How to Fight Off Seasonal Depression

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While it can be beautiful to watch snowflakes as they fall gracefully to the ground and see the twinkle of holiday lights, winter also comes with shorter days and colder temperatures. This decrease in daylight hours may contribute to seniors developing seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD or seasonal depression. SAD may leave seniors feeling more depressed, fatigued, and irritable and less motivated. Concentration and the ability to get things done becomes more difficult.

By staying involved in hobbies, older adults can fight back against seasonal depression and boost their mood. Engaging in activities which are enjoyable as well as socializing with others can increase serotonin levels in the brain and helps lift one’s spirits.

In terms of practical tips, if the weather is decent and sunny, but not too cold or windy, getting outside to go for a walk by yourself or with a companion can be helpful. Stop to enjoy the beauty of the world and the details that bring nature to life. Exposure to natural sunlight is also beneficial for fighting depression. If getting outside is not possible or safe, seniors can sit near a window or door as the sun’s rays shine through.

Here are some suggestions for indoor hobbies to help alleviate SAD:

  • Play cards or board games with friends. Seniors can enjoy one other’s company and the laughter it brings. Many community centers have bridge clubs, activities and other groups for seniors.
  • Start a book club. Escape to another world through reading and engage in lively discussion about the story to stimulate the mind.
  • Create.   Whether seniors enjoy painting, knitting, crocheting, building models, or working on DIY projects, these are valuable ways they can keep busy and explore their creativity. They are also beneficial outlets for self-expression and also a fun way to make handmade gifts for the holidays.
  • Sign up for an exercise class like yoga, Pilates, or Zumba. Physical activity increases endorphins, which help people to feel happier and more positive. Plus, it can help seniors stay in shape over the winter.
  • Scrapbook to cherish all of the memories they’ve made and reflect on good times. It can also be a wonderful way to share these memories with others and have something to look at if they’re feeling down and need a pick-me-up.

There are countless other activities to do as well such as playing an instrument, getting involved in a senior theater group, volunteering in the community, baking, or joining a social club. Seniors should follow their interests and explore new opportunities as well. Make it a point to be social instead of becoming isolated.  Take a look at our Pinterest boards to gather even more ideas for winter activities.
An in-home caregiver can be a wonderful source of companionship and also support seniors in attending a variety of activities or events.

how-to-fight-off-seasonal-depression-this-winterAlways Best Care Senior Services provides personalized care for seniors to help individuals make the most of each day and safely age in place. Seniors can build wonderful friendships and have someone to talk to, eat meals and attend events with, and assist with entertaining and other tasks. The holidays can be a difficult time for seniors, but staying active and having someone to check in on them can help things to run more smoothly. Contact Always Best Care today  at (267) 217-7059 or  dbaim@abc-seniors.com for a free consultation and to learn more about how in-home care can support seniors.

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How Seniors Stay Active

Staying Active with Hobbies for Seniors

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Now that autumn has arrived, summer activities such as gardening or boating are winding down. It’s time to make the switch and start in on  fall and winter hobbies instead. Staying active throughout the year is a wonderful way to exercise your mind and body, ward off boredom and isolation and try new things. By exploring new hobbies and activities you will broaden your horizons and enhance your knowledge base.
Here are a few autumn hobbies to test out:

  1. Photography

Head outside and capture images of the fall foliage, morning sunrises, evening sunsets, winter’s chill and rainbows after the rain. Look for birds, rabbits, squirrels, deer and other creatures enjoying the great outdoors, or find still life indoors that inspires you. You could also click photos of family and friends as you celebrate together, or participating in  day-to-day activities. Let your imagination run wild and your creativity shine.

  1. Knitting/Crocheting

What better way to prepare for cooler weather and upcoming holidays than by knitting or crocheting? Use this tutorial on YouTube for simple instructions. You can make baby blankets, scarves, mittens, socks, sweaters, and much more! What a special homemade gift or donation to charities in need. Craft stores and community centers teach knitting/crocheting or have weekly or monthly get-togethers where community members can come together and socialize while working on their craft.

  1. Canning

Put all of the wonderful produce you grew this summer or picked at the local farm to good use. Can your own jams and jellies, sauces, pickles, fruits, and much more! You’ll have delicious homemade goods to enjoy throughout the winter and spring until it’s time to start gardening again. This can also be a great way to use up the apples you’ve picked this fall.

  1. DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Projects

Whether you love painting, sewing, beadwork, needlepoint, woodworking, building, handyman or other tasks, autumn is a great time to start. There are lots of fall- and holiday-inspired crafts to make for decorating your home, selling, or giving as gifts. Put a personal touch on projects you find to make them your own. DIY projects can also be a wonderful way to spend time with grandchildren and do fun things together.  Are you good with odd jobs around the house?  Offer your services to a neighbor or friend in need.  Your hobby can become a way to give back to your community.

  1. Bird Watching

While you’re outside taking in the gorgeous weather and hiking, bring along a pair of binoculars and a small bird book and go bird watching. See how many different types of birds you can find in your area and how many you can identify. This is also a fun and easy hobby to do while you’re traveling.  Bird Clubs of America has groups throughout the U.S.  Search their locations here.

 

These are just a few of the many hobbies you can enjoy this fall & winter! You may also want to try baking, scrapbooking, painting, golf, hunting, antiquing, book clubs, writing, and much more. Find things that interest you and your social circle will widen!

If you’re concerned about your senior’s safety at home or feel that they could benefit from someone checking in and providing support with daily activities, contact Always Best Care today at (267) 217-7059 or email David Baim at dbaim@abc-seniors.com.
Empower your senior to stay active as they age in place and enjoy pleasant companionship through the help of an in-home caregiver.

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Always Best Care Plymouth Meeting PA

A Fun Fall With These Activities

Fun Fall Activities for SeniorsAlways Best Care Plymouth Meeting PA

The air is getting cooler, the leaves are changing colors, and pumpkin spice lattes are everywhere – autumn has arrived! This is a great time for seniors to get out and enjoy since it’s not quite so hot as the summer. There are plenty of fall festivities to get everyone in the mood for the changing seasons and upcoming holidays. Seniors can get together with friends or family to embrace all that autumn brings before winter arrives and snowflakes start falling.

Go pumpkin or apple picking: Make your way out to the farm and pick up a pumpkin or two to carve and use as Halloween decor. A mixture of small pumpkins and gourds are beautiful centerpiece. Apples are also in season right now. Enjoy fresh, hand-picked apples for making cider, homemade applesauce or apple pie, or just for eating as they are. Many farms also offer a variety of other fun fall family activities, so plan with your kids and grandkids.

Watch the leaves change: Go out and explore the area around you to find the best place to watch the leaves changing colors.   This Fodors.com article has the 10 best fall foliage trips in the U.S.
The northern states are especially beautiful this time of year, as are some of the mountainous areas. Drive up to a lookout or go hiking and connect with nature. It is also a great opportunity to take beautiful photographs.

Celebrate at a Fall Festival: Discover what’s going on in your own community (click here) and attend a local Fall Festival. There are sure to be plenty of delicious foods and drinks, great entertainment, and opportunities to simply enjoy time spent with friends and family making memories.

Roast marshmallows: Get together with family and make a fire in the fire pit. It’s a fun way to warm up while taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of the great outdoors. Bring along everything you need to roast marshmallows and make s’mores, or warm up hot chocolate or cider.

Fall can also be a wonderful time for seniors to share stories from when they were growing up and see how things have changed and what they are thankful for. Get to know family history and traditions that you can continue to share for years to come. Or, start making your own traditions that you can pass down through the generations.

An in-home care provider can be a great companion for sharing stories and reminiscing. They can also help seniors to plan activities, get their house decorated, go to different events, and bake holiday treats. Help your senior enjoy all that autumn has to offer while staying safe and receiving the support they need. Contact David Baim at Always Best Care today at (267) 217-7059 or visit us online to schedule a free care consultation.

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6 Tips for Aging More Gracefully

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“Age is just a number.” Depending on how well you take care of yourself, you can be 80 years old and feel like you’re 50, or you may be 50 years old and feel like you are 80.
September is Healthy Aging Month and a wonderful time to reflect on your lifestyle and how you can make improvements for the future.

  1. Exercise your Mind.

Stay active at work and continue striving learning new things. If you are retired, get involved in volunteering, community service, or play bridge-anything to challenge different parts of your brain. The more you read, problem solve, do puzzles, play games, and keep yourself thinking, the healthier your mind will be.

  1. Surround yourself with Positive People.

The company you keep is important. Your physical and mental health will take a toll if you are surrounded by those with  a negative attitude or are depressed. Socialize with people who make you laugh and brighten your day. This way you will stay in better spirits, build lasting connections and avoid isolation as you get older.

  1. Keep Moving.

Exercise is important at every age. By continuing to strengthen your muscles and joints, you can improve your balance and flexibility which reduces your risk of falls or injury. It also helps alleviate pain. Join a fitness class, take up yoga, swim, or go on brisk walks through the neighborhood. Keeping your body in good physical health can help you to look and feel younger.  Go to the local YMCA to find classes especially designed for seniors.

  1. Maintain a healthy diet.

Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean your diet should take a back seat. As you age, your metabolism slows down and your body may have varied nutritional needs. By eating a well-balanced diet,  your doctor can help you ensure you’re eating right for your health.  The Mediterranean diet has recently been studied and was found to help your memory as you age.

  1. Pay attention to body.

Paying attention to various symptoms and what your body is telling you paramount in staying healthy.  Early detection can help resolve or minimize the impact of many health conditions. Managing chronic health conditions will reduce the risk further complications. Call your doctor if you feel as though something is not right.

  1. Keep Saving.

Don’t forget about your financial health as well. Budgeting, investing, and saving can help you feel more secure in your financial future and give you the ability to live more comfortably in retirement. If you are retired, stay within your budget so that you have extra money for an emergency or just-in-case.  Talk to a financial advisor about your options and make sure you’re managing your money wisely.

Healthy aging can have a positive impact on your physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being. Taking the time to figure out how you can best improve your lifestyle to support a healthier future is critical to aging more gracefully.

If you need help around your home or are looking for companionship, an in-home caregiver can be a wonderful source of support. Whether they come a few hours a week or a few hours a day, a caregiver can make a positive difference in your quality of life and promote healthy aging. Contact Always Best Care today at (267) 217-7059, dbaim@abc-seniors.com, to learn more about our wide range of senior services.

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4 Tips For Seniors On Vacation

Travel with SeniorsPlanning a summer vacation can be great way to see new sights, get away, spend time with family, and relax. While many adults can be ready to go on a whim, when traveling with seniors, extra planning is a big help. You will want to ensure that everyone is included and has an enjoyable time.

1. Plan Ahead

This seems like common sense, but there are many items that are easy to overlook or take for granted. For example, if your loved one has issues with incontinence, you’ll want to plan for extra restroom breaks.   Search your itinerary and locate close bathrooms.  If a historic site is in the schedule, the bathrooms may not be easily accessible.  Make sure there is a stop before you get to your destination.
When going to the airport, call ahead about senior assistance. You may be able to get a wheelchair to board the plane early, helping your senior get settled in before other passengers board. Your loved one may also be able to go through a special security screening.

Consider any mobility issues your senior may have when making reservations and booking activities. Are there stairs involved? Will a ramp or elevator be available? Also consider their vision and hearing. Large crowds, too much noise, a lot of stimulation, excessive heat and humidity can be tough to handle and make activities less enjoyable. Try to plan activities that everyone can enjoy and access.

2. Pack Extra Medications

Have enough medication for the trip, plus a few days more. You never know when you’ll get delayed. Bring proper documentation (typically a doctor’s note or prescription) for medication and any health conditions your loved one may have. Make advanced arrangements for refrigerated medications.  If there is a need to go to an urgent care or hospital, you will want to have the necessary insurance information and a list of current medications readily available. If you’re flying, don’t pack medications in checked luggage – always keep it in your carry on in case of delay or lost luggage.

3. Create a Schedule with Down Time

You may want to pack in as many sights and activities as you can, but realistically you may not be able to do so. When traveling with seniors, you will have to slow down your pace and build in more time for breaks and rest. While your loved one enjoys being included,  don’t overwhelm them with too much walking or activities they cannot keep up with.  Include your senior in vacation planning and ask about what they think they can reasonably handle.

4. Consider Your Options

Look into trips which appeal to people of all ages and offer accommodations for seniors. Cruises and tours are ideal because they are pre-planned and offer many options. You can work out any accessibility needs or special considerations ahead of time and find out if the trip is right for your senior. Ask for testimonials from tour companies so you can request  recommendations in an online format via TripAdvisor.com or another trip/travel related website.  You may also be able to pick and choose from different activities creating a schedule that works for everyone.

Vacationing with your senior can be a lot of fun and create many memorable moments. Take the time to plan ahead to reduce stress, enhance safety, and make the most of your family trip. Even if you are planning to staying close to home or taking day trips, being prepared is key. Make sure your loved one has the support they need to stay active and engaged on your trip. Ensure that they have the level of support and care they need at home as well by contacting Always Best Care at (267) 217-7059 for a free in-home care consultation.

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5 Signs It’s Time For Assisted Living

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Many seniors view living on their own as a sign of independence, and it’s one they’re often not ready to give up. Driving to the supermarket, meeting with friends or paying the bills on their own are activities which give seniors a sense of pride and content.

With support from an in-home care provider, your loved one may be able to age in place for a longer period of time, however, there comes a point when assisted living becomes more beneficial. Much of their independence can be maintained, but having a safer, monitored environment seems to ease family member worry.

It can be a difficult decision to transition your aging parent to an assisted living facility, but it can give you peace of mind to know they are living a higher quality life with all of the necessary supports  . There is never a perfect time to make the switch, but here are a few warning signs that may indicate assisted living could be beneficial:

1. Cognitive decline.

Is your elderly parent developing dementia or Alzheimer’s? Are they becoming more forgetful and putting their own health and safety at risk? Occasional forgetfulness may not be a big deal, but as it progresses and you notice the state of their home and hygiene declining, it may be time to step in.  Take a look at their banking practices or bill payments from time-to-time and ask their neighbors or friends what they think if there is cause for concern.

2. Mobility issues.

Slips and falls can come with a variety of consequences. If your loved one is having more trouble getting around and you notice they have bumps and bruises, they may be better suited for assisted living. In an assisted living environment,  if they fall, someone can respond more quickly. Their room can also be set up with less clutter, more space, and more safety features.

3. Trouble keeping up with daily tasks.

Have they forgotten to take the trash out again or do laundry? Is there hardly any food in the refrigerator and the plants haven’t been watered in several days? Do they have trouble getting their shoes on or getting dressed? Are they eating, drinking enough and sleeping when they should? Most people are expected to easily accomplish these activities when living on their own. If they’re having trouble keeping up, more support may be necessary.

4. Isolation.

Has your loved one stopped meeting up with friends or going to their favorite diner? Are they staying at home more than they’re interacting with others? Assisted living can help them to remain more social, meet friends, and stay involved in activities they enjoy. Isolation can lead to depression and other concerns.

5. Trouble driving.

Driving requires good vision, hearing, reaction time, decision making, problem solving, mobility, and more. If your loved one is getting into fender benders, forgetting where they’re going, or is hesitant to get behind the wheel at all, this can impact their quality of life. They’re not able to run errands and grocery shop, they become more isolated, and it can be restricting. In an assisted living facility, they don’t have to worry about these things. Transportation can be provided for them, and the facility may offer a number of services.

No one wants to take their loved one from home and move them to assisted living, but it can be the best decision for everyone involved. Your loved one should thrive in their new environment and you can know they are safe and happy.

Always Best Care offers free assisted living placement services to help you find the right facility and level of care for your aging parent. We work with facilities throughout the area and can help you find one that meets your loved one’s needs. Let us help you by contacting Always Best Care at (267) 217-7059.

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Helping Seniors Manage Medication

As people get older, they become increasingly dependent upon various medications. Medications help seniors live longer, healthier lives, but they are only effective when they are taken in accordance with physician instructions. Whether the meds are for heart conditions, diseases, high blood pressure or anything else, they must be taken in the right dosages at the right times. And for many seniors, there are multiple medications to keep track of at any given time.

Seniors don’t always do the best job keeping up with their meds, and it’s common for them to avoid taking them altogether because they fear certain side effects, or they are concerned about keeping costs down. These are very real concerns, but adhering to doctors’ guidelines and prescriptions is much more important in terms of keeping seniors safe and healthy.

What You Can Do

Following are a few tips that can help you ensure that the senior loved one in your life manages their medication properly.

Using a Special Pill Box

The pill boxes that feature compartments for each day of the week are simple, but incredibly effective tools to help seniors manage their medications. Pick a day and time each week to help your senior divvy up his or her medication into one of these inexpensive pill boxes, and you’re likely to see a big difference.

Larger Print

Did you know that you can request larger print on medication labels and instructions? The next time you’re picking up meds at the pharmacy for your senior loved one, ask the pharmacist if they can provide larger print. This will make instructions and guidelines much easier to read — and follow.

Opening and Administering

Sometimes seniors avoid medications because they are simply unable to open bottles or manage eye droppers, inhalers and other items with the proper amount of dexterity. Ask the pharmacist if they can provide containers and apparatus that are easier to use. This is an area where specially trained in-home caregivers can be real life savers, too!

How to Help Seniors Manage MedicationRegular Evaluation

When a senior is prescribed a number of different medications, it can become extraordinarily difficult to manage the situation. This is why it’s recommended to maintain an ongoing dialogue with prescribing physicians, many of whom may not be aware of what other prescribing physicians are prescribing!

Don’t be afraid to ask if certain meds are necessary, and be sure to inquire about recommendations for taking meds on an easier schedule. Doctors are there to help your loved one live the best life possible, so be sure to take full advantage of their expertise!

For More Information

Are you wondering how you can receive extra help when it comes to taking great care of an aging loved one in your life? Always Best Care is here for you! Contact us today at (267) 217-7059 and learn how you can receive your completely FREE consultation.

 

from Always Best Care Senior Services

 

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