Category: Elderly care

A man displays one of the warning signs of seasonal affective disorder – a lack of interest in enjoyable activities – as he waves forlornly out the window.

SAD Seniors: Warning Signs of Seasonal Affective Disorder and How to Help

The holiday season is often synonymous with joy, warmth, and togetherness as families come together to celebrate. However, it’s essential to acknowledge that not everyone experiences this time of year with the same festive spirit. The darker days of fall and winter can cast a shadow on some individuals, leading to a form of clinical depression known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). While many may dismiss it as the winter blues, SAD can particularly affect seniors, triggering memories of past holidays spent with loved ones who are no longer present. As you gather with your family during the holidays, it’s crucial to be attentive to warning signs of seasonal affective disorder in your older loved ones. Identifying these signs early on can make a significant difference in their well-being. Some common indicators of depression, including SAD, include oversleeping, extreme fatigue, a lack of interest in activities that were once enjoyable, increased appetite or overeating, and in severe cases, even suicidal thoughts. However, depression in seniors during the holidays may manifest in more subtle ways. Look out for these additional warning signs that could indicate a need for assistance: Weight Loss: Has the senior noticeably lost weight? Sudden changes in body weight can be a red flag for underlying health issues. Appearance: Take note if there are unexpected changes in the senior’s general appearance. This could include unkempt personal hygiene or a significant shift in clothing choices. Household Upkeep: Assess the overall condition of the senior’s home. Any drastic changes in how the house is maintained may provide clues about their well-being. General Behavior: Observe any alterations in the senior’s behavior. Are they more agitated or forgetful than usual? Is mobility becoming an issue, requiring more assistance? Such behavioral changes might indicate a need for additional care at home. If any

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Alarm Clock

The Risks of Sleep Deprivation in the Elderly & Their Caregivers

Older adults need about the same amount of sleep as people in their 20s, but many elderly people get much less sleep than they need. Common causes of insomnia or trouble sleeping can include health issues such as the pain from arthritis, some medications, and the need for frequent urination. Sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome are also more likely in seniors. A cause we don’t often hear about is that as we age, our body’s internal clock adjusts to earlier sleep and wakeup times. If seniors stay up late, they are likely to wake up at their usual early hour, thus experiencing the side-effects of a sleep-deprived day. While sleep requirements vary slightly for each person, most healthy adults require seven to nine hours of sleep per night. How you feel in the morning is a better indication of what you need. Frequently waking up not feeling rested or feeling tired and wanting to sleep during the day are the best signs that you’re not getting enough sleep. Disturbed sleep and waking up tired are not part of normal aging. It’s important to get to the root cause of sleepless nights because not getting enough sleep carries with it several important health risks and concerns. Sleep deprivation can: Take a toll on nearly every part of your life, no matter how old or young you are. Be as dangerous for drivers as alcohol consumption, adding to the risks affecting a senior’s ability to be a safe driver. Make falls and other accidents more likely. Increase the risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and other health issues. Cause depression, attention, and memory problems. Increase the risk of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, and potentially speed their progression. Research suggests that poor sleep can cause dementia and dementia can

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Drinking Water

Dehydration in the Elderly: Risks, Dangers, Detection, Prevention

As the heat of summer fades away, so might our awareness of how important it is for us and especially our elderly family members to stay hydrated. Dehydration can be difficult to detect, especially in the elderly. However, its effect on health can be dramatic and even life-threatening. Water content in the body decreases with age, especially in women. Dehydration can occur quickly. Depending on overall health, humans can’t survive more than 3-4 days without water. Although knowing the symptoms of dehydration and its damaging effects can be important, having a strategy for prevention is the most important thing for the elderly and their caregivers to focus on. Risk Factors for Elderly Dehydration At 96, my father had difficulty swallowing and easily aspirated liquids, unless they were thickened. Keeping him hydrated was a challenge. He would eat fruit and ice cream, but he refused most vegetables and soup, so he didn’t get a lot of water from his food. Swallowing disorders can be caused by aging, stroke, Parkinson’s disease or dementia. Other risk factors that heighten the chance of developing dehydration include: Not feeling thirsty Memory issues Obesity Beingbedridden Diarrhea,vomiting, excessive sweating Chronic health issues Some medications Diminished drinking due tofear of incontinence Fear of falling anytime they get up Dangers of Dehydration These and other dangerous health problems should cause us to suspect and want to prevent dehydration in the elderly: Urinary tract infections Aspirational pneumonia Severely dry skin and pressure sores Joint pain and muscle cramps Cognitive issues Kidney stones and function Low blood pressure, irregular heartbeat Seizures Early Detection Keeping an elderly person hydrated can require constant monitoring. Some of these signs may indicate dehydration and noticing them might help to prevent other conditions. See if drinking more water helps. If not, check with a doctor to determine

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Doctor Making Heart Shape With Hands

Get Transitional Care Services to Help Recover from Heart Surgery

Recovering from heart surgery means experiencing a variety of transitional care needs, from dietary changes to incision care, managing pain, swelling minimization, and more. The last thing an older adult wants after coming back home from such a traumatic event is to face the need for rehospitalization. To help an older loved one recover as comfortably as possible after heart surgery, review the following recommendations for effective transitional care: Incision Care Details on how to care for the incision will be supplied prior to being discharged from the hospital. Issues to be aware of include: Avoid extreme cold or hot water temperatures, as they can cause dizziness. Always keep the incision clean and dry. The incision can be gently washed (don’t rub) with soap. Do not use lotions or creams on incisions until healing is complete. Occasionally, a swelling or lump appears at the top of the chest incision, and can take several months to go away completely. If the incision is healing and dry, brief showers (no longer than 10 minutes) are normally permitted. If there are sutures in the chest, stand with back to the shower spray. If showers are not available, quick baths (limited to ten minutes) may be taken. Managing Pain In the beginning of the recovery process, there may be some incision or muscle discomfort in the chest area during physical activity, but this should not include any pain that is similar to the pain they experienced before the surgery. Itching, tightness and/or numbness in the area of the incision are common after surgery. If the surgery was bypass surgery, and if vein grafts from the legs were used, there may be more pain in the legs than surrounding the chest incision. Walking, daily activities, and time will help to decrease leg discomfort and stiffness.

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senior care assessment

Why You Should Schedule a Senior Care Assessment to Determine Care Needs

One of the most fascinating things about human beings is that each and every one is completely unique, and that doesn’t change simply because of age. As we age, we remain the unique and intricate people that we have been our whole lives. Assuming that all seniors will act the same and have a need for the same things is a cookie cutter approach that simply will not work for seniors or those who take care of them. Providing care to older individuals requires a creative and thoughtful approach that allows the caregiver to get to know the senior and their particular needs. This information can help determine the best plan of care to keep the person healthy and safe at home. This is where a senior care assessment comes in. Just as there are a number of different types of people with a variety of needs, there are also numerous different kinds of in-home senior care services and providers. Understanding what types of services, or combinations of services, are ideal for an older family member can help the person live a happier, healthier life at home. Working with a trusted elder care provider like Dakota Home Care is also incredibly important. When it’s time to obtain home care services for a loved one, a senior care assessment for daily function, depression, and mental status is a critical step that a high quality home care service company will provide to identify which sorts of services are suggested for an older adult. What’s the Purpose of a Senior Care Assessment? A senior care assessment is intended to: Outline all of the concerns and challenges that an older adult is experiencing Develop a care plan to recommend solutions for recognized issues Evaluate an older person’s access to supports that can help them

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age safely at home

Can Your Parents Age Safely at Home? Assess These Two Areas to Find Out.

If you’re the child of an aging parent, you have almost certainly listened to your loved one explain their wish to age at home instead of moving to a nursing home. The fact is, the vast majority of older people want to live in their own homes for as long as possible – for a number of reasons. Home is the environment they’ve lovingly created, so it’s where they are the most comfortable and familiar. Living at home also creates meaning and purpose to one’s life. Something as basic as looking at your possessions, reading the newspaper, or relaxing on the porch are more meaningful at home than in a long-term care facility because it is the home that provides the framework of life. The comforts of home offer a sense of peace and privacy that cannot be replaced. And yet, many people, regardless of age, are under the false presumption that life in a nursing home or assisted living facility is inevitable for the elderly. Is it really feasible to age safely and independently with the help of home care services? Actually, in-home care services can be a long-term, practical solution for many. Continuing to live at home offers not only the pleasure of familiar surroundings and independence from rigid routines, but according to Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey, home care can be a much more affordable option as well. How Do I Know if My Parents Can Age at Home Safely? To decide if someone you love could benefit from the support of a skilled caregiver as an alternative to making the major decision to sell their home and move into a nursing home or assisted living facility, pay attention to the degree of functioning in the following two areas: Activities of Daily Living: These activities are essential

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Senior woman washing her face

Top Senior Skin Problems and How to Overcome Them

It’s not a part of senior personal care that’s as commonly talked about as other aspects of daily hygiene, but is important to keeping older adults healthy, nonetheless. Senior skin problems can be frequent occurrences, causing a variety of concerns for seniors, including discomfort, bruising, dryness, itching, and more. The home care specialists at Dakota Home Care go to great lengths to keep older adults safe and healthy from head to toe, and that includes healthy skin. We have shared below some of the more prevalent skin problems in aging, and some guidelines to help. Dryness According to Medscape, an overwhelming majority of people over age 65 are distressed by dry, itchy, flaky skin, which results from a reduction in sweat and oil glands. How to help: The senior should take fewer showers or baths, utilizing warm (not hot) water, gently dry the skin, and apply moisturizer See if “dry bath” products work for the older adult; these clean the skin and hair without water Try using more mild soaps and shampoos, like those with Nizoral, for seniors who have special skin conditions, and always apply sunscreen before going outdoors Be sure the individual drinks plenty of liquids and uses a humidifier to hydrate the skin Stay away from: Perfumes Smoking Stress Overexposure to the sun Bruising Bruising is common in older adults, resulting from thinner skin and less fat and connective tissue that can lead to a weakening of the support surrounding blood vessels. How to help: To decrease the inflammation and overall size of a bruise, place a cold compress over the bruise for roughly 20 minutes Try to keep bruised areas elevated as much as possible Encourage the senior to get plenty of vitamin C, which increases collagen Help the person quit smoking, as smoking diminishes collagen

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senior and mature woman laughing together

A Day in the Life of a Senior Caregiver

As more residents in our area reach their senior years, the need for in-home caregivers has grown. Perhaps you’ve considered a career as a senior caregiver, but aren’t entirely sure what to expect from the job, or if you would even be qualified. The good news is, even if you have no previous formal experience as an in-home caregiver, you may be more qualified for this rewarding career than you realize.  Caregivers ideally possess a common thread of traits that form the basis of their vocation, such as compassion, reliability, patience, and a desire to make a difference in their local communities. They come from a broad range of backgrounds and are drawn to caregiving due to the career’s flexibility, variety, and service-oriented nature.  So what might you expect from a day in the life of an in-home senior caregiver? While schedules vary from one day to the next and between clients (that’s part of the fun!), here’s a sampling of what a typical day might look like.  If you’re scheduled for a morning shift, your day will usually begin with helping your client get out of bed, dressed, and ready for the day. You’ll fix breakfast and clean up afterwards, and perhaps chat with the senior about what the day has in store.  Later in the morning is a perfect time to run errands together and take care of a little housework. By noon, you’ll both be hungry, so you’ll likely prepare lunch and enjoy a little more quality time together.  The afternoon may be filled with enjoyable activities like putting together a puzzle with the senior or looking through an old photo album, or any other activity of interest to the senior. A caregiver’s nighttime routine might mean arriving in time to prepare dinner and catch up with

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The Needs of Aging Parents: What they Want (And What They Don’t)

As we go through life’s various stages, our independence takes on different connotations. There are important occasions, like leaving our parents’ home or getting married, and smaller occasions, such as finishing a difficult task you were determined to finish. Later, as we grow older, maintaining independence becomes the focus – the ability to stay in our own home safely and securely. This desire to age in place at home is often the greatest wish for seniors, regardless of their state of health or ability to perform tasks of daily life independently, even in the face of injury, sickness or chronic health problems. For adult children, caring for senior parents at home is often very complex, with physical, mental and social considerations. Adult children may discover the need to increase their responsibilities when providing care for an older parent, as they find themselves increasingly involved in the daily tasks this critical role necessitates. At the same time, they have to balance their loved one’s autonomy along with the needs of other family members. Along the way, we are trying to constantly evaluate the needs of aging parents and how they may evolve over time. It’s not hard to get swept up in the role of caregiver when the situation arises—our parents have done so much for us, and when they have the need for help, it’s instinctive to want to do anything we can to support them. But it’s extremely important to keep in mind that, for the vast majority of seniors, maintaining independence is a key component in their wish to age at home and, if we really want to do them a favor, we must help them preserve their independence. While our efforts may certainly be well intended, it can be easy to go from providing care for aging

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Help Seniors Enjoy the Holidays

How to Help Seniors Enjoy the Holidays

Even though the yuletide season is commonly thought about as a time that is joyful, busy with visiting family and friends who are near and dear to us and finding the perfect gifts, for older individuals, it can be anything but merry and bright. The combination of lost loved ones, memories of past holidays, health problems and more can bring feelings of lonesomeness and sorrow for older adults and all of us. With all of these stressors, how can we help seniors enjoy the holidays? At Dakota Home Care, a leading provider of elder home care services in Mandan, Fargo, and throughout the nearby areas, we care deeply about making sure seniors enjoy the holidays, feel included in the celebrations and make new memories of a joyful holiday season. The following recommendations can help everyone enjoy the wonder of the holiday season together: Develop a cookbook with recipes from all family members. Gather all the recipes, and distribute copies of your new family cookbook. Take a drive to enjoy holiday lights in an old, familiar neighborhood. If your loved one experiences challenges putting out holiday decorations, offer to help! This is a great way to share memories of past holidays and the stories behind different decorations. The caregivers at Dakota Home Care can also provide assistance with holiday decorating. For a holiday that is really relaxing, schedule time together at a local salon or spa. You can even consider having a local beautician or masseuse come to the home if possible. Safety precautions may come up for your older loved one for a variety of reasons: increased fall risks with the addition of the holiday decorations in the home, challenges adhering to a prescribed dietary plan, and for those with dementia, interruption to routine, additional visitors to the home, and higher noise

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diabetes management

Tips for Effective Management of Stress and Diabetes

From sunup to sundown, every day in the life of those with diabetes is loaded with a number of tasks to control the disease. Between medicines, insulin needles, monitoring blood sugar levels, physical exercise, and handling nutritional requirements, it’s common for people to have to manage stress and diabetes at the same time. Dakota Home Care understands the obstacles and struggles of diabetes care management, and share the following ideas to help manage stress and diabetes to remain in ideal health: Remember, none of us is perfect. Effective diabetes care doesn’t require being perfect with care every single day. It is common for some days to be better than other days and it is crucial to be forgiving of the occasional glucose fluctuation, creating opportunities to make note of lessons learned for better management in the future. Recognize care barriers. Barriers to diabetic care management can include: Requiring additional information/education on how to best provide diabetes care Avoiding situations that could affect the necessary care schedule Excuses to eliminate about getting adequate exercise Eating habits that might be influenced more by emotions than hunger Depression or other mental health concerns Remain upbeat. Throughout all obstacles, a positive mindset can go a long way. Rather than thinking, “I’ll never be able to manage my diabetes—I might as well resolve myself to always having health problems,” try thinking instead, “I didn’t pay enough attention to my portion sizes at breakfast; that’s why my blood sugar is too high. I am going to plan in advance and keep food portions in line with my meal plan or cover with extra insulin if I eat more than I meant to.” Accept help. Friends, family members, and coworkers often provide a caring shoulder to lean on. It can be helpful to advise them what is

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fun activities for seniors

Create Fun Activities for Seniors from Everyday Tasks

Is a senior loved one participating in activities on a routine basis, or is he or she stuck in a rut that predominantly consists of TV-watching, eating, and sleeping? Particularly during this time of quarantining and solitude, it can be tough to maintain an active and engaged way of living – but it’s vitally important for the health and quality of life of aging adults. There are many benefits of finding new and fun activities for seniors to help enrich their days. At Dakota Home Care, we believe that our clients should be honored with activities that engage them and help them continue to be involved in living life to the fullest every day. This means individualizing activities to correspond to each senior’s distinctive interests, hobbies, and ability levels. Our person-centered care starts with discovering as much as possible about the older person’s likes, dislikes, hopes and dreams, interests and life history. We get to know the senior through an interview that may include other family members if desired, and then develop a personalized plan of care to include a variety of appropriate enrichment activities. Some of the benefits of enriching and fun activities for seniors include: Lessen boredom and lack of motivation Enhance self-confidence and independence Restore or enhance purpose and meaning to life Help improve memory Restore physical abilities Foster a sense of wellbeing for seniors struggling with a chronic illness Efficiently increasing older adults’ everyday experiences means not just personalizing their activities to meet their particular preferences and tastes, but also making certain that their daily routine has some variety. This means that on a particular day we might work on activities that are designed to boost their creativity with a simple but meaningful art project. On the next day, the focus may be on just having

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Benefits of Senior Activities

The Benefits of Senior Activities and How Dakota Home Care Can Help

Countless Americans are finding themselves in the role of providing senior care for an older family member, and although serving as a family caregiver is extremely fulfilling in many ways, the daily duties involved with senior care may come to be tedious for both the caregiver and the older adult. Dakota Home Care has a personal caregiver in Fargo, ND and surrounding areas, who wants to assist you in putting the fun back in your loved one’s day-to-day schedule. All it takes is a little inventiveness! Try some of these suggestions to help brighten your loved one’s day and make everyday senior care more enriching: Add Style These recommendations can add some style and fun to getting dressed, doing laundry, and other chores: Ask your loved one to assist with laundry (sorting/folding/putting away). Utilize this time to discuss your day, a TV show you both like to watch, etc. Look at magazines and catalogs for fashions you think the other person would look good in. Make choosing clothes and accessories to wear every day an enjoyable occasion! Spice Up Meals Food defines our culture, family history and heritage, and is linked to numerous emotions. Make mealtime more fun by: Including the senior in washing/drying dishes. Inviting the older adult to help in fixing a traditional family meal. Enjoying meals outdoors when weather allows. Try Something New There’s always something new to be learned, and no better time than today to explore a new hobby or pursue a goal. There are numerous virtual classes available, with some geared particularly to seniors and offering lower (or no-cost) rates. Look for opportunities to learn: A new language How to play a musical instrument Skills like knitting, culinary arts, gardening, painting – the options are limitless! Dakota Home Care’s professional personal caregivers understand that

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Caregiver Client w/masks

Why it’s Safer to Stay at Home During COVID

Loved Ones Are Safer & Happier During COVID-19 with DHC In-Home Care   When her adult daughter died recently of cancer, my 90-year-old sister-in-law lost her support system. She was still living on her own in Virginia but required quite a bit of help to stay at home by herself. Her son and his wife in Provo, Utah, convinced her to move to a lovely assisted living facility close to their home.   The move took place when a dramatic spike in COVID-19 in the area was just beginning. Shortly after Janet (not her real name) arrived, for the safety of all, the facility closed its doors to visitors. Understandably, they discourage taking residents “off campus” where they might be exposed to the virus and bring it back to other residents. The move is not turning out quite the way Janet and her family had hoped.   People all over the country who are taking care of elderly loved ones still at home or in their homes are taking similar precautions. As a result, both seniors and caregivers often feel isolated and lonely wherever they are. Members of greater Bismarck, Mandan, Fargo and the surrounding communities will be happy to know that help can be just a phone call away.   Alternatives for Happier Outcomes in Any Living Conditions The staff at Dakota Home Care (DHC) recognizes the hardship for seniors and other at-risk community members who, because of the risk of infection are not able to see their families, friends and loved ones at this time of COVID-19. This can be equally hard on caregivers. They may be afraid to ask for help, because they fear it will not be safe to bring in someone from the outside. You can take comfort in knowing that help from DHC is

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Estate Planning, caregiver fargo nd

A Digital Estate Plan Is Necessary for Caregivers to Manage Your Digital Assets

I thought my husband and I were doing a pretty good job with our estate planning UNTIL I read this AARP article, “Prepare a Digital Estate Plan for Future Caregivers.” Now I realize there’s a huge hole in what needs to be done before we die or become unable to manage our own affairs, and the executors of our estate and future caregivers suddenly need access to our digital assets and data! When my dad died about 4 years ago at age 97, he didn’t even own a computer. Anything digital relating to his life and estate was already on my computer, and as co-executor of his estate, I was already managing it. The power of attorney, the family trust, his will and his death certificate were all my brother and I needed to quickly settle his estate and distribute or dispose of his assets. However, my situation is very different. My husband has Alzheimer’s, and I am already handling all of our affairs. A lot of what our co-executors will need to know and have access to is on my computer. It not only needs passwords but, in some cases I’ve learned, specific legal permission to access. I’m in good health now, but at age 76, if I’m realistic, who knows how much longer my good health and brain power will last. If I don’t want to leave a big mess for our 5 children, I need to follow the advice about a Digital Estate Plan that I’m about to share with you. You can find most of the What-and-How-To you’ll need in the 5 articles I found valuable and listed below, but hopefully my summary contains the basics and will give you the motivation and direction needed to start filling your own digital hole, if you have one.

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