Home Helpers is a premier provider of quality non-medical and personal in-home care to the Philadelphia area.

Alzheimer's Disease and Sleeping Pills

Caring for an individual who suffers from memory loss can be a significant challenge. If you provide home care for a senior loved one who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, you may be interested in learning about the possible link between this disease and sleeping pills.

Watch this video to find out more about the research regarding this possible connection. Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that are calming and affect the central nervous system. In a study that looked at individuals who took these medications for three months or longer, it was found that they had nearly double the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Caregiving can be a rewarding but challenging responsibility. If you could use assistance with providing personal care for your senior loved one, call Home Helpers today at (215) 334-2600. We offer rapid care responses, care check systems, and services for specialized home care in Philadelphia.

What Hygiene Changes Could Mean in a Senior Loved One

If you’re wondering why your elderly loved one no longer looks after himself the way that he used to, it may help you to realize that it’s fairly common for seniors to exhibit a decrease in their personal care. There are several potential causes of hygiene changes in your senior loved one.

An Attempt at Control

As individuals age, they can experience a reduced sense of control over their life. Because of this, some seniors choose not to bathe or change their clothing because it is something that they retain control over. In these cases, it’s common for loved ones to resist making changes in their hygiene practices the more that they are pressed to do so.

A Case of Depression

Often partly due to a decreased feeling of control, it’s not unusual for seniors to develop depression and lose interest in taking care of themselves. If you notice hygiene changes that are accompanied by lethargy, consider scheduling a checkup with your loved one’s doctor.

A Decrease in Senses

Reduced senses of sight and smell are common symptoms of aging. If you notice that your loved one’s hygiene practices are declining, this may be because he cannot see or smell as acutely as you can, and isn’t aware of the situation. Gentle reminders or suggesting a daily time for bathing may be helpful for your parent.

A Failure in Memory

Even if your senior loved one isn’t afflicted with a memory disease, it’s important to bear in mind that for these individuals, it’s common for their days to blend together, and they may not realize that they skipped a day of bathing or already wore a particular shirt. It can be helpful to accept that this can be a normal part of aging, and to hire an in-home caregiver if necessary.

If you have a senior loved one that would benefit from in-home personal care, call Home Helpers today at (215) 334-2600. We specialize in high-quality home care in Philadelphia and offer several programs, such as our Friendly Visit Program, Total Care Plan, and Rapid Care Response, to provide care services for seniors.

Helping a Senior Loved One Cope with Appetite Changes

If you’re providing personal care for a senior loved one, there are a variety of changes in her health and behavior that you may witness over time. Fluctuations in appetite are common in older adults. Knowing why she is less interested in her favorites foods can make it easier for you to help her cope with these changes.

Understand potential causes.

The first step in helping your loved one adapt to her changes in appetite is to understand why they might occur. Differences in hunger can be a natural part of aging, but other factors may cause this to happen. She may be experiencing a lack of energy that leaves her unwilling to spend time cooking, or she may be suffering from medication side effects that influence her appetite. A lack of interest in food can also be the result of loneliness or depression, changing taste buds, or health conditions.

Consider health factors.

Because a change in appetite and thirst can be a normal part of aging, it doesn’t always signal that something is wrong. However, decreased hunger can indicate changes in your loved one’s health. She may no longer enjoy eating food because her senses of taste and smell have deteriorated. Another possibility is that she is performing less physical activity or is experiencing a lowered metabolic rate, which can leave her feeling less hungry. Also, gastrointestinal changes and dental problems may be affecting her appetite.

Stimulate her hunger.

To help your senior loved one cope with her changes in appetite, you can talk to her doctor about side effects that her medications may be causing, or ask about the use of an appetite stimulant. Encouraging social meals and scheduling consistent meal times can also be helpful. Finally, provide your loved one with nutrient dense foods to help make up for reduced portion sizes.

Home Helpers is a premier provider of in-home elderly care in Philadelphia. If you and your senior loved one could benefit from specialized home care assistance, call us today at (215) 334-2600 to learn about our Total Care Plan, Care Check System, and other programs.

Talking to Kids About Changes in a Grandparent's Health

For grandchildren, watching a grandparent become ill can be a confusing and distressing experience. It can be helpful for parents to keep an open line of communication with their kids to encourage them to ask questions when they have them, and when appropriate, include them in decisions about home care and other needs. If your parent has been diagnosed with a medical condition that is going to significantly impact his or her health, here are some tips for explaining these changes to your children.

Use Honest Language

It is tempting to use language that minimizes the circumstances when you are talking to children about serious health issues, but doing so often results in confusion and increased anxiety. Instead, explain the situation to your children in a clear, honest way that is age appropriate, and avoid euphemisms. For instance, referring to major injury as a boo-boo or talking about a terminally ill loved one going to sleep sometime soon can make children fearful about minor injuries as well as going to bed at night. Being as clear and honest as possible will help children feel confident.

Encourage Questions

Your children are likely to have questions about their grandparent’s health, particularly if it is a progressive condition in which his or her deterioration is obvious. Let them know that you are available to answer their questions about any time, and speak openly about the situation when possible. Children are comforted by feeling like they are involved in helping to make choices about home care and more.

Continue Visiting

You may be concerned that a grandparent’s condition will be distressing to your children, but severing the relationship is likely to be more upsetting. Children and their grandparent will all benefit from spending time together, and these visits give you an opportunity to have more discussions with your children.

Home Helpers of Philadelphia understands the importance of the connections between your family and how difficult it can be to make decisions about home care. Call us now at (215) 334-2600 and find out how we can help you with everything from comprehensive care in our Total Care Plan and occasional support in our Friendly Visit Program.

What Exactly Is the Peanut Butter Test?

The peanut butter test is a tool that can be used in some patients to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease in early stages. The earlier you find out a loved one has Alzheimer’s, the sooner you can make important decisions like who will provide home care and when you will need specialized home care when your loved one’s condition deteriorates. Watch this video to learn more about this promising test.

During the peanut butter test, doctors test patients’ abilities to smell peanut butter from a distance. Dementias like Alzheimer’s often affect the first cranial nerve, that also controls smelling, early in the disease process. A change in the ability to smell things could be the first indicator of a neurological issue.

When the time comes to make decisions about home care, let Home Helpers assist you with our Total Care Plan in Philadelphia, Friendly Visit Program, and more. Call us at (215) 334-2600 for more information.

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