When Ho, Ho, Ho feels More Like Ho Hum

This is the time of year when it seems like everyone is full of cheer- but truth be told, not everyone you see is feeling joyful. In fact, depression is actually quite common during the holidays- especially among the elderly.

Sadly,  the elderly population ranks 2nd in the nation for the highest suicide rate.*

During this holiday season, if you notice things that make you concerned about a loved one, there are a few signs to look for if you fear they may be suffering from depression:

  1. Mental exhaustion
  2. Loss of interest in normal activities
  3. Recurrent thoughts of death
  4. Loss of appetite
  5. Loss of energy
  6. Socially withdrawn
  7. Insomnia
  8. Lack of personal hygiene

If you notice that they exhibit more than one of these signs, it is suggested you seek professional help.

Some of the risk factors for suicide and depression include**:

  1. Alcohol or substance abuse
  2. Current use of a medication associated with a high risk of depression
  3. Hearing or vision impairment severe enough to affect function
  4. History of attempted suicide
  5. History of psychiatric hospitalization
  6. Medical diagnosis or diagnoses associated with a high risk of depression
  7. New admission or change in environment
  8. New stressful losses, including loss of autonomy, loss of privacy, loss of functional status, loss of body part, or loss of family member or friend
  9. Personal or family history of depression or mood disorder

If you are concerned about a loved one, it is important that you talk to them and get them to their primary care doctor for PH2Q evaluation.

The good news is that depression can be treated in a variety of ways. Including Psychotherapy, Pharmacotherapy, and in some cases ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy).

For those who have minor depression- helping them find purpose and meaning in their life can often be beneficial. Brookdale Communities offer an Optimum Life program that focuses on all aspects of one’s life, including physical, emotional, social and intellectual stimulation.

Eating a healthy diet can also help increase mood. Encourage your loved one to eat foods that are rich in Omega 3 fats and get plenty of vitamin D. Often seniors who live alone rely on frozen foods to get by, hiring a Capability Caregiver to prepare healthy, nutritious meals can make a huge difference. Even just having a companion to eat meals with can help alleviate loneliness.

If you are worried about your loved one, have faith, patience and seek help.  With the proper care- depression can be treated and you can turn ho hum into ho, ho, ho!

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Walking in the Park

*http://www.afsp.org/understanding-suicide/facts-and-figures

** http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=32668

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Top 10 Holiday Gift Ideas for Seniors

treeIt’s the season of gift giving, so today I want to share my top 10 gift ideas for seniors.

  1. A Puzzle with large pieces – and the promise to work on it with them. If they don’t enjoy puzzles, what about a table top sudoko board?
  2. Restaurant gift certificate (even better if the restaurant delivers). A grocery store gift card would also be nice.
  3. Subscription to Audible (great for those who love reading, but have a hard time seeing. Take it one step further and show them how to download on their phone or mobile device)
  4. A mini table top tree- this is what Capability Homecare is giving all of our clients this year. It’s a simple, easy way to make a home festive, without all the mess and trouble of a big tree.
  5. Tickets to a holiday concert that you can go to together.
  6. Create a photo album using their old photos. Ask your loved one to tell you stories about the pictures- who is in them, what they were doing at the time.
  7. A DVD set of their favorite TV show from the olden days.
  8. Computer lessons- teach them how to use Facebook, email or Skype to stay connected.
  9. Consider a gift card for homecare services. Even just a few hours a week will allow you some respite from caregiving- and also gives your loved one the opportunity to socialize with a new person.
  10. Give something small and homemade. My daughter and I love making gifts each year. We have made coasters, pillow cases, ornaments, salt and pepper shakers… We use Pinterest to get inspired.  

What’s really important during the holiday season is spending time together as a family. Each of these gift ideas encourage time that you can spend with your loved one.

Enjoy and happy holidays!

 

10 Healthy Eating Tips for Seniors

The month of March is National Nutrition Month, and a common and very serious problem among seniors is malnutrition. By not eating a nutritious diet- seniors are more vulnerable to serious health problems- including increase in falls, a weakened immune system and poor wound healing.

Early detection of malnutrition is important since it has been associated with diminished cognitive function, mobility, and a diminished ability to care for one’s self.

Some of the factors that contribute to malnutrition are:

  • medications that can lead to decreased sense of taste and smell

  • a  lack of energy to prepare healthy food

  • poor oral health (dental and swallowing) problems

  • having a monotonous diet

  • lack of resources for shopping or preparing healthy meals and

  • depression and/or alcohol usage

Capability Homecare caregivers use the following 10 tips to encourage clients to increase caloric intake and in turn lead a healthier life:

1. Offer plenty of healthy options to choose from

2. Encourage snacks to increase calories

3. Caregiver can plan, shop, prepare and clean up meals

4. By avoiding pre-packaged frozen meals, caregivers can monitor salt intake

5. Increase calorie consumption by offering supplements such as energy drinks and shakes

6. Encourage exercise– even the smallest amount can increase appetite

7. Provide access to available resources– Meals on Wheels, senior centers and adult day programs often serve hot meals every day

8. Encourage client to ask their doctor and dentist for help. Maybe change medications or have dentist treat swallowing problems

9. Caregiver can monitor alcohol intake and encourage healthier choice such as water (avoid dehydration)

10. By enjoying the meal together, caregiver models healthy eating and makes the meal a social event

If you are concerned that your loved one may be not receiving proper nutrition, consider hiring Capability Homecare to provide this essential daily need. Caregivers are available on an hourly or live in basis.

Please go to www.capabilityhomecare.com for more information.

Source:

http://nutritionandaging.fiu.edu/aging_network/malfact2.asp

 

 

Discharging from Hospital- A Capability Caregiver can Help

hospiceIt’s not unusual for us to get a call from a family while their loved one is in the hospital. An unplanned hospital visit can often bring a lot of stress and anxiety to families. Regular life has just been completely interrupted and things might never be the same.

There are so many things to consider:

  • Will my loved one get to go home?

  • Who will take care of them?

  • Who will help them with bathing and personal care?

  • Who will ensure they are safe?

  • Who will make sure they are taking their medications correctly?

  • Who will be there to help them if they fall?

  • Who will keep them company and make sure their needs are being met?

  • Who will help them move around the house?

  • Who will answer their call for help in the middle of the night?

All of these questions are very common and are realistic concerns that many of our clients have.

We are more than happy to go to the hospital and meet with the prospective client and their family. We offer a complimentary consultation to get to know the patient and understand their unique needs and answer any questions that the family might have.

Being at the hospital gives us a chance to talk to the nurses and the physical therapist to get a better understanding of how we can help. We can then set up a plan of care so that as soon as the patient is discharged from the hospital there is a caregiver ready to help.

The best thing about hiring care (as opposed to moving to an Assisted Living where you are locked into a longterm contract) is that the amount of care you receive is flexible.

We can provide help for as little as 4 hours a day, to overnight- round the clock care- so whatever your loved one’s specific needs are- they can be met by Capability Homecare’s capable and highly trained staff. Call us today to see how we can make the transition home go smoothly. 425 679 5770.

Having a successful plan in place BEFORE it is needed can help speed up the recovery process and  prevent re-hospitalization.

Walk to End Alzheimer’s Disease

0039486-R1-018-7AThe Seattle Walk to End Alzheimer’s is Sept 20th. This is a great opportunity to raise awareness and help fundraise for this terrible disease. Capability Homecare will have a team there this year and we are looking for your support. Please consider joining our team- or donating! If you are interested, click here.

Many of you know that my grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s. Over a short period of time, the disease  took over her body and changed her into a stranger.

My family watched as this incredibly friendly, outgoing, social butterfly turned into a shy, frightened and sometimes angry old woman.

Her easy laugh was replaced by tears and her friendly smile was replaced by a look of confusion. She knew something wasn’t right in her brain- but became defensive and angry when she recognized that she couldn’t figure things out.

It was heartbreaking for our family to witness. We tried to be patient, tried to not get frustrated that she asked the same question over and over again, and we tried to calm her fears by keeping things familiar for her.

Eventually, her disease progressed to the point that it was more than we could manage and we needed to find help.

In home care is a great option for someone who suffers from Alzheimer’s.  Being surrounded by things that are familiar and comfortable can help reduce the stress and anxiety caused by memory loss. Capability Homecare offers live in or hourly care to help families keep their loved ones safe at home.

We can help with:

  • personal care
  • housekeeping/ homemaker services
  • transportation
  • meal preparation
  • life enrichment
  • personal safety
  • managing behavior
  • ambulation and mobility
  • companion care
  • To find out more about how we can help you or your loved one, call one of our care advisors today-

    425 679 5770.

Protecting Yourself From Phishing Scams

imageI received an email last week that I thought looked a bit suspicious- and it reminded me of how important it is to be vigilant to protect yourself against phishing scams.

The email looked like it came from EBay and it claimed that there had been some suspicious activity on my account. It had a link for me to click on that would take me to my account to look into the supposed ‘unusual’ activity. Luckily, I knew right away that it was a scam- simply because I don’t have an EBay account! However, it was so cleverly done – the email looked so realistic that it would have been very easy to fall for it.

This wasn’t the first time I’ve received a suspicious email. In fact, just last fall I received a similar letter from Target claiming that my credit card had been a part of the whole credit card scam- and in order to make it right I needed to click on the link in the email. Yet again, I knew it wasn’t real since I hadn’t used a credit card at Target.

These days the criminals are getting more and more sophisticated- and it would be easy to fall for one of their tricks. By providing a link in the text of their message they are hoping that you will click on the link which will most likely install spyware on your computer. By using spyware, the criminal is now able to see what you type on your computer. They then watch and wait for you to log on to your banking website and enter your user name and passcode.  As soon as they have this information, they can now get into your account or steal your identity.

Even Microsoft had a similar case with a fake message pretending to be from the security division of the company! In the email they ask the user to log in to verify their account- and before you know it, you have just given out your personal information!

So what to do?

The best advice is to never click on a link from an email, no matter who sends it. If there really is suspicious activity on your account- either go directly to the website and log into your account or call the company directly. When you go to the website, look at the web address and make sure that it is a https site (as opposed to http). This ensures extra steps have been taken to make it a secure site. Lastly, never respond to a spam email – even if all you are doing is asking to be removed from the distribution list. By responding, you are confirming that it is an active account- which gives the phisher information about you.

Other important tips* to keep your computer and information secure:

  1. Make sure you are protected with an anti-spyware software such as Webroot, Zone Alarm, Ad-Aware.

  2. Updates! Keep your computer up to date with your anti-spyware and operating system (Windows, OS X).

  3. Scans! Your anti-spyware software will do scans on your system. Your first reaction may be to cancel the scan if you’re working on your computer. STOP! Don’t cancel that scan. Save what you’re working on and take a break from your computer. By doing this your computer has a chance to find a spyware that might have gotten past the protection.  You may also schedule scans to occur at times when you are not using your computer, such as the middle of the night. NEVER disable your scan settings!

  4. Lastly, be careful where you surf, what you download and what attachments in e-mails you view.

* Tips from Vermont Government Information Security website

Caregiver of the Month

imageWe are so proud of one of our amazing caregiver, Treicy, who won Evergreen Washelli’s caregiver of the month award. She was presented with a personalized plaque as well as a $100 Visa gift card!

Treicy said she has always wanted to help people and it makes her feel good to know she’s making a difference.

 She was selected because of her loving dedication to our clients. She serves as a live in caregiver, which means she actually lives in the client’s home and is available for them at any time. Not only is Treicy friendly and professional, but she goes out of her way to make sure that the client’s daily needs are met, including helping with bathing, personal care, medication reminders, preparing healthy meals as well as housekeeping.

Treicy takes her job very seriously. Her professionalism and amazing work ethic are some of her best qualities. She helps make Capability Homecare caregivers the best in the industry.

It has always been a dream of hers to become a nurse, and working as a caregiver and a CNA is the first step in her path to this amazing career. She serves all of our clients with a smile and a positive attitude, no matter the circumstances. She is eager to learn- and in addition to her professional training, she also enjoys doing research and further developing her skills and training as a Certified Nursing Assistant.

Thank you Evegreen Washelli for this generous award and recognition!