Necessary Immunizations for Seniors Who Travel

If your senior loved one likes to travel outside of the country frequently, it’s possible he or she needs some updated vaccinations to help prevent some serious illnesses. But which ones are the most important to consider getting? Here is a list of some immunizations your traveling loved one should make sure are current, provided by the staff at Home Care Assistance Waterloo.

Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR)

While many seniors may have received this vaccine as a child, cases of measles, mumps, and rubella are much more prevalent outside of North America. Receiving a booster of this immunization can help keep seniors healthy while they travel and prevent these three diseases that can be life threatening for those over the age of 60.

Tetanus

Most cases of tetanus, a bacterial disease that affects the nervous system and causes painful muscle contractions in the neck and face, happen in those who are over the age of 65. Since tetanus is more prevalent in less-developed countries, your loved one should get a booster before traveling if he or she hasn’t received one within the last 10 years.

Typhoid

Typhoid fever is common in Asia, Africa, and South America, with most cases occurring in South Asia. It is spread through contaminated water and food, so care should always be taken when traveling to consume safe food and water and practice proper hand washing. Symptoms can include high fever, stomach pain, weakness and headaches. A vaccine, available as a shot or taken orally, can help prevent typhoid fever. However, it won’t prevent 100 percent of cases, so other precautions should still be taken.

Polio

Unfortunately, polio is still prevalent in many African and Middle Eastern countries. Those who contract the virus can end up with gastrointestinal problems, become paralyzed, or experience difficulty breathing. Seniors who were vaccinated as children should receive one booster of the vaccine. If your loved one never received the immunization as a child, he or she will need to receive the entire series.

Yellow Fever

Yellow fever is found predominately in Africa and South America and is transmitted by mosquito bites. It can cause severe liver damage and febrile illness. A vaccine is available for those travelling to countries where they may be exposed to yellow fever. However, care should always be taken when around mosquitoes to avoid bites. Seniors who have compromised immune systems and are over the age of 60 may be advised by their doctor to not receive this vaccine because it contains a live virus.

Even if your loved one is able to travel safely and securely, he or she may still need some help taking care of daily tasks when at home. Sometimes, things like grooming, cooking, cleaning, and remembering to take medications can become a challenge, but a professional caregiver can help manage those tasks and much more. If your loved one needs part-time care in Waterloo, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our hourly care promotes senior independence, and all of our services come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. For more information, call a Care Manager today at (519) 954-2111 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.

Lowering Cholesterol in Seniors

High cholesterol often leads to heart disease,one of the leading causes of death in Canada, and can also result in many other health complications. Below are some simple tips to help get your elderly loved one’s cholesterol under control, brought to you by the Kitchener senior care experts at Home Care Assistance.

Reduced Portions

Eating large food portions can lead to high cholesterol, which is why your loved one should limit the amount of food he or she eats each meal. A great way to practice portion control is by having your loved one hold the food inside of his or her hand. An appropriate serving size should fit comfortably in one hand.

More Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables can help seniors maintain a healthy weight and lower their blood pressure, and the antioxidants within can lower the body’s LDL, also known as bad cholesterol. Sterols and stanols, substances found in many plant sources, can prevent the body from absorbing too much cholesterol in the intestines.

Less Carbohydrate Consumption

Even though your loved one may enjoy sweets, many are low in fiber and contain large amounts of carbohydrates, which can cause blocked arteries and blood clots that lead to strokes or heart attacks. Instead, suggest he or she eat more foods with high amounts of soluble fiber, such as kidney beans, oatmeal, apples, and prunes, as these may help block cholesterol and fats from being absorbed.

Increased Physical Activity

Being overweight can increase LDL in the blood, leading to high cholesterol and hear disease. Encourage your loved one to maintain a moderate daily exercise routine and participate in a variety of physical activities. It is best if he or she exercises four times a week for at least thirty minutes a day. Some of the best low-to-moderate activities and exercises for seniors include walking, dancing, gardening, swimming, and bicycling.

Some seniors may face challenges preventing them from getting proper exercise or implementing a healthier diet. If your loved one falls into this category, an hourly caregiver in Kitchener from Home Care Assistance may be the perfect solution. Our caregivers can provide assistance with mobility and exercise, prepare nutritious meals, and even go grocery shopping. All of our senior care services come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, and you’ll never be asked to sign a long-term contract. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (519) 954-2111 to schedule a free in-home consultation.

4 Vitamin Supplements for Fighting Alzheimer’s

One in nine people over 65 have Alzheimer’s disease. After 65, the chances of getting Alzheimer’s doubles every 5 years. If your elderly loved one has been showing signs of Alzheimer’s, it is important to know what methods may help fight the disease, and some studies have shown certain vitamins to be effective. Here are some examples of vitamins that may help stave off the progression of Alzheimer’s, brought to you by the Waterloo senior care experts at Home Care Assistance.

1. Vitamin B

Seniors who have high homocysteine levels have twice the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, but eating more fruits such as apples and bananas and leafy green vegetables rich with vitamin B can help the body rid itself of homocysteine.

2. Vitamin C

Taking 500 mg of vitamin C per day can reduce the risk ofdeveloping Alzheimer’s, as the antioxidants present can help boost memory function. Citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons are excellent sources of vitamin C.

3. Vitamin D

Research has shown people with Alzheimer’s disease are more likely to have a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D acts on the receptors in the brain to protect it against damage, including the plaques and tangles caused by Alzheimer’s. Though there is still much to learn about its effect on the brain, taking less than 10,000 UI of vitamin D per day should be safe for your loved one.

4. Vitamin E

Vitamin E, if taken moderately and under a physician’s supervision, can be helpful in preventing cognitive decline. While studies indicate the antioxidants in vitamin E may protect brain cells, too much of the vitamin may also slightly increase the risk of death in people with coronary artery disease.

Though some vitamins can help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, there is no guarantee of any lasting effects, which may lead to the need for additional care. If your loved one is in an advanced stage of the disease, remaining in the comfort of home, surrounded by familiar people and objects, may be the most beneficial choice for him or her. For trusted in-homeAlzheimer’s care in Waterloo, turn to Home Care Assistance. All of our caregivers are expertly trained in the Cognitive Therapeutics Method, an activities-based program specifically geared toward slowing cognitive decline and delaying the onset of dementia. For more information on Alzheimer’s care or our other senior care services, call (519) 954-2111 today to speak with one of our qualified Care Managers.

How to Plan a Road Trip with Your Elderly Relative

Planning a road trip with your elderly loved one may seem like a challenge at first, but there are a few ways to make any vacation safer for people over the age of 65. Follow these tips below, provided by the staff at Waterloo Home Care Assistance, for ways to ensure a wonderful, memorable trip for everyone.

Consult Your Loved One’s Doctor

Before planning a trip, call your loved one’s primary caregiver and any specialists he or she may see. Ask about what distances can be traveled safely, and about any accommodations your loved one may require throughout the trip.

Ensure You Have the Proper Medications

Ask your loved one’s doctor for all prescription lists and refills ahead of time. If possible, obtain extra medication in case of any unexpected longer stays. Make sure to properly store these medications and bring the original, prescribed containers in case of an emergency.

Plan for Emergencies

Review the route for your road trip and take note of nearby hospitals. Call your loved one’s insurance company for information about coverage groups, and map out stops just in case you need to make a trip to a doctor or emergency room. Make sure your loved one has information with your name and contact information in case you become separated.

Make a Schedule and Stick with It

Review any scheduled plans with your loved one frequently. If her or she is easily confused, any changes in scenery and daily routine may be upsetting. Sticking to a schedule can help provide comfort as you travel together.

Bring Help

Family members or friends who understand your elderly loved one’s health conditions can help aid you during your trip. Additionally, you may consider hiring an experienced part-time caregiver in Waterloo who can provide professional assistance.

Ensuring safety for your loved one is not only important while on the road, but just as crucial on a day-to-day basis when he or she is at home. For trusted senior in-home care, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We offer live-in and part-time hourly care in Waterloo, and our caregivers can provide transportation for appointments and personal events, and assist with a variety of tasks around the house. All of our senior care services come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, and you’ll never be asked to sign a long-term contract. Call a friendly Care Manager today at (519) 954-2111 for more information. We hope to hear from you soon.

How to Pinpoint Stress in the Elderly

Many elderly people experience increased stress and anxiety, which can be caused by loneliness, decreased physical ability, and various other health problems. Your senior loved one may be reluctant to discuss his or her mental health issues, and it isn’t always easy to tell if a symptom is the result of stress or another medical condition. Here a few ways you may be able to determine if your elderly loved one is stressed, brought to you by the staff at Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of senior home care in Kitchener.

Headaches

When stressed, the muscles around the head and eyes tighten. A combination of hormones, body heat, and muscle tension all act to make headaches a common symptom of stress.

Shortness of Breath

Hyperventilation occurs when the body is getting too much oxygen and expelling too much carbon dioxide. Seniors experiencing stress sometimes try to control their breath, taking in too much air and causing their chest to fully expand. The body doesn’t need that excess air, which results in shortness of breath.

Blurred Vision

The adrenaline rush experienced during anxiety attacks can cause pupil dilation. When pupils dilate, more light enters the eye. Instead of making vision better, this extra light can lead to blurred vision. Hyperventilation, another result of stress,can also cause this blurriness.

Memory Loss

Stress can cause acute and chronic changes in the brain, resulting in damage that may affect the memory. The body secretes hormones like cortisol into the bloodstream during times of stress, making learning and remembering things difficult.

Reduced Appetite

Serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, plays a role in both anxiety and the feeling of hunger. A combination of serotonin, neurotransmitters, and hormones are related to anxiety, digestion, and hunger, and all play a role in decreased appetite. Many seniors are also preoccupied with their stress, leading them to care less about eating.

Since stress can lead to further complications, knowing what to look for and how to treat it can be crucial for your loved one’s wellbeing. However, you may not always be available to provide the companionship and care your loved one may require. For hourly care Kitchener families trust, reach out to Home Care Assistance. All of our caregivers are expertly trained in the revolutionary Balanced Care Method, which promotes healthy living through diet, physical activity, sharp minds, social ties, and calmness and purpose, all ways to help manage your loved one’s stress. To schedule a free in-home consultation, give Home Care Assistance a call today at (519) 954-2111 and speak with one of our qualified Care Managers.

5 Foods Seniors Should Avoid

As seniors get older, it becomes more important to establish healthy eating habits. Many foods, especially when eaten in excess, can lead to unfortunate health consequences. The staff at Home Care Assistance in Waterloo wants to help your senior loved one stay healthy, so suggest he or she try to steer clear of these 5 foods.

1. Soda

Seniors should limit their intake of both sugar-sweetened and diet sodas. Drinking sugary soda has been linked to diabetes, and the artificial sweeteners in diet soft drinks can lead to brain inflammation. Studies have also shown these artificial sweeteners can increase the risk of strokes and heart attacks.

2. Fried Foods

Seniors with arthritis may want tostay away from fried foods such as bacon or onion rings, as the trans fats in the oil can cause joint inflammation, which can exacerbate anypreexisting conditions.

3. Salt

A high salt intake can raise blood pressure, which can lead to kidney disease, strokes, and heart attacks. While snack foods are an obvious culprit, excess salt is found in many foods, from processed meats to breakfast cereals. Check nutrition labels to make sure your loved one isn’t taking in too much salt.

4. Lunch Meats

While the occasional sausage probably won’t hurt, eating lunchmeat everyday could have severe consequences such as the development of colorectal cancer. For a healthier meat option, your loved one can exchange deli meats for leftover chicken breast or canned tuna.

5. Raw Foods

As your loved one ages, it may become more difficult for his or her body to fend off germs and bacteria. Some raw foods, like sprouts, broccoli, and alfalfa, are high in nutrients but can also be bacteria carriers. When seniors ingest these vegetables, they run the risk of getting sick.

Though your loved one may resist giving up some of his or her favorite foods, there are plenty of healthy and tasty foods to enjoy while reducing the risk of future complications. Finding the ideal diet for your loved one may be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. By choosing Home Care Assistance, a part-time caregiver in Waterloo can help him or her prepare healthy meals and even go grocery shopping to pick out the healthiest food choices. For more information on how our senior care services can help your loved one, call (519) 954-2111 to schedule a free in-home consultation.