Home Health Care News

Home Instead Senior Care


St. Patrick’s Day Activities for Seniors

Although seniors usually aren’t looking for the same kind of rough and rowdy time that 20-some year olds want, that doesn’t mean that they still don’t want to have a little fun. So what kind of St. Patty’s Day activities would a senior be interested in?

1. Crafting: Some good craft making ideas that are associated with St. Patrick’s Day are rainbows with pots of gold, Leprechaun items, and four leaf clovers. You can pretty much be sure to find whatever idea your heart desires on Pinterest.
2. Games: You can pretty much have your pick of games and just tweak for things specifically involving St. Patrick’s Day. Trivia, Pictionary, and LUCKY (instead of BINGO) are all good choices that people are relatively familiar with.
3. Food: You can choose to either host a dinner with Irish items or, if you want to make it a community thing, you can plan a progressive dinner. In other words, do a home/apartment crawl (similar to a bar crawl) where each host prepares an Irish themed course. Some examples of Irish foods are Banger and Mash, Corned Beef Cabbage, and Irish Brown Bread. Green Jell-O for dessert and Irish coffee to end the night. If you aren’t into green beer, adding a few drops of green food coloring to some sprite should do the trick!
4. Get out: If you are able to be mobile, most cities have some kind of parade or festival to participate in.

Whatever you do, don’t forget to wear green so you don’t get pinched! Also, go ahead and set a little festive background music to whatever activity you choose, to get you in the spirit, whether it’s some bagpipes or Celtic tunes. We hope you enjoy these wholesome St. Patrick’s Day activities and that we have given you some inspiration as to how to liven up the upcoming holiday!


A Valentine’s Day Your Senior Won’t Forget!

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a holiday reserved for couples. We would do well to remember our elders this time of year. For them, Valentine’s Day may be harder than ordinary days, especially if they are facing the loss of a loved one. The best thing to do is to try and set aside some time for them. Here are some ideas:

1. Plan an outing. If your beloved senior is physically able enough to get out of the house, taking them to dinner and/or a movie is a nice idea.

2. Make something. If you decide staying in sounds like a better idea, you could always plan to bake cookies or another type of sweet treat. If baking or cooking isn’t your forte, making a craft together is another nice idea. Then, they will have something to keep around that will remind them of you and how much they are loved.

3. Take the easy route. Order in pizza or grab some other type of carryout on your way over, and just spend time. Whether it’s just turning on the TV or a movie, or sitting around chatting, your senior will appreciate the time spent.

If you do not live close by but still want to do something special, ordering a nice floral or edible arrangement is one way to go. If neither of those are in the budget, you could always plan a time to Skype or FaceTime but, if your senior is not very technologically savvy, sending an old-fashioned card or letter might be the way to go. One way or another, your beloved senior will appreciate the extra attention this Valentine’s Day!


Be a Santa to a Senior!

Home Instead Senior Care will be having our annual Be A Santa To A Senior Program!

If you would like to help a senior citizen in need this Christmas… Please take an ornament, purchase the items listed on the ornament, and bring the gifts to where you picked the ornament. You may also drop off the gifts at the Home Instead Office in Murrells Inlet. (Please securely attach the ornament to the bag.)


Deadline to drop off gifts is December 7th, 2016
(Please don’t wrap the gifts!)

Annual Wrapping Party
Inlet Square Mall
Hwy. 17 Bypass, Murrells Inlet, SC

Monday, December 12th, 2016
11am – 3pm


Sponsored by:
Home Instead Senior Care
11746 Hwy 17 Bypass, Murrells Inlet, SC 29576

(Wrapping Party is NOT held at the Home Instead Office)


The Senior Care “Reality Check”

  • Perception: 37% of the population believes that they will need senior care.
  • Reality: 69% of the population actually will need senior care.

Senior Care includes more than nursing homes….

  • 61% will use home health care.
  • 86% will use an informal caregiver.
  • 51% will use nursing homes.
  • 19% will use assisted living.

Why is there a drastic difference in people’s perception vs. reality?

  • People are in denial over aging and what comes along with it.
  • Consumers are optimistic in our youth-oriented culture. Why worry now anyway?
  • People equate aging and long-term care with death and defeat.
  • The reality of aging is not a powerful enough motivator until it hits close to home.
  • Care has been driven by crisis management versus proactive and preventative care.
  • There is not enough discussion on what long term care is. It’s not just “nursing homes”.

What are the consequences for not being prepared?

  • If you are prepared, you can choose the care you receive. If you are unprepared, care is chosen for you.
  • Without proper preparation, the financial and emotional stress on the family to be the caregiver can be devastating.
  • For the unprepared, the need for long term care can result in a complete depletion of assets and/or bankruptcy.
  • Proper planning gives consumers control of their care options and also eases the burden of family members.
  • Most people falsely believe Medicare will cover the costs of long term care services they will need.
  • Most people don’t have enough money to pay for long-term care out-of-pocket, but have too much to qualify for Medicaid.

How would you close the discrepancy gap?

  • The best long-term care education comes from experience – when people have loved ones living the experience.
  • Society, starting at a young age, needs to remove stigmas associated with aging. It’s okay to admit natural aging.
  • Long-term care needs to get more mainstream media attention, and not just the risks, but the consequences of aging.
  • Build more public awareness about aging and long-term care through real life examples of people receiving and giving care.
  • Human resource departments should address the need for long term care planning in addition to retirement planning.
  • Consumers need to understand chronic diseases and make lifestyle changes to reduce the associated health risks.

What advice do you have for consumers about their future care needs?

  • Become your own advocate. Put together a plan that includes the proper legal and financial planning paperwork.
  • Have consistent talks with your family about your long-term care plan and maintain the ongoing dialogue.
  • Build your team of trusted advisors that includes family members, financial planner, estate planning attorney, etc.
  • Include long term care as part of your retirement planning. Begin saving and preparing for those needs.
  • Knowledge is power. Seek input and advice from those with both positive and negative long-term care experiences.
  • Take care of yourself while you can. Make healthy choices to reduce risks and maximize your health.

*Source: www.seniorcare.com


12 Foods Your Senior Shouldn’t Live Without

They may seem like common staples for any healthy diet, but the following 12 foods hold special nutritional value for seniors. These items are also versatile enough to be used in a variety of recipes.

1. Oatmeal – A great source of soluble fiber, oatmeal has been shown to help lower blood cholesterol and may reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

2. Eggs – With only 75 calories per serving, eggs contain 13 essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D, important to absorbing calcium needed for bone strength. Lutein and zeaxanthin found in egg yolks may reduce the risk of cataracts and help prevent macular degeneration.

3. Yogurt – Rich in calcium, yogurt can contribute to the calcium requirement needed to prevent osteoporosis. Good bacteria is added to some yogurt, which may help people with digestive problems that often accompany aging. Mixing yogurt with fortified cereal provides added vitamins, including vitamin B12, which many seniors have difficulty absorbing from foods that naturally contain that vitamin.

4. Blueberries – These blue beauties are among the top fruits and vegetables for antioxidants. Research on aging and Alzheimer’s disease reveals that blueberries may also improve memory and coordination.

5. Apples – The benefits of apples are too numerous to name. The pectin in apples supplies galacturonic acid to the body, which lowers the body’s need for insulin and may help in the management of diabetes.

6. Fish – Bluefish, mackerel, salmon, sardines, trout and tuna (bluefin and albacore) are a low-fat, high-protein source of nutrients. The American Heart Association recommends fatty fish twice a week to improve heart health.

7. Chicken – Poultry is an excellent source of protein that contains less fat that most meats. Chicken, especially breast meat, contains half the fat of a steak. Chicken also has niacin and selenium, which possess cancer-fighting properties.

8. Broccoli – A good source of multiple nutrients including vitamins K, C, E, B and calcium and iron. Broccoli has been found to protect against cancer, heart disease, stroke and macular degeneration.

9. Soy (Edamame) – Nutritionists recommend consuming up to one serving a day or soy as a replacement for foods high in saturated fats. Some studies has shown that soy improves bone health. Be sue to consult your doctor before adding soy to a senior’s diet.

10. Sweet Potatoes & Squash – Sweet potatoes provide beta carotene and vitamins C and E, all of which promote healthy skin, hair and eyesight. Squash is a good source of beta carotene and vitamin C.

11. Rice – As a complex carbohydrate, rice digests slowly, allowing the body to utilize the energy released over a longer period, which is nutritionally efficient. Rice has low sodium content and contains useful quantities of potassium, the B vitamins, thiamin and niacin. Rice contains only a trace of fat, no cholesterol and is gluten free, so it’s suitable for people with celiac disease.

12. Dark Chocolate – Consumed in moderation, this high-calorie, high-fat food may contribute to health benefits such as boosting HDL cholesterol (know as good cholesterol) and lowering blood pressure.

Please note: Always consult a doctor before beginning any diet or nutrition program.


Returning Home: Start Planning Now

When a doctor admits your loved one to a hospital or facility it’s often a traumatic experience, whether you were expecting it or not.

And, as a family caregiver, it’s unlikely that you’re thinking too far ahead. Just get through one day at a time, right?

However, while a senior is still in the hospital or rehabilitation facility, it’s important to begin preparations for the time your loved one will return home. That’s because a smooth transition home is vital to a successful recovery. Consider this:

  • Nearly 20 (19.6%) of Medicare patients discharged from the hospital are readmitted within 30 days of discharge, account for $17.4 billion in spending, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.
  • One chronic condition that often sends older adults back to the hospital is heart issues. In fact, approximately 30 to 40% of patients with heart failure are readmitted within 6 months of hospitalization.

Many issues factor into why older adults are vulnerable to problems at home after they have been in a hospital or rehabilitation setting.

“One of the reasons we have large numbers of readmissions, many of whom are elderly, is because seniors are sent home unprepared, or they don’t follow or understand directions, or there is not adequate support at home or availability of a family caregiver – which puts them at risk. The key issues that send seniors back to the hospital are medication problems, falls in the home and not following up with the doctor,” said LaNita Knoke, President of the American Association of Managed Care Nurses.

Add to that list home safety issues, nutrition and hydration challenges, and overwhelming responsibilities for the primary family caregiver, seniors and their families can face a difficult road ahead.

Planning during a crisis is never as effective as being prepared in advance. Preparation is your best strategy for avoiding the many pitfalls that can sabotage you senior’s health and well-being when he or she goes home.


Helping Families Cope: Additional Nutritional Tips for Family Caregivers

Following are some tips for you to use during mealtime:

  • If a plateful of food is overwhelming, try placing one item at a time in front of your loved one and give verbal cues such as, “look at the orange carrots,” or “here’s the roast chicken that you like.” Wait to place the next selection on the plate until your loved one finishes eating the first item.
  • Allow plenty of time to eat and keep the environment quiet.
  • Breakfast time seems to be when individuals with Alzheimer’s are most alert and most hungry. Plan the most food for this time of the day in order to maintain your loved one’s weight.
  • Remind your loved one to chew and swallow.
  • Research studies have shown that people with Alzheimer’s disease eat as much as 25 percent more when their food is served on brightly colored plates. Use bright colors to make it easier to distinguish between the plate and the food.
  • Make sure the plate or bowl is secure on the table to avoid slipping and frustrating spills.

Supplying your loved one with good nutrition in a calm and stress-free environment can make it possible for him or her to cope both physically and emotionally with the disease. Taking extra time to set the tone for a successful meal can increase quality of life and reduce the risk of malnutrition. When you plan a day well, the result is a calmer, more relaxed day.


Helping Families Cope – Making Mealtimes More Enjoyable

The senses often diminish with age. Even healthy older adults lose their appetites when the senses of taste and smell weaken. In addition, Alzheimer’s disease contributes to these natural changes in appetite and eating, because of the decisions that need to be made on what foods to eat, and how to use utensils. Some food requires some cutting, unwrapping, reheating and seasoning to taste – all tasks that are difficult for an older adult with Alzheimer’s or related dementia.

Causes of Mealtime Problems

Other issues can cause mealtime problems for those with Alzheimer’s disease. Following are some common issues and recommendations:

  • Ill-fitting dentures can cause pinching and problems with chewing and may cause painful sores. If your loved one wears dentures, make sure they fit properly.
  • Chronic diseases such as stomach problems, diabetes and especially depression can decrease appetite. Constipation also contributes to a lack of appetite. Liquid or powdered nutritional supplements may be needed to treat poor appetites.
  • Certain food may interfere with medications. It is important to ask questions and talk to your loved one’s physician about preparing menus that are appropriate with prescribed medications.
  • Table manners may be lost as Alzheimer’s disease progresses. Your loved one may spill or drop utensils and dish-ware. Consider using plastic plates, bowls and cups. Large cloth napkins can also help avoid stains on clothing.
  • Impulse eating may occur. Your loved one may overeat or try to eat non-food items. It is best to keep mealtime simple and in a quiet environment.
  • Swallowing may become difficult as the disease progresses because it involves a voluntary and involuntary reflex. Consider learning the Heimlich maneuver to assist in the removal of food that lodges in the throat.
  • Avoid serving hard candies, hotdogs, whole grapes or cherries with pits to your loved one if he or she has swallowing problems or is at risk for choking.



Helping Families Cope – Communication to Smooth the Process

When a person has Alzheimer’s disease, the damage to his or her brain can make it difficult to recall or to understand words. Attempting to recall or decipher words can be overwhelming and result in frustration. The person may become agitated or repeat one word or a question over and over – a true test of your patience and understanding.

Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia often:

  • Lose their train of thought
  • Need more time to comprehend what is being said
  • Curse or use abusive or offensive language

As a family member, you can enhance communication with your loved one by:

  • Avoiding distractions and noise.
  • Keeping things simple – using short sentences and plain words.
  • Avoiding questions – offering suggestions instead.
  • Being patient and not interrupting when your loved one is expressing him or herself.
  • Maintaining eye contact and showing interest. Staying near your loved one, so he or she knows someone is listening and trying to understand.
  • Not taking it personally. As hurtful as it is, you need to remember it is the disease talking, not your loved one.
  • Using props and cues to increase recognition. For example, when taking your loved one to the bathroom, you can point to the toilet and ask, “Do you need to go to the bathroom?”
  • Remaining calm – using a normal and relaxed voice. Patience pays off with a smoother day.

Helping Families Cope – Alzheimer’s Care: Practical Tips

During the early months or years, individuals with dementia are aware of their metal impairment. They usually respond to their memory problems in a way that is typical of their personality. Some are passive and resigned to their fate; some are angry and abrasive; but almost all are depressed with low self-esteem.

As the disease progresses, individuals with Alzheimer’s become more clinging and dependent and lose the ability to do the things they once enjoyed. As a family caregiver, your loved one’s behavior may shock or bewilder you. You may be anxious and searching for ways to cope. Following are some suggestions to use with you loved one when daily tasks that were once automatic become difficult and result in frustration, fear, agitation and even aggression.

  • Limit choices – Having fewer options makes deciding easier. Whether it is laying out clothes for dressing or choosing between coffee or tea, it is important to limit choices for easier decision-making. Reducing distractions also helps a person with Alzheimer’s disease focus on one thing at a time.
  • Involve your loved one as much as possible – Set up successful accomplishments each day that allow your loved one to do tasks he or she is still able to do. This may require some cueing, prompting and patience. For example, you can place an electric razor or a hairbrush in your loved one’s hand and use verbal cues such as “shave your face,” or “brush your hair.”
  • Allow more time – Keep in mind that everything takes more time when your loved one has Alzheimer’s disease. Providing simple one-step instructions and allowing more time to perform a task may be necessary.
  • Plan your loved one’s schedule wisely – Determine what time of the day your loved one functions the best and is the most agreeable. Schedule the most difficult tasks – such as bathing or doctor’s appointments – during this time period.
Home Instead Senior Care is an in-home health care provider located in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina serving individuals and families in the Myrtle Beach and Grand Strand area for over 11 years! We offer assistance to those in need for companionship, home help, personal care, short-term recovery, Alzheimer’s care, Respite care and many other services to make your life easier.

© Home Instead Myrtle Beach
p) 843. 357. 9777
f) 843. 357. 9779
11746 Hwy 17 Bypass, Suite B
Murrells Inlet, SC 29576