of death is not widely available, but family and care takers are reporting more stories like Chester’s. People in quarantine are “being robbed of whatever good days they have left, and the situation is accelerating the aging process,” per Joshua Uy, associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

Isolation-Health Impact

2020-Q4-Clients-2-Isolation During the Pandemic, A Silent Killer-1We are social beings. We need to feel connected to others and have a sense that we’re realizing our purpose. And yet, we live in a culture where many experience loneliness even during normal times. From Designs for Health, a recent article makes the point that even with all the technology available today, people feel lonelier than ever. “Nearly 35 percent of all US adults over the age of 45, 80 percent of those under 18 years, and 40 percent of those over 65 years are reported as lonely.” 

The use of quarantine as a remedy to stave off infection has unintentionally exacerbated mental health problems for some, and hit seniors hard, in particular. The lack of family contact and social interaction has led some seniors to experience mental health problems alone, including depression and anxiety. 

As these mental conditions persist, a person’s overall health suffers, too. Illnesses such as high blood pressure and heart disease worsen, and a feeling of hopelessness leads to poor choices such as pulling inward even further from those few people an elder can interact with. Persistent depression alters the brain’s neuro-chemical pathways, and thoughts that had once seemed uncharacteristic of a person make sense in their new state of thinking.

Combatting Isolation

As the lockdown continues, experts recognize that more needs to be done to address the mental health issues of isolation. Elder care professionals are working together across states to share ideas for how to safely support seniors. 

A few of the more innovative solutions presented by ADvancing States to assist aging and disability agencies are listed below. 

  • Robotic Interactive Companion Pets: Several states began purchasing robotic pets and dispersing them to seniors to help improve overall mood for individuals. As of August 2020, in Alabama, for example, 130 pets were dispersed to communities across the state and due to favorable response, they plan to purchase and disperse more. 
  • Neighbor-to-Neighbor campaigns: States are using existing platforms to encourage connection between neighbors. 2020-Q4-Clients-2-Isolation During the Pandemic, A Silent Killer-4Older residents can ask for and receive specific support from volunteers in California, for example, via the Nextdoor app.
  • Tailored technology: Programs throughout the country are utilizing technology and virtual connectivity. Project VITAL (Virtual Inclusive Technology for ALL) in Florida works to connect seniors through specially designed tablets that can access resources like music, books, games and provide the ability to video chat and email with family. 

For seniors who live alone, there are additional resources you can ask for in your community. If you need help finding outlets, look to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services for ideas provided at the state level. There are also Aging Life Care certified professionals such as those at Home Health Companions whom you can hire to assist in help you access the services most beneficial for your particular needs. 

Most important is to understand that isolation leads some to believe they are truly alone. However, the truth is that more health professionals recognize today than ever that we must address the underlying mental health illnesses aggravated by the pandemic. The quarantine may be the momentary solution until there is a vaccine, but it needn’t be the conduit of mental health problems for our seniors if we respond appropriately.


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3 Essentials to Make Your Home a Fall-Free Zone

Charlie Chaplin perfected the art of falling on his rear in his classic silent films. His slip-on-the-banana-peel bit first appeared in 1915 in the movie “By the Sea.” Since then, it has become a classic shtick emulated by other actors throughout the years. It’s a funny piece of slapstick, and we laugh together as The Tramp tosses down the peel and promptly slips across it with his feet swooshing out from under him. Flat on his back, we know he’ll be back up and on the move again in less than a second.

Chaplin had several advantages when he made his famous fall: he was young, and he was prepared. Unfortunately, most falls in life are not planned and can lead to injury, and are increasingly serious as we age. In fact, falls are one of the more common reasons that elders land in the hospital. 

Per the National council on Aging, “One in four Americans aged 65+ falls each year. Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall. Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.”

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The irony of life is that just as our bones and muscles become less able to heal from injury, our senses begin to run amuck in helping us remain upright. Our center of gravity doesn’t adjust as quickly as it used to, and our vision and hearing aren’t as keen was they once were. So, falling is definitely something we need help avoiding as we get older!

The very good news is that there are actions and precautions you can take to make your home more fall-proof. By assessing and recognizing your mobility issues and addressing the following three essentials, you have several things to do that are within your control:

1. Clear the clutter. Whether your style is tidy or more packrat, now is the time to join the minimalist bandwagon and reduce anything in your path that you don’t need. Clutter is the #1 hazard that often leads to falls.

  • Remove anything that blocks your hallways, stairs, and along the entryways from one room to another. Don’t leave books, paper, clothes or shoes in any of your walking areas. 
  • Remove throw rugs and small rugs. If you want rugs at the foot of your kitchen or bathroom sink, make sure they are non-skid mats. 
  • Secure larger area rugs with adhesive to prevent rolled corners. 
  • Organize, wrap up, and pin back electrical cords so they are out of the way. 
  • Make sure furnishings are cleared from paths. 
  • Get in the declutter groove. You think your life is set and there are no new chapters? Think again! Take on the project of reducing your stuff, and enjoy the renewal and a new look at the world in the process.

You can start by assessing the photos, books, and other objects in your home and considering what you need and what could serve someone else. You might find it’s much easier to let things go if you know they are going to good homes where they’ll be of use. 

Tell the stories in the family photos and heirlooms by giving them to others in the family. Find local services that can use the books and furnishings you no longer need in your space. Check out resources to assist seniors where you live, or work with an advocate who can help you find the right support, or hire a pro to guide you in the project through internet searches such as Find My Organizer.

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2. Apply good lighting. You know soft lighting sets the ambiance for a romantic moment, but when it comes to lighting your way in your home, brighter is better.

  • Make sure the stairs and entryways to rooms are lit well so you can see where you’re going. 
  • Install light switches at both the top and the bottom of your stairs. 
  • Use nightlights in your bedroom and keep a flashlight handy by your bed. 
  • Make certain the entrances to your home are free of structural damage, and be sure to have motion-sensing lighting installed.

3. Keep spaces designed age-appropriate. Look at everything you’re using in your home and ask, “How can this hurt or help me?” Is the comfy chair one I can get into and out of easily? Are the things I use most within easy reach? As you work to remain mobile and independent, it is vital to look critically at your space and all the things you use in order to be certain they are ergonomically useful and practically placed.

  • Assess furniture and fixtures such as toilets and counter tops to be sure they are the right height. 
  • Mount grab bars near your toilets, and both inside and outside your shower. Make sure the railings for your stairs are sturdy and useful. Consider installing double railings where possible.
  • When the tasks are more involved than your skillsets, utilize an accredited aging in place handyman to install flooring, upgrade electrical and plumbing fixtures, and make sure railings and other built-ins are securely anchored. Get an assessment done by a pro to help you see what you’re missing.

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Most people find that, as they age, remaining at home is both a comfort and a cost-effective lifestyle choice. But in order for it to work well and for the long-term, you have to take control of the things within your control such as how your house is set up. By being proactive about your aging-in-place plan, your house can remain your home sweet home forever.


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Nurses, Caregivers and CNAs: Boost Your Confidence for Your Interview

For any recent grads in nursing, CNA programs or like studies, you’ve accomplished something significant by completing your education and training. Now, it’s time to apply for positions and prepare for the interviews.

The great news is that you are—and will always be—in demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the growth of these fields is greater than the average for all occupations, and is expected to increase by another 11% between now and 2026.

Whether this is your first job or a career change, you’ll want to put your best foot forward to apply, interview, and secure the position you want. It’s understandable that you might feel nervous 

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about the job hunt, but if you prepare in advance, you’ll feel be confident and stand out as a good candidate. 

In this post we’ll share key tips to note for online job applications, how to prepare for your job interview, and how to follow up once you meet with a prospective employer. And don’t forget—Home Health Companions is hiring, too!

Prep for online application processes

Job seekers and employers are online these days with a number of portals used to communicate. Often, human resource departments use these services like Indeed and Glassdoor to help them quickly select the most qualified candidates for their needs.

You can check out a list of job services over at the The Balance Careers article featuring the top 10 and determine which platform you like best as a job hunter. Ideally, start with one or two and become familiar with how to craft and load your resume before applying for several positions in their system. 

No matter the platform, you’ll start by writing or loading your general resume. This should include dates and descriptions of prior jobs, as well as a list or description of the skills you used in that role. You can also include a separate list of general or specific skills you acquired in training and your education. Use this information to create specific resumes for each application you complete based on the description of a position provided by the employer (selecting or reworking your skills to reflect the skills asked for in the job description). 

Along with your resume, you might be asked to include a list of up to three references. Prepare your list in advance by asking permission from your sources and collecting their preferred email addresses and phone numbers. References can be your instructors, supervisors, managers and co-workers from your past jobs, and even people you know through volunteer activities.

Use your descriptive words! Human Resource staff use online job search tools to help them target applicants who are the best fit for a position. By using popular keywords (which you can glean from existing job posts), these online portals help HR departments discover you.

In addition to job search websites, you can also look for positions for specific business and facilities where you may want to work. Perhaps your training took place in a particular hospital or nursing home that has their own human resources department. Be sure to check out these locations for the jobs they post on their website.

Consider the type of care you would like to do, then search for opportunities in your area that match your interest. Perhaps you would like to work for an in-home service such as Home Health Companions, so check out the websites of employers for open positions as well. Word-of-mouth from your instructor and classmates can also alert you to job opportunities as well, so let others know you are seeking a job.

Stand out with a cover letter. Many applicants fail to write a cover letter to include with their resume submissions. This is your chance to, once again, use key words and your specific message as to why you believe you’re a good candidate for each job. Write a standard cover letter and then modify it for the specific application. Be sure to personalize it to the primary contact person for the position as advertised with details. 

The biggest hurdle for most job seekers is overcoming the reality that seeking a job is a process of marketing one’s self. Consider this activity a chance to explore and find your best opportunity, and be honest and strategic when describing the skills and training you’ve accumulated to this point. Don’t be shy, and don’t sell yourself short!

Prepare for the interview

Once you’ve got an interview scheduled, it’s time to do a bit of preparation homework. Be sure to ask your scheduler what you should expect for the interview. Take a look at the facility’s website, too, and familiarize yourself with their mission and who they serve.

If you know someone else who works for that employer, ask them about their experience. Many of the online job searches also provide feedback from employees as well.

It’s understandable that you might be nervous as you prepare for your interview, but remember: it’s an opportunity for both you and the employer to explore what’s possible. Employers seek people who will represent their mission in a positive manner, and you want to do work that is suited to your skills and interests so you can enjoy it and get paid!

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On the day of an interview, arrive a few minutes early so you feel comfortable in the space. Bring a copy of your resume and any other documentation that details your training. Dress in professional-but-comfortable clothing that helps you feel and look your best.

Each employer is looking to see what you know, what you’re willing to learn, and why you want to work for them. They will ask you questions to get to learn about you and your work ethic. They are trying to determine if you are reliable and can be trained for what you don’t know, so be candid about areas of weakness and demonstrate examples of your ability to be learn.

An internet search will bring up a number of articles and videos featuring the types of questions you might be asked during an interview. Over at CNA Classes Near You, they offer a concise look at some common questions you’ll want to consider as you prepare in advance. Take some time to practice your answers, but realize that the questions will vary and your comments should be specific and authentic to whatever is asked. Take a few moments during the interview to reflect on the questions, and make your answers specific to the position.

At the close of the interview, be sure to ask at least one question about their facility and the importance of the position in helping them serve their clients. You might also ask about their 

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management philosophy, the rate of turnover, or educational opportunities. Do ask about next steps in the interview process, too, such as a possible second interview or a skill demonstration, and get the interviewer’s email address.

A brief “thank you.” An overlooked finish to an interview is the follow-up of a thank you. Send a brief email thanking the interviewer for his or her time and take the chance to state your genuine interest in the position.

Your career is your ticket to bigger things

You’ve made it to the point that you’re working or ready to work in the field. Your skills and knowledge are in demand. Remember: your work is a reflection of your belief that you have values and skills that merit attention and income.

Whether being a nurse, caregiver or CNA is your stepping-off point to other roles in the healthcare field or the position you plan to do for some time, you want a work-life balance that suits you and makes you feel that your efforts matter. A confident beginning with an employer can set the stage to a satisfying experience in your work, and help you advance your career into the future.


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Put Your Best Foot Forward with These 7 Tips for Good Foot Health

Your feet are amazing. You’ve counted on them to keep the rest of you upright and moving for a long time! When you were born, your parents looked to their pudgy cuteness, those pads of fat on your soles where arches would later form, gleefully counting the digits on each foot. 

As time marches on, your feet continued to serve as they kept you mobile. Per the American Podiatric Medical Association, by the time you’re 50, you will have averaged 75,000 miles. And though we take them for granted much of the time, our feet are a complex and sensitive part of our anatomy with more than 250,000 sweat glands per set—and more nerve endings per square centimeter than any other part of your body. You can find an entire list of fun facts about feet over at North West OrthoSports. 

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Although your feet might not be the window to your soul, they are a potential soothsayer of your overall wellbeing and health. The condition of your feet can indicate medical concerns like poor circulation, diabetes, heart disease and thyroid issues. For a full list of possible markers of health check out the article over at The Healthy, “10 Subtle Signs of Disease Your Feet Can Reveal.”

Now that you’ve stopped to think about the vital role your feet play in live, we hope you feel a little more empowered to take care of them like the friends they are! Just follow these 7 tips for foot care to keep you on your toes:

1. Examine the bottom of your feet often. Look for cuts, splinters, cracks in the skin and pressure sores. If any wounds here persist without evidence of healing for more than 24 hours, contact your physician.

2. Look for evidence of ingrown toenails. This is a problem for anyone, but especially for those with circulation issues who might not feel the presence of inflammation and infection. If left untreated, the wounds of an infection can become a more serious problem that leads to amputation.

And for those of you unfamiliar with ingrown toenails, they occur when nails of the main toe are cut to curve with the shape of the toe (rather than straight across.) The sides may grow into the skin, causing infection. Be sure to cut your nails straight across and gently file the sides down.

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3. Get pedicure care as needed. Your toenails grow slowly. In fact, it takes six months for a toenail to replace itself! At the same time, toenails that grow can be sharp as a razer and cut into your skin. Assure that your toenails are regularly trimmed, and if they are particularly thick or if you can’t bend over to manage them yourself, all the better reason to treat yourself to at least two professional pedicures a year. You can also get the help of an in-home health care provider like Home Health Companions for periodic foot care.

4. Soak and stretch your feet. As if you really needed a reason to soak your feet in some warm, fragrant water on a regular basis! Besides feeling good, soaking your feet in warm water does wonders to relax tense muscles. As we age, we lose muscle flexibility and strength, so any stress to muscles will be felt. Soothe those tired “dogs” with an occasional soak.

After each soak, take a few minutes to do some stretches for your plantar fascia ligaments (which stretches from your heel to your toe). The inflammation of this ligament can lead to pain when walking. Stretching is good for every part of you, and your feet are especially appreciative. Medical News Today offers 6 exercises you can do while your muscles are already relaxed after basking in warm water.

5. Wear socks that fit—and wick! When it comes to socks, you want ones that are loose enough in the cuff and toe that your blood flow is not inhibited. Also, avoid socks with seams, as the pressure of those edges can cause damage to your skin. But most importantly, you want your socks to keep your feet both warm and dry! You might be surprised to learn that, when it comes to fabric, cotton is not the best option for socks because it retains moisture and does not allow for airflow. That means sweaty feet will sort of “stew,” which is a yuck! Fabrics including Merino wool (which is anti-bacterial, breathable, and warm) or polyester (which dries quickly) are better choices. Or, if you still prefer cotton, get socks with a polyester blend.

6. Wear the right size shoe. Did you know your feet continue to transform as you age? Over at the University of Foot and Ankle Institute, they explain that, as we age, our foot morphology 

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changes, resulting in an increased width and length. And we also lose muscle mass and fatty tissue, causing more shape shifting in our feet. The result is that older people frequently wear ill-fitting shoes on one or both their feet because they’re buying the size they always did before.

That same article goes on to cite a recent study of 100 adults over 65 where it was discovered that 83% of the participants were wearing shoes of the wrong size. As we age keeping our feet protected from injury is more important than ever especially if we don’t sense pain due to peripheral neuropathy or other health issues. By wearing socks and shoes that fit at all times, we help protect our feet from hazards of wounds.

7. Moisturize. It might seem counter to keeping your feet comfortably dry, but you want to protect your skin from becoming dry and cracked. In addition to the soaking mentioned in a previous tip, be sure to apply moisturizing lotion to the top and bottom of your feet while avoiding any contact with the skin between the toes.

Take action with these seven foot care tips to keep your feet and toes twinkling! And if you or a loved one needs help with foot care, consider working with an in-home care professional such as those available at Home Health Companions Services. Your feet are truly your friends, so make sure to give them their due and they’ll make strides to keep serving you!


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Navigating the Language and Culture Barrier in Healthcare

Today more than ever, medicine knows no borders. In the United States, our citizenry continues to diversify representing the world—a reality that applies to both healthcare providers and their patients. The challenge is how to communicate in a way so that illness can be treated effectively, no matter the barriers.

For patients, there is fear plus whatever pain they’re dealing with and the struggle to understand complex science. For healthcare professionals, there are more patients and treatments every day, not to mention the need to remain objective. If differing language and culture are factored in, this puts additional strain on the system and the goal to cure. 

In 1964, in an effort to address the problem of language barriers, the Civil Rights Act established that it was a legal right for all individuals to have language assistance services when receiving health care. And in the ensuing 43 years, the industry has struggled to meet the need for the constantly-changing populace they serve. Per the November 2007, Journal of General Internal Medicine article, “linguistic diversity of the USA has burgeoned with more than 200 different languages now spoken across the country.” 

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To build a better bridge of communication, experts must continue to step back and assess how they align their resources to serve a wide variety of patients. Something as basic as how candidates are selected, for example, could be key. 

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In a community such as Washington, D.C, one outlet discovered that testing for new employees was done primarily in English, even when their patient population spoke several other languages. The reality of the disparity in what we do versus what we know plays out in communities throughout the country. Per a 2017 article in the Home Health Care News, “Despite the fact that Spanish is the second most spoken language in the U.S., only 13.1% of RN visits with Spanish speaking patients were language concordant, compared to 31.3% for Koreans, Russian 22.4% and Chinese speakers with 18.7%.” Part of the problem may be in how the industry brings on staff to help serve their patients.

Where there is confusion, there will be error in the delivery of services, and the patient will have a negative experience in care. The March 2020 Oman Medical Journal article cited data revealing that “many patients with limited local language proficiency experienced adverse health events that resulted in detectable physical harm (49.1% of patients)…or experienced some failure in communication with medical providers (52.4%).”

Language Challenge for Elders

Differing languages and cultures become uniquely problematic for elders faced with conditions of aging, particularly the loss of hearing. An older patient’s ability to understand a person speaking with an accent, even if it is in the patient’s native language, can become a significant impediment to care.

One of the frequent top-10 complaints of older patients is that they can’t understand the healthcare staff who work with them. The patient is forced to spend a great deal more effort listening, which creates stress.

Professional home health providers such as Home Health Companions understand that this is an issue for clients. We work with our staff in training to address the need to speak slowly, clearly, and face-to-face to assist in comprehension for both the patient and care provider.

Strategies to Break the Barrier

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Although language and culture differences continue to challenge the healthcare system, there are concepts, services and new technologies that can help, such as:

  • Acknowledge diversity. Our knee-jerk response as humans is to identify commonalities and quickly overlook how we are different, but this can also lead to inaccurate assumptions. 
  • Employ a culturally and linguistically diverse staff. Patients feel better when they experience a space with people they perceive to be similar to them. 
  • Provide new staff orientation and ongoing training regarding the subject of diversity to help cultivate a culture of acceptance of values, principles and practices that are different. 
  • Provide educational materials and signage in a variety of languages that is tested to be culturally and linguistically appropriate. 
  • Whenever possible, use on-site interpreters. Staff interpreters are especially important, even when the person brings in a family member (particularly a child). Candid information sharing between the patient and medical professional could be limited by the dynamic of any family member as the go-between. In addition, medical language requires the precision of an expert interpreter who can translate technical terms for the patient and physician in the situation. 
  • Use off-site phone interpreter services when staff interpreters are not available.  
  • Interpreter services indirectly increase the cost of health services and also tend to increase the length of treatment visits. Online translation tools have stepped in to try and mitigate these issues offering Google Translate and MediBabble as possible solutions. 

The disconnect that comes from the wall of misunderstanding due to language and culture will continue to be an issue for healthcare providers and their patients. Following these best practices to celebrate diversity and even use it to your advantage will create doors and windows in the wall to improve the healthcare system for everyone.


Language Barriers in Home Health Put Patient Outcomes at Risk

10 Tips to Become a Better CNA

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Is it Loneliness? Recognize the Possible Signs of Silent Suffering

John Prine’s beautiful song “Hello in There” details the story of a man who has lived many years. As the song unfolds, we learn that his wife has died, the kids have moved away, and he has even outlived one son who died in the Korean War. 

The chorus speaks to the reality of what it is to be human and to age. Trees grow stronger, rivers wilder, but sometimes old people just grow lonesome. And with each passing day, as time moves ever so slowly, a person left alone simply waits for someone to say, “Hello in there, hello.” 

2020-Q3-Nurses 3-Is It Loneliness 1Although Prine wrote the song when he was 22, his insights into one of the more insidious issues of aging rings true. In the United States, the reality of living alone and becoming isolated go hand-in-hand for many seniors. Per Merck Manuels, “Nearly 29% of the 46 million community-dwelling older adults live alone. About half of the community-dwelling oldest old (>85 years) live alone, and about 70% of older people living alone are women, and 46% of all women age >75 years live alone.” 

But being alone and isolated does not always equate with the state of feeling lonely. In this post, we’ll make the distinction, then highlight the underlying health impacts and call out some of the signals you can look for as a health care provider.

A Silent Threat

Being able to articulate a sense of loneliness is a two-part problem. Someone can be feeling it, but be unable to explain the “what” and “why” of the experience. And honestly, even uttering that we feel lonely comes with negative connotations that we’re some sort of social failure. 

In the fascinating article “Is There a Medical Cure for Loneliness?” over at AARP, author Lynn Darling explains how loneliness is primal. We were built to respond negatively to being on our own. At a cellular level, alarms go off. 

Darling details how scientist Steve Cole looked at the white blood cells of people who had expressed dealing with long bouts of loneliness, and discovered that their cells “appeared to be in a state of high alert, responding the way they would to a bacterial infection. It was as though the subject’s body were under mortal assault by disease—the disease of loneliness.” 2020-Q3-Nurses 3-Is It Loneliness 2

This biological response to loneliness makes all the sense in the world given that we are social beings. We need to feel connected and have purpose that is assigned, shared and recognized by others. Loneliness is indeed a disease all its own with a reported impact of nearly one-third of all adults over the age of 45 reporting feeling lonely. 

And for older adults over the age of 65, and more reasons people live alone such as the loss of a spouse, plus the onset of health issues like diminished hearing and eyesight, loneliness is at its worst. Loneliness comes more often when people have diminished social contact and are more isolated from daily activities and interactions. This happens more often with older adults. 

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Is it any wonder that such a notable biological response would impact a person’s physical health, especially over time? Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), loneliness can impact or cause series health problems, including a 50% increased risk of dementia, a 29% increased risk of heart disease, and a 32% increased risk of stroke.

Look for Signs

Once our white blood cells are ramped up due to that pervasive sense of loneliness, it trickles to our brain and to our thinking, signaling us to be on alert and causing us to draw away further away from others due to lack of trust. Loneliness becomes a loop in our thinking process. 

As humans, the disease of loneliness is an issue for everyone, but in a roll as a caregiver for patients there’s an opportunity to be that first-line of defense and help. Look for any of the following changes with someone in your care:

  • Expressed sadness or feelings of despair
  • Loss of interest in hobbies, socializing or daily activities
  • Sleep disturbances or memory issues
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Neglect of personal hygiene and other routines


As a care provider, you might be the person who most often sees these changes first in a client, and can bring your concerns to the attention of the family members you report to. You can explain that this is something many deal with and there are ways to provide support. 

Be prepared to offer a list of resources available to families and seniors. The CDC provides a great list of resources, including Eldercare Locator which is a free national service that helps families and elders find local resources such as financial support, caregiving services, and transportation. 

If you work with a professional organization such as Home Health Companions, you’ll also have access to a dedicated team of knowledgeable staff who can help you. Together we can work to destigmatize the disease of loneliness, and by helping others we also help ourselves. When it comes to loneliness, none of us is spared from its impact.


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6 Tips to Make the Transition from Hospital to Home More Successful

You’ve been in the hospital for either a planned or unplanned visit, and now it’s time to make the transition home. It’s so easy to become overwhelmed by what you’ll need to do, and simultaneously you’re probably learning all the new things you’ll have to do for ongoing care.

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In this post, we highlight six tips to help you make that move back to home go as smoothly as possible.

More often these days, hospitals are helping patients—especially seniors—successfully head home from the hospital for in-home care. There are several benefits to this strategy for both the patient and the healthcare system. It turns out that home is not just where the heart is, but where patients heal better, and the added benefit of bringing down healthcare costs is significant.

In the article “Hospital Discharge and Readmission,” over at Up To Date, a study of older patients found that a successful Care Transition Intervention Program reduced 30- and 90-day readmission rates with a cost savings of $500 per case. The goal of a planned transfer of care is ideal, as the patient is less likely to need to return to the hospital, which frees up hospital beds for the critically ill. 

Before You Exit the Hospital, Do These Things:

Before you’re discharged, you’ll speak with the hospital’s staff about what to expect in the coming days of your recovery. You often end up waiting and waiting for final orders from all the medical professionals involved, and then it feels like you’re bombarded with information. Don’t succumb to panic. By knowing what to ask and expect before discharge, you’ll go home with the assurance that you have your bases covered. 

1. Be your own advocate and have a support person, too.

Of course, you want to be your advocate and have control as much as you can, but understand you might not be in your best frame of mind. Bring in a trusted friend or family member as your set of ears and have them help draw up your home plan. Discuss who will be helping you with your additional care needs at home, and whether your home is ready for your change in mobility.

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2. Add to your personal health resume

Much like your work resume, you want to keep a personal document of your health history. It should include the names of all the physicians you’ve seen and all major medical treatments. It should also include your list of medications. To that list, you now want to add the reason for your current hospitalization.

All this information will be essential if you need to return to the emergency room due to complications. 

3. Understand your care needs upon discharge along with who will be meeting them.

Included on your list might be:

  • Vitals checked each day or more often
  • Assistance with medications
  • Assistance with medical devices or implants such as catheters
  • Help with injections
  • Assistance with physical therapy
  • Assistance with general household items including grocery, errand running, and general care

Depending on the level of care required, you might have a trusted family member who will be with you for some time. Or, you might find it easier to hire a health aide service like those with Home Health Companions. You can also ask if the hospital offers outpatient services specific to any of your needs. 

4. Know what to look for—and who to contact. 

Be sure you understand the list of symptoms you need to watch for (should they arise). Depending on your situation, this might include anything from changes in the wound to shortness of breath, o changes in temperature, weight gain, or blood pressure. 

Just as important as monitoring is knowing who to contact and how if you need assistance. Is it the surgeon or the cardiologist? What’s the direct number for the pharmacy, and who do you call in the case of an emergency? Many healthcare venues provide email contact so you can easily ask questions that don’t need immediate response. This kind of ongoing access can be hugely helpful for mitigating concerns.  

5. Understand your medication list.

Know your medication list and what each drug is meant to do. Understand how and when each is to be taken. Track refills, and consider early refills when you might run out on weekends or holidays. Learn from your insurance provider and pharmacist if you can order two months at the same. Often, there is time and money saved with this strategy.

6. Know next steps

Understand and plan for your follow-up visits with physicians and specialists related to your care. Be sure to make an appointment with your primary doctor, too, so they can factor in your latest medical situation in their general care for you.  

Ask for any additional resources, including support groups that can help you with ongoing life changes and your recovery needs. Sometimes, there are even programs offered to help with changes in diet and exercise. 

If “bringing it all together” for hospital discharge seems overwhelming, consider bringing in a professional such as an Aging Life Care certified professional to gather expertly gather the information and resources you’ll need to make a successful transition. 

2020-Q3-Clients 3-six tips to make transition from hospital to home smooth 3Nothing counters the terrible instability of illness more than knowledge. Your goal in healing is to deal with what’s in front of you in the immediate of your hospitalization. Your role at this point is to take it one step at a time. Making a plan and understanding your options will be the first step to give yourself confidence and space to heal. 


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Health Care Services

How to Make the Most of Your Doctor Appointment

Whether you go to the doctor annually or a few times a year, you know it’s an investment of your time and energy. If you’ve ever felt frustrated by the process at the office, confused by the answers or options you received, or just frustrated by the questions you forgot to ask, then you’ve experienced a doctor appointment that was not optimal in what it was designed to do.

Physicians see lots of people each day, and they and their staff work in an environment they’re as intimately familiar with as they are their own homes. It’s easy for the rest of us to feel intimated and rushed when we witness it. However, with the right preparation and understanding of your role in the communication, you can go to a doctor appointment both calm and ready to benefit from the experience.

Here, we’ll walk through how to make a plan for an appointment, which includes preparing relevant health history, listing all your medications, and organizing your thoughts and questions ahead of time to make the most of your visit to the doctor’s office.

Know Your Health History

If you’ve walked the earth for some time, chances are you’ve got a medical past. And so, before you go to your appointment, be sure to document the biggest events and most relevant data from your health history on paper. The list should include surgeries, medical conditions, and the physicians you’ve seen in the past, along with their addresses and phone numbers.

If this is your first time seeing a particular doctor, call ahead and ask if they need access to your medical records from another network or physician. Remind the office of the general purpose of your visit and ask if there is anything specific you need to bring, such as lab work related directly to the scheduled appointment.


Know Your Medications

List the doses and names of all the medicines you take if you don’t already have one. And if you do, keep that list current as a part of your health history. Even when you think you’ve detailed your medications before for a doctor, you’ll often be asked to repeat it with each visit. This is their way of checking whether the doses and medicines you take have remained the same.

Be sure your medication list includes any supplements you use as well, as some can result in harmful interactions with your medications such as blood thinners. Over at AARP in the article, “Most Patients Don’t Tell Their Doctors They Take Supplements,” they report that 69 out of 100 seniors take supplements, but only about a third are questioned about supplements by their physicians. Note that if you’re speaking to the doctor who prescribed you medications, an appointment is a great opportunity to discuss doses and alternatives if you have adverse effects from your medicines, too.


Prepare Your List of Questions

Identify the purpose of your appointment, such as a change in symptoms or something new that is concerning you, and prioritize your questions on paper. Your focus will depend on whether you’re seeing a general practitioner or a specialist regarding a specific issue.

Understanding the type of appointment that you have with the doctor will also help you focus as to what you need report. If you’re seeing a heart doctor, for example, they will be interested in specific symptoms such as shortness of breath and fatigue. On the other hand, your gastrointestinal doctor will be more interested in your frequency of bowel movements and issues related to digestion. Remember, the doctor can’t do their job of diagnosing and treating you without your accurate information, so try to be specific.

If the visit is a general check-up or preventative type, prepare broader questions regarding annual maintenance, such as a scheduling a colonoscopy, vaccines, or other annual exams. If you need ideas for the kinds of questions you could ask, review a basic list such as the one over at Women’s Day to use as a springboard.



Bring a Friend and Take Notes

If you’re concerned you’ll miss information at your appointment, or just want moral support, consider bringing a friend or family member. Sometimes the answers doctors provide might be technical enough that having a second set of ears to talk to after the appointment will help you digest what you learned.

If you have a more complicated health history, it might be a good time to bring in an expert who can advocate for you with medical professionals and help you make sense of medical information. At Home Health Companions we offer Aging Life Care certified professionals who provide this support as well as advocating for their patients in other ways, too.

Aging Life Care certified professionals can be a bridge to help you navigate your health concerns through available resources and multiple medical professionals, and then help you set a manageable plan with realistic expectations.

A wonderful service available today that many providers and offices now provide is the ability to ask questions via email, too, especially for specialties. So much of the time, once you get home from an appointment you realize that you forgot to ask a certain question, or you have some point you need to clarify. These days, digital communication permits you to communicate with your doctor’s office and then move on to other things in life until they get back to you.

Be Your Advocate

In the “olden” days, people often looked to physicians to be all-knowing authorities in white coats who could not be questioned and certainly weren’t relatable. Today, however, it benefits both the doctor and patient to see themselves in a partnership instead.

The doctor can’t do his or her best work and use all that expertise without the accurate information that only patients can provide. And no matter the illness or issues, a huge part of feeling well is feeling informed and able to make the decisions that are right for you.




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Identify the Triggers and Health Risks of Social Isolation

In a powerful moment from the movie “Cast Away,” Chuck Noland, played by Tom Hanks, is spread listless across his man-made raft on the open ocean. After years on a deserted island, he finally makes his escape in the hopes of reaching civilization. And then, following days on the water, with provisions gone and his vessel floating away piece-by-piece, he is nearly alone without hope.

He isn’t quite alone yet, however. One of the few remaining fragments of the raft includes his sole friend Wilson (a volley ball he transformed into a companion for his years on the island). But in a storm, Wilson separates from his perch and floats away, too. As Wilson bobs off on the waves into the distance, Chuck calls out in anguish, “Wilson! Wilson!” The despair of his isolation is palpable.

The dramatic scene serves as metaphor for a reality that plays out for some elders. Life is always in flux, but the transitions that come with aging—although predictable—still become overwhelming to experience.

The medical field appreciates the impact of life choices in their many physical manifestations, including smoking or bad eating habits, and their impact on future health. However, that same medical community appears less comfortable dealing with the harm of social isolation, which is harder to measure and explain.

Here, we identify transition triggers that can lead to someone becoming socially isolated, and identify some proactive steps to help during those challenging times.


Alone Versus Lonely

The irony isn’t lost that when it comes to social isolation, everyone is an island in terms of personal experience and preference. But, generally, we are social beings by design, and require some semblance of connection to be whole.

Debates as to whether it is the literal action of being with others versus the quality of connection have been regularly studied. But each of us intuitively understands that we need some type of connection to others. The data also reveals that when our social connections and activity are diminished, it takes a toll. Per Journal of Aging Life Care, they cite a 2015 study which found 29% increase from mortality over time due to social isolation, a 26% increase in mortality due to loneliness, and a 32% increased risk just by living alone.

Health Risks of Isolation

Healthy minds make better choices, so when we deal with long bouts of depression and loneliness, we are likely to withdraw and do less self-care. Over time, in a low mental state of mind, the results will manifest in medical conditions and even aggravate existing ones. Per the CDC, social isolation is associated with about a 50% increase in dementia, and loneliness among heart failure patients was attributed to nearly 4 times an increased risk of death.

In fact, medical conditions across the board can turn south when the social situation for a person is reduced. To counter the impact, it requires heeding and honoring the feelings of the moment, even when they’re sad. At a time in a person’s life when solutions often come in the form of procedures and pharmaceuticals, stepping back and looking at the whole person may be just the panacea that makes all the difference.


Transition Triggers

Stages of transition in early life are joyous, but as we age, many of the expected milestones are painful. Some people will pull back from their usual social habits by choice or circumstance. Depending on personal health and resilience before the event, the shifts of aging will test and may weaken a person’s resolve to forge ahead and adapt.

By acknowledging the triggers and the challenges that someone may face is to be proactive and set reasonable expectations. A list of the most common transitions to watch for that typically come with aging include:

  • Change in health: Existing conditions and those that have recently been identified will impact how a person is able to go about daily life and interact.
  • Change in mobility: When you can’t navigate the world as you once did, it can bar you from going places and meeting with people. Losses in hearing and vision work much the same way. A person incumbered by physical changes may feel vulnerable and out of step.
  • Death of close friends: Our friendships add to our quality of life. When our friendship circles shrink, it’s easy to lose our sense of connection.
  • Death of family: The death of parents is difficult, but the loss of siblings can be particularly stressful. Any death in the family changes the dynamics and brings into focus the mortality of those still alive.
  • Death of spouse: The loss of a spouse is an incessant grief that lasts a lifetime. Recognizing this is an important first step.
  • Moves: Moving from the neighborhood that is familiar and the spaces we know can leave someone feeling less at home and connected.
  • Retirement: A loss of purpose or sense of relevance in society can leave some people feeling that they are no longer of value. This change can be both happy and stressful as one chapter of life closes.
  • Change in income: Once individuals are on a fixed budget, they are cordoned off from opportunities to travel and go out socially as they once did.


Make a Plan

Aging and the inevitable changes associated with it can’t be avoided or ignored away. However, by acknowledging them, it is possible to heal and grow through the experience.

Over at Aging, they offer up a solid list of actions individuals can take to help them practice social (think habit) even when doing so seems the most difficult. Everything from visiting a museum to joining groups and starting new hobbies are offered up as ideas which anyone.

One suggestion is to make it a point to do one social activity every day. If getting out is a challenge, consider bringing in support such as the service of Companionship and Conversation offered over at Home Health Companions. Visiting regularly for a time with one of our trained providers could be just the thing to help you feel more connected and get out more on your own.

None of these actions is meant to be trite or make light of the genuine feelings of isolation elders feel. Rather, by taking steps to be social with others, the goal is to help improve your feelings and health. By addressing isolation, you could just the right medicine to feel better in a big way.



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How to Love Your Work as a CNA

What drives you to work your hardest? Of course, you need income to pay your bills, but given it’s an investment of at least 40 hours of your life each week, shouldn’t work do more than that?

Determining what you want to feel about your work and your role makes all the difference in your success, and this goes double for the profession of a certified nursing assistant (CNA) where you work in caring for others.

It’s vital for you—yes, you—to see your value in your job and realize how your individual gifts are put to use in what you do. The best way to know if the work of a CNA is a good fit is to have a clear understanding of your “why,” as well as who you are and how you work best.

Being a CNA isn’t for everyone, but if you have the personality, passion and proper tools, the work will be rewarding and set you on a path to making a difference. Plus, your days will fly by. Here, we’ll help you assess a few of the qualities that make for a good fit as a CNA, and even highlight a few examples of how to maximize personality traits for your best work experience!

What Drives You?

First, briefly study the list of statements below and check all those that apply to you.

  • I like to help others
  • I like my work to make a difference
  • I like to collaborate
  • I like to keep busy
  • I like to learn
  • I’m organized
  • I like to work on a team
  • I pay attention to details
  • I like to learn
  • I take pride in my efforts

If you selected at least six of the statements above, it’s quite possible that work as a CNA could be for you. The CNA is an essential member of the care team in many home care and medical settings. These are professionals who provide a great deal of hands-on, intimate care and attention to patients, including assisting bedridden individuals, taking patient vital signs, answering patient calls, and documenting patient health issues and working closely with nurses to address them.

Here are our tips to maximize the qualities that lend themselves best to satisfied and productive CNAs:

Be curious: Working as a CNA assures you’ll have an opportunity to discover something you didn’t know about medicine, physiology, and people almost every day. Look forward to this, and take advantage of the opportunities to learn.

For some, work as a CNA is their primary career goal, but often once people get a taste of the medical profession they find themselves taking courses toward another goal. You will have access to courses online through a community college and even from your employer. Take advantage of courses no matter your professional goals, and this will keep you invigorated about the work you do.

One way to help you stay engaged in your vital role as a CNA is to join a national organization. You can learn about the benefits of the National Association of Health Care Assistants here. Talking and networking with others will afford you information sure to assist you in remaining energized.

Be fit: Of course, it’s often easier said than done, but taking care of yourself both physically and mentally will keep you working better, too. The responsibilities of a CNA are varied and physically-demanding, and caring for others in general can tap into your emotional energy.

You are on your feet and on the move each day, often lifting and bending as you go. It’s essential you practice good lifting practices, too, and take the time to stretch before and after a shift. If your employer offers access to exercise services, take advantage of them.

You can also take the initiative to organize a group stretch with some of your co-workers before or after a shift. Over at Daily Nurse, they offer 4 stretches that will get you started. The first is a neck stretch that is so simple you can do it several times throughout your day. Go ahead and try tilting your head to one side until you feel the gentle pull. You can feel the release the tension in your shoulders!

Be patient: Give yourself and others the gift of patience. Sometimes progress is slow, and we don’t always know what motivates others, so it’s important to step back and look at each difficult moment objectively. Try and see a situation through the eyes of a patient or co-worker, but don’t slay yourself when you need a break to regroup.

Take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Make time for you to do things you enjoy and gift yourself the occasional massage or pedicure. Take deep breathing breaks and silent meditative time just to rest for ten minutes each day. Your body is your temple, so treat it with care. Over at Inc., they offer up breathing and other tips for practicing patience. The benefits include you feeling happier in return.

Love What You Do

Caring for others as a CNA is important and critical work, but it is especially necessary for caregivers to care for themselves as well. At Home Health Companions, we know that success as a CNA involves knowledge and best practices to assure success in the profession. Keep your eye on your purpose, stay fit and practice patience, and you’ll be rewarded with the satisfaction of making a difference and doing your best work.

Maybe you can even do that on our team—we’re hiring!



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