The 2 Things You Need to Know to Prevent a Stroke

The 2 Things You Need to Know to Prevent a Stroke

Did you know that Strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in the United States? According to statistics, every 4 minutes someone in the United States dies from a stroke. That’s nearly 130,000 people.

Although this is a large number, consider the nearly 670,000 people in the United States each year that suffer from a stroke but do not die. This group of people is extremely susceptible to long term disability due to the stroke. In fact, strokes are the number one preventable cause of disability in the United States. Worldwide strokes are responsible for the loss of 44 million years of healthy life each year.

For something so avoidable, you might be wondering why the public doesn’t have a better handle on preventing strokes in the first place. The answer, like most things, is that people simply aren’t aware of the steps they need to take to prevent them. Which is why the World Stroke Organization established the World Stroke Day campaign.

The goal of this one-day campaign, which took place on Sunday October 29, was to educate communities about the dangers and symptoms of strokes by partnering with doctors and organizations globally to share a united message.

To help do our part, we thought we would share the two most important steps in helping prevent strokes:

  1. Taking Preventative Measures
  2. Understanding the Symptoms

The most important thing you can do to prevent a stroke is to avoid behaviors that are known to increase your risk for a stroke such as eating food known to increase blood pressure, smoking, and excessively drinking alcohol. Below are three additional things experts suggest you should do to lower your risk.

  1. Eat a Low Salt Diet
    Did you know that high blood pressure nearly quadruples your risk of a stroke? To keep your blood pressure at a healthy level we suggest a low-salt diet that is rich in veggies and fruits, as well as exercising regularly. If you or a loved one have been prescribed medication to help regulate your blood pressure you need to remember to take it consistently.
  2. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
    Did we mention exercise? We can’t stress this enough. Health professionals recommend aiming for at least 30 minutes of exercise-type activity five days a week. You have probably heard the old phrase “2 birds, 1 stone”, well exercising is “3 birds, 1 stone”. Not only does it increase your cardiovascular health it helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers blood pressure. All 3 of which, lower your risk of experiencing a stroke.
  3. Visit Your Doctor
    The old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” may be funny but you truly shouldn’t live by that mantra. We recommend having regular checkups with your doctor to make sure your body is working the way it should. Some health irregularities that you should keep an eye out for are: atrial fibrillation, diabetes, high cholesterol and atherosclerosis. Each of these can increase your risk of a stroke.

Even if you take all the necessary precautions to avoid a stroke, it might still happen. In that case, it is important to know the signs and symptoms leading up to and right after a stroke.

Considering that each minute a stroke goes untreated nearly 2 million brain cells die, having an awareness of prevention methods and warning signs can ultimately save the life of your elderly loved one.

The American Stroke Association recommends watching for:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arms or legs
  • Quick onset confusion, trouble speaking or difficulty understanding
  • Vision issues
  • Trouble walking, dizziness and balance issues
  • A severe headache that comes up suddenly
  • Lack of coordination

Men and women also display stroke symptoms differently. In addition to the above symptoms, women should also be cautious of sudden:

  • Hiccups
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Palpitations

Another good way to remember the warning signs of a stroke are by remembering the acronym F.A.S.T which stands for:

F- Face drooping
A- Arm Weakness
S- Speech Difficulty
T- Time to Call 911

These are just a few of the many ways you can help your elderly loved one reduce their risk of experiencing a stroke. If you would like more help, feel free to reach out to us here at Wiser Home Care Services. We can help your family establish a care plan to personally accommodate your loved one’s needs.

The Caregiver's Guide to Emotional Health and Wellness

The Caregiver’s Guide to Emotional Health and Wellness

Have you ever felt like you were getting a cold so you took a bunch of Vitamin C, Airborne supplements, or other vitamins to boost your immune system and beat the sickness?

Chances are you probably have. Because, as we all know, keeping your body in good physical health is important. This idea of maintaining good physical health is drilled into us from the day we are born.

Think about it. We are inundated with regular doctor’s appointments, entire sections of stores are devoted to health supplements, we are bombarded by pharmaceutical ads on TV to maintain good physical health, we are taught that physical exercise is critical for our health, and if we do get sick many jobs provide sick leave.

Don’t get us wrong, we think physical health is extremely important but do you know what else is equally important and receives exponentially less attention? Our emotional health and wellness! Which is why every year the entire month of October is dedicated to celebrating and raising awareness of the importance of emotional health and wellness.

As caregivers, focusing on our own mental and emotional health is critical but often overlooked. We get so overtaken but taking care of our loved ones that we forget to take care of ourselves. Even worse, we feel guilty for wanting to take time for ourselves.

We get it. We truly get how you feel, but we are here to tell you that you need to stop feeling that way. After all, if you can’t take care of yourself how can you take care of someone else?

Caregiving is emotionally draining and the longer you ignore your emotional health, the potentially more dangerous it can be for you or your loved one, but thinking of ways to mend your emotional health can be difficult. To help you, we have gathered our top 8 favorite ways to stay emotionally and mentally healthy. Keep reading. We hope you enjoy!

Get Your ZZZ’s
Have you ever gotten so tired that your brain just won’t work no matter how hard you try? Or you can’t control your emotions? If you answered yes, then you have first-hand knowledge of how important sleep is. In fact, sleep deprivation has been proven to lead to emotional instability, a compromised immune system and cognitive dysfunction. To ensure you remain emotionally and physically healthy, doctors recommend at least 7-9 hours of sleep every night for adults.

Get Social
Staying emotionally healthy isn’t always hard work. In fact, one of the most important things you can do for your emotional health is to go out and have a good time with your friends. Go to a concert, see a movie, grab dinner and drinks, just have fun with your friends. According to research, positive social interactions not only boost your mood but also challenge your brain and improve memory function.

Know the Signs of Caregiver Stress and Take a Break
Caregiving is stressful and there’s no getting around it. The important part is to beat stress before it gets out of hand. To do this, you need to have a good understanding of the signs and symptoms of caregiving stress. These include:

  • Feeling overwhelmed or constantly worried
  • Being overly tired
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Quick to anger and irritation
  • Appetite changes

When you notice any of these, we recommend taking a break from caregiving and spending some time on yourself as soon as possible.

Get Fit
Yes, we know this seems more like a way to enhance your physical health, but exercise is known to create endorphins that help increase your mood and emotional health. Find a form of physical activity you love and set fitness goals. Working towards your goals will motivate you and help you feel good emotionally and physically.

Cut out Negativity
We all know a negative Ned or Nancy. You know those people who just drag your spirit down every time you are around them. You don’t need to cut them out of your life completely but what you should do is make your time with them minimal. Their negative attitude can greatly affect your emotional health and wellness.

Find a Support Group
Having a good group of friends to go out with will be a lot of help, but it is also important to consider finding a support group of people that share the same professional experience as you. You can share stories, garner professional wisdom and get emotional support from your peers. Here’s a good list of resources to get you started.

Don’t Feel Guilty
A common misconception amongst caregivers is that it’s a bad thing to want to do stuff for yourself. We understand that doing stuff for yourself may make you feel selfish or guilty but you should put those thoughts out of your head as fast as you can. It’s ok and important for your emotional health to do so.

Ask for Help
Wiser Home Care Services understands how draining caring for a loved one can be. We strongly believe that to be an effective and patient caregiver one must take care of oneself. No matter how much we love the people we are caring for and may want to care for them, it is still necessary to have breaks.

To help alleviate the stress, Wiser Home Care Services offers in-home respite care so the family can take care of other responsibilities and obligations or just have some down time to recharge.

Wiser Home Care Services can be there overnight so you can sleep, or just a few hours a week so you can:

  • Run errands, shop or exercise
  • Spend time with friends
  • Attend meetings or activities
  • Make a doctor or hair appointment
  • Enjoy much deserved quiet time

If you care for an elderly loved one and would like help developing a care plan of any kind, please feel free to contact us. Wiser Home Care Services can help your family establish a care plan to personally accommodate your loved one’s needs and help prevent falls and fall-related injuries.

The Wiser Home Care Services Guide to Active Aging in 2017

The Wiser Home Care Services Guide to Active Aging in 2017

“I’m too old for that.”

The older we get the easier it becomes for us to mutter those 5 words. At times, the phrase is simply used as an excuse to refrain from doing something we would rather not, but there are many times that we legitimately feel like we are too old for it.

Society itself has also been guilty of perpetuating the falsehood that as we age we need to do less and are ‘limited’ in our abilities. This is often called ageism.

Fortunately, there are organizations in place that work diligently to promote active aging and squash ageism. One such organization is the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA).

The organization works tirelessly to challenge society’s “diminished expectations of aging by showing that, regardless of age or health conditions, adults over 50 can live as fully as possible in all areas of life—physical, social, spiritual, emotional, intellectual, vocational and environmental.”

In addition, they founded Active Aging Week, a weeklong campaign in September that raises awareness of the positivity of aging, was founded by the ICAA.

According to the ICAA website, the entire objective to Active Aging Week is to “give as many older adults as possible the means to experience wellness activities and exercise in a safe, supportive environment.”

Since the 2017 Active Aging Week happens to be this week, September 23-30, we thought it would be a perfect time for us to discuss Wiser Home Care Services’ top 6 ways to help your elderly loved one age actively.

Join a Senior Friendly Gym
Joining a senior friendly gym will allow your elderly loved one to remain healthy by working out in a comfortable and non-intimidating environment. Many gyms also offer senior-centered group exercise sessions that focus on senior-friendly, safe exercise. In addition to staying healthy, the gym provides a community of other seniors to spend time with.

Don’t Make a Habit of Sleeping in Too Long
We get it, your entire life you had to wake up to an alarm to go to work and now that you’re retired you want to sleep in. Sleeping in every once in a while is good but once you have caught up on your sleep you may find yourself wanting to wake up early. In retirement, you get to enjoy those early morning hours instead of rushing out the door.

Go Out and Meet People
As we age, it can sometimes become more difficult to go out and when that happens, loneliness and depression can easily strike. We urge our elderly clients to make it a point to go out and meet people. There’s many ways your elderly loved one can do this. They could join a club, go to a Bible study, frequent the local Senior Center, go to game nights, etc.

Keep Your Brain Strong
Keeping your brain active and working is an important aspect of healthy aging. You could encourage your elderly loved one to attend some college classes, join an arts program, or work on brain games. Whatever they decide, it is important to exercise that brain.

Volunteer at a Local Non-Profits
After retirement, many elderly loved ones struggle to feel like their life has meaning anymore. To combat this, we suggest finding a local non-profit that aligns with your loved one’s values and recommending that they volunteer at it.

Try Something New
It’s never too late to find a new hobby or passion in life. Trying new things will help your elderly loved one age actively, have fun and learn something in the process.

As always, if you care for a loved one, and would like help developing a care plan of any kind please feel free to contact us. We can help your family establish a care plan to personally accommodate your loved one’s needs.

10 Fun Fall Activities to Do With Your Loved One

Everyone has their own definition of when “Fall” starts. Some will say Fall starts when school starts or when the leaves start to fall on a regular basis. Others will say it ‘starts’ on September 1st, considering that’s when Starbucks starts offering Pumpkin Spice Lattes and big chain stores remove Back-to-School displays and put up Halloween displays. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, the officially recognized first day of Fall for 2017 is September 22.

That’s right, we made it! It’s officially officially Fall!

We all have our favorite seasons, and we must admit that while Summer is our personal favorite season, Fall is a close second. What is your favorite season?

According to a recent survey, it is highly likely that Fall is. In fact, the survey found that America’s favorite season is Fall, with 29% of respondents claiming that Fall is their favorite season compared to only 7% claiming Winter is their favorite season. When you consider the fact that Fall weather is cooler but not cold and still consistently dry, it really is no surprise that it is a favorite season and perhaps even the best season for outdoor activities.

So, while you pack away the tank tops and flip flops of Summer, and bring out the sweaters and closed toed shoes for Fall, we thought we would share our 10 favorite Fall activities to do with our elderly loved ones.

Decorate Your Loved One’s Living Space with Them
Decorating your elderly loved one’s house or living space with them in a fun Fall theme is a great way to make fun memories and festively liven up their living space. This is especially fun for loved ones who have trouble traveling outside of their living space but still want to be festive.

Work on a Jigsaw Puzzle
As we get later into Fall, the chances of rain will increase. Working on a Fall-themed jigsaw puzzle is a great rainy day activity that also helps the cognitive function of your loved one.

Go for a Walk
Very few things beat a walk on a nice Fall day. The variety of colors, crispness in the air and the falling leaves make for an unforgettable time.

Visit the Pumpkin Patch
This is an absolute must in the Fall time. Grab some hot cider and go pick your favorite pumpkin to carve at a local farm. If you’re lucky they may even offer hayrides making the pumpkin patch a 3 for 1: Pumpkin, Hay ride, cider!

Watch a Football Game
If you love sports, then you already know that Fall is synonymous with Football season and Football season is synonymous with Tailgating Season! Many high schools play under the lights on Friday, or you could go watch a Semi-Pro or even Pro NFL game with your elderly loved one.

Go Leaf Hunting
With all the colors of the falling leaves, Fall is a great time to take your loved one leaf hunting for some Fall foliage. The bounty from this hunting expedition can be used to make cool Fall crafts.

Do Some Fall Crafts
Another great rainy day activity is to do some Fall crafts. You could press Fall leaves, make a Fall centerpiece, paint or draw a Fall landscape and even more. Visit our Pinterest page for some fun ideas.

Bake Some Fall Food
Fall food is some of the best. You’ve got Apple and Pumpkin pie, candy apples, butternut squash soup, fresh priced cider, pumpkin bread, chili and more. Not only will eating the food be fun but spending time cooking it with your loved one will make some great memories.

Watch a Fall Movie
With Halloween around the corner, it is the perfect time to watch your loved one’s favorite scary movie. If they aren’t into horror films, there are a lot of Fall movies outside of that genre as well.

Go to a Bon Fire
Crisp fall nights are perfect for a nice bon fire and stories around the fire. You never know what you might learn from your loved one during a chat around the fire.

Whatever Fall activity you decide to do with your elderly loved one, Wiser Home Care Services can help. If you care for a loved one and would like help developing a care plan of any kind please feel free to contact us. We can help your family establish a care plan to personally accommodate your loved one’s needs.

How To Help Your Loved One Overcome Grief

Have you ever thought about the fact that once we are born we start dying? In fact, every day brings us closer to death. We aren’t trying to be morbid, it really is an odd thing to think about and it is often a sad or scary thing to talk about as well.

When we are young, death isn’t as common but the older we get, the more death we end up facing. Each loss brings pain, and it never gets easier to deal with the emotional toil and grief we face when loved one’s are taken from us.

The void the death of a loved one brings affects everyone differently, and therefore everyone’s grieving process tends to be different. Because of this, Angie Cartwright founded National Grief Awareness Day in 2014. Cartwright’s goal in founding the day was to highlight the fact that the time it takes to heal from loss doesn’t have a prescribed course, and closure comes in many forms.

Since National Grief Awareness Day is this Wednesday, we wanted to take some time to share our expertise on what to expect, and some great ways to help an elderly loved one grieve in a healthy manner.

The Basics
Whether the death came unexpectedly or not, the initial shock is painful. Having to deal with all the legal and traditional things such as a will, funeral planning, medical bills, etc. can be stressful and make it difficult for one to grieve right away. In this time, it is important to physically be there for your loved one. You can help by providing logistical support and helping with tasks associated with planning the funeral. In addition, the American Hospice Association suggests that you help by:

  • Attending to physical needs
  • Listen to them and encourage them to talk about the lost loved one
  • Make sure they get any medical care they need
  • Be patient with their grieving process
  • Remember and acknowledge important dates and anniversaries

Grief Takes Time
As we mentioned in “The Basics”, there is so much to do immediately following a death, that it is entirely possible the grief will be delayed until after everything has been completed. Remain patient, helpful and vigilant. Once the grief sets in, be there for them and do not expect it to take any certain period of time. Sometimes grief stays around for weeks, months and even years.

Keep an Eye on Their Health
Grieving is stressful. Due to the increase in stress, your loved one may experience other health issues such as colds, lingering illnesses or flare-ups of existing conditions. Keep an eye on this and remind them to visit the doctor on a regular, as-needed basis to ensure they get the treatment they need to stay healthy.

Prepare to Ride the Emotional Roller Coaster
Grief can present itself in a plethora of emotions including anger, longing, relief, guilt, regret, depression, panic and even hysteria. Whatever the emotion is, just remember that this is a normal part of grieving.

The Aftershock
The months after a loss can be particularly difficult for a grieving loved one. With their mind on the grief, it is common for them to become forgetful and disorganized leading to missed appointments, lost keys, leaving things unfinished, etc. In addition, they may find it hard to concentrate on tasks or lose interest or motivation in tasks altogether. Do not fret, simply be there for thing during this time and let them express their feelings and remind them to be careful and stay vigilant during potentially dangerous activities such as lawn maintenance and driving.

So, when should you start to worry? If they start talking about hurting themselves or drinking excessively or taking drugs.

A dose of Exercise and Food
Grief can physically drain your health and happiness. Make sure your elderly loved one is eating an appropriate amount of food and getting regular exercise. If you live close by, it may be helpful to eat a couple meals a week with them and plan walks around the neighborhood, park or mall. The company and exercise will help get their mind on positive things as well as produce much needed endorphins.

Plan Fun Things
When you or a loved one is grieving, it can help to plan fun things to do on a regular basis. Having fun things to look forward to in this difficult time will encourage the grieving one to keep pushing forward and remind them that there is still happiness in life.

Take Care of Yourself
We have talked a lot about your elderly loved one in this blog, and rightly so. After all, they did lose a spouse. However, you also lost someone close to you. You need to make sure that you take the time to grieve properly as well. All the above-mentioned tips are perfect for you as well.

Consider Companion Care
We know that if you could, you would love to be there for your loved one all the time. Unfortunately, that isn’t possible. Which is why Wiser Home Care offers Companion Care Services.

Companion care caregivers provide the interaction seniors need to help make them feel connected. Wiser Home Care Services has wonderful companion care caregivers that are there for conversation, able to take seniors to social outings, run errands, and participate in activities as well as do light house duties. Companion care can provide the support needed for seniors to live safely at home.

If you care for an elderly loved one who is in the process of grieving, please feel free to contact us. We can help your family establish a care plan to personally accommodate your loved one’s needs.

6 Things to Consider Before Getting Your Elderly Loved One a Pet

Famed American actor Robert Wagner hit the nail on the head when he said, “Pets have more love and compassion in them than most humans.” In addition to their unconditional love and compassion, their loyalty, undying gratitude and cuddly nature are key reasons why pets make great companions for people of all ages. Especially the elderly.

In fact, pets not only help seniors with loneliness and depression, a study conducted in Australia found that senior citizen pet owners had “significantly lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels, as well as lower systolic blood pressure readings than non-pet owners.”

We love animals of all kinds, but dogs hold a special place in our heart. After all, they are “man’s best friend”, and we personally take that to mean all of humankind, not just men.

Since July is host to one of the two annual National Mutt Days, we thought it would be a good time to discuss pets and how to find the best dog for your elderly loved one.

So, what is National Mutt Day?
National Mutt Day was founded by Animal Welfare Advocate Colleen Paige in 2005 to encourage the American population to “embrace, save and celebrate mixed breed dogs.” As mentioned earlier, National Mutt Day is celebrated twice a year on July 31 and December 2. On these days, celebrators are urged to visit dog rescue shelters and adopt a mutt, or at the very least volunteer their time.

Now that you have an idea of what National Mutt Day is. Let’s explore some things you need to consider when picking a pet for your elderly loved one:

Breed
To be honest, unless you have very specific needs for your pet i.e. service animal, hunting, competition, etc., the breed of animal does not really matter. Animals, just like humans, all have unique personalities. Instead of looking for a specific breed, we suggest looking for an animal that best aligns with your elderly loved one’s needs and personality.

Animal Age
Considering the animal’s age and level of training is important. A puppy or young animal may be full of energy and lack house training. For an elderly loved one, having a young animal could do more harm than good. On the opposite end of the spectrum are senior animals. This could be a great option for your loved one, but you will want to make sure they are healthy and will not cost your loved one excessive vet bills.

Elderly Loved One’s Energy Level
You will want to consider your elderly loved one’s average energy level when choosing a pet. If they enjoy being on the go and going for walks, hikes and spending time outdoors then a dog with a moderate energy level will be perfect for them. However, if they have a more sedentary lifestyle then you will want to find an animal that enjoys relaxing for long periods of time.

What are the grooming/health needs
When finding an animal you will want to consider what the grooming and health needs are for that particular breed. Since elderly loved ones are typically on a fixed income, having an animal that requires regular grooming or vet visits would not be a good choice.

Training Level
We touched on this a little bit in our age section. You will need to know what the animals training level is. Have they been house trained, kennel trained, obedient, trained to refrain from jumping or chewing? What are their bad habits? Knowing all of this will help you make the best decision for your elderly loved one’s pet.

Finally, what is the succession plan?
No one really likes to talk about it, but it is important to consider what will happen to the pet if your elderly loved one dies or is hospitalized for any sort of time. Having a succession plan will help reduce your elderly loved one’s anxiety regarding it and will ensure the safety and needs of the pet are met.

As always, if you care for an elderly loved one and would like help developing a care plan of any kind please feel free to contact us. Wiser Home Care Services can help your family establish a care plan to personally accommodate your loved one’s needs.

7 of the Best Grilling Recipes on the Internet

With an estimated 87% of all Americans firing up the grill on July 4th, it officially marked Independence Day as the Number 1 grilling holiday of the year. Considering this, it may come as no surprise that July is also host to National Grilling Month, a month-long celebration of the history and practice of grilling.

Since we love grilling so much to begin with, and to celebrate National Grilling Month, last week we began a 2-part mini-series surrounding the topic of grilling. Our first blog on the matter discussed our Top 5 grilling safety tips and can be found here.

This week, as we wrap up our mini-series we are going to take a fun break from the safety-centered blogs we typically write and share our top 7 internet grilling recipes.

But, before we jump into our favorite grilling recipes from the internet we thought it would be fun to share some fun grilling statistics:

  • A whopping 3 out of every 4 people in America own a grill.
  • 1 million people in America have grilled within the last 12 months.
  • 5 percent of Americans grill more than once a week.
  • In 22 percent of grilling households, the grill master is female.
  • The most popular food to grill is hamburgers which tops the list with 63 percent of grillers cooking burgers.
  • 11 percent of grillers prepare breakfast on the grill.

With the numbers behind us, let’s get to the meat of this article: our favorite internet grilling recipes. (Pun intended)

Warning: Reading beyond this point will make your mouth water.

Grilled Chicken Tacos with Avocado Crema
Tacos, avocados, grilling. 3 of our favorite things combined. Not to mention a start to finish time of only 35 minutes! Check out the recipe from Delish.com here.

Balsamic Grilled Chicken and Zucchini
We love marinated chicken, and when you add fresh veggies to the plate we are completely sold. Check out this 11 ingredient meal of champions at Delish.com.

Hawaiian Chicken and Pineapple Skewers
The jury may still be deliberating on if pineapple should be allowed on pizza, but everyone can agree Hawaiian Chicken and Pineapple Skewers are the reasons Luaus are so popular. Find the whole recipe here.

Grilled Artichokes & Polenta
Not all grilling has to involve meat, if you’d prefer veggies, check out this delicious recipe for grilled artichokes and polenta from the Feasting At Home blog.

Grilled Watermelon with Smoked Salt Jalapeño Wings
This one is for those who love the ultimate sweet and spicy! With only 4 ingredients and a cook time of under 10 minutes this one is a winner. You can find it here.

Grilled London Broil
No grilling recipe list is complete without at least one steak recipe. Even though it takes over 2 hours from start to finish, the finished product is well worth the wait. You can find the recipe here at the Spicy Southern Kitchen Blog.

Campfire Grilled S’more Calzone
Topping off our list of favorite grilling recipes from the internet is this chocolatey s’more rendition. Even if you aren’t typically a s’mores fan, you will want to give this recipe a shot. Find it here.

We hope that our mini-series has motivated you to get outside and safely grill up some of your favorite recipes with your elderly loved one. We are always looking for new recipes to try, and would love to hear from you.

Send us your favorite grilling recipe at wisercareservices@gmail.com.

Happy grilling!

Wiser Home Care’s Top 5 Grilling Safety Tips

Off the top of our head we could name over 10 reasons why Summer is the best season of the year. Topping this list would be beach days, increased outdoor activities, and of course grilling!

We mean, who doesn’t love standing on the patio with a cold beverage and some delicious food cooking on the grill? The sizzle of the food, beautiful aroma of grilled goods and smoke pouring out of the barbecue screams “It’s Summertime” at the top of its lungs.

Being July, we are smackdab in the middle of grilling season and coincidentally also National Grilling Month. That’s right, July is officially considered nationwide as the “Grilling Month”.

But why is July National Grilling Month and May National Barbecuing Month; Aren’t they the same thing?

This is a good question and the answer is no. They are not the same thing. In a recent blog post, Culinary Manager Nick Wellhausen explains that barbecuing is “the act of cooking over low to moderate heat for an extended amount of time” and grilling is defined as the “art of cooking something on a grill quickly and directly over a high flame.”

We have been taking full advantage of the great weather, and celebrating National Grilling Month by grilling up some of our favorite recipes lately. To ensure you and your elderly loved one have a chance to enjoy National Grilling Month as much as we have, we are going to do a 2-part series on grilling.

This week on our 2-part series we are going to discuss grilling safety and tips, then we will wrap up our mini-series next week with our favorite grilling recipes and food safety tips.

Grilling Safety Tips

Tip 1: Grill Location
Making sure your grill is in a safe location is critical. You will want to make sure it is a safe distance away from your place of residence, is not located under any trees or eaves, and not on a wooden deck. Experts recommend a distance of 25 feet between the grill and your house.

Tip 2: Never Leave Your Grill Unattended
An accident can happen in the blink of an eye. Make sure you have all the things you need to grill before your start it up. Once the grill is lit never leave it unattended. A child or pet could easily wander up to it and knock it over or even worse, get burned.

Tip 3: Always Have a Fire Extinguisher Handy
The combination of gas, fire and grease can be a deadly one and it doesn’t take much for a grill to quickly become out of control. In case of emergency make sure you have a fire extinguisher close and you know how to use it. Also, never throw water on a grease fire. It will make it worse.

Tip 4: Grill Maintenance
Make sure you keep your grill clean by removing any grease or fat buildup to reduce your risk of grease fire. If you use a gas grill, check the gas line to make sure there are no cracks or fuel leaks in them.

Tip 5 Charcoal Grills
If you use a charcoal grill there are a couple additional safety measures you can take. First, you will want to make sure your charcoal is ready to use. If you use starter fluid, make sure it is “Charcoal Specific” starter fluid. Another way to light the charcoal is with an electric starter. For this method, use an extension cord. Finally, when you are done grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing of them.

We hope this simple list of 5 grilling safety tips keeps you and your elderly loved one safe as you grill this summer and beyond.

Happy Grilling!

8 Ways to Keep Your Elderly Loved One Safe This Summer

Life is pretty good right now in the Pacific Northwest. School is out for the year; the sun has come out to stay for a while and everyone is happy. Summer has officially arrived!

We are just a little bit excited. After all, we have had to live through months of rain and cold weather to get to this point. If you’re anything like us, then you likely have Summer activities planned every weekend from here until Labor Day.

However, with all the fun in the sun planned, the Summer weather and increased outdoor activity can pose significant health and safety risks for your elderly loved one.

As a matter of fact, statistics show that high summer temperatures can increase the risk of death for people who suffer from chronic lung disease, diabetes, heart attack sufferers and heart failure sufferers. In addition, researchers found that mortality risk for those aged 65 and older increases slightly during the summer.

Fortunately, with the proper knowledge of what to look for and how to remedy it, you can ensure your loved one stays safe during these hot months. Below you will find 8 ways to help your elderly loved one have a safe, fun and memorable Summer.

Dress for Success
As in any season, dressing appropriately for the weather during the Summer is critical. We suggest wearing clothing that fits loosely and is light in weight and color. The darker the color, the more it soaks up the heat. In addition, wearing full coverage hats and sunglasses that block out UVA and UVB rays can keep your head and eyes safe from the rays.

Lather on the SPF
Whether its cloudy or hot with clear skies, whenever your elderly loved one ventures outdoors make sure you have them apply sunscreen to their skin. This prevents them from burning and harming their skin. Experts recommend opting for sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30 or higher.

Drink the Right Liquids
Staying hydrated in the Summer could mean the difference between a good time and a hospital visit, and not all liquids are created equal. During the hot summer months, you will want to limit the amount of alcohol and caffeine your loved one drinks because they accelerate dehydration. Your loved one should aim to drink 8 or more 8 ounce glasses of water or juice each day. Finally, since your body is losing sodium and potassium through sweating it is good to drink sports drinks such as Gatorade and Powerade to stave off dehydration.

Enjoy the Cool of the Day
Everyone loves the Summer because the good weather makes getting outside for activities that much more enjoyable. However, during periods of extreme heat you should plan your outdoor activities/chores for early in the morning or in the evening once the temperature cools off. As a matter of fact, many recommend staying out of direct sunlight during the peak hours of 10 am- 3 pm.

Huddle Around the Air Conditioning Unit
Ok, so you don’t really have to huddle around it, but we do recommend spending Summer days with extreme heat in a cool, air conditioned building. Fans will work good as long as the building temperature does not exceed 85 degrees. If you do not have an air conditioning unit and your building is uncomfortably hot, there are many public buildings that have air conditioning including libraries, malls and community centers to name a few.

Check Your Medicine
Many elderly loved ones take daily medication. Since there are some medicines with side effects that include increased sensitivity to sunlight, it is important to check your medications. If your loved one does take a medicine with that side effect, consult a doctor to see what their options are.

Don’t Forget the Bug Spray
As we all know, Summer is synonymous with mosquito season. Not only are bug bites annoying, elderly loved ones are more susceptible to contracting diseases such as West Nile Virus. So, before your elderly loved one treks outside, make sure they spray on some insect repellant.

Know the Signs of Heat Stroke/Exhaustion
If your loved one spends extended periods of time in the heat, please be aware of the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If you would like to know more about heat exhaustion you can read our blog regarding the topic here: Heat Illness.

Finally, if you care for an elderly loved one and would like help developing a care plan of any kind please feel free to contact us. Wiser Home Care Services can help your family establish a care plan to personally accommodate your loved one’s needs.

The Ultimate Father’s Day Blog: Dad Facts, Dad Jokes and Dad Gifts

Perhaps it’s their dry sense of humor, outdated sense of fashion or lackadaisical parenting styles, whatever it is, Dad’s seem to be the butt of many jokes. In fact, there are entire websites and blogs devoted to ‘Dad’ jokes.

Despite this, there’s no denying that we love our dads, which is why this Sunday is devoted completely to celebrating them. That’s right. Father’s Day is right around the corner.

To celebrate our dads, we thought it would be fun to devote this blog entirely to Fun Dad Facts, some good Dad-approved jokes and a few ideas of what to get your dad this Father’s Day.

Let’s get started with some Fun Dad Facts. Did you know…

  • Stay-at-home dads are one of the fastest growing groups in America with 214,000 and counting.
  • Giving dad a necktie is the most popular gift of all time.
  • Father’s Day is the busiest day of the year for collect phone calls.
  • A. Milne created Winnie the Pooh for his son, Christopher Robin.
  • 87 million cards are sent each year in the name of Father’s Day, which makes it the fourth-largest greeting card holiday.
  • The oldest father of a newborn was age 94 when his daughter was born.
  • Male seahorses carry the babies in eggs in a bodily pouch until they are fully developed.
  • Roses are the official flower of Father’s Day

We must admit, before this blog we didn’t know many of these facts either. They are pretty cool, huh?

So, who’s ready for some Dad-approved humor? AKA Dad Jokes. We sure are. Below are some of our favorites:

  1. How many apples grow on a tree? All of them.
  2. Why did the coffee file a police report? It got mugged.
  3. Why did the scarecrow win an award? He was outstanding in his field.
  4. Why couldn’t the bicycle stand up by itself? It was two tired.
  5. The shovel was a ground-breaking invention.
  6. Two goldfish are in a tank. One says to the other, “do you know how to drive this thing?”
  7. What time did the man go to the dentist? Tooth hurty
  8. A ham sandwich walks into a bar and orders a beer. Bartender says, “Sorry, we don’t serve food here.”
  9. Why do chicken coops only have two doors? Because if they had four, they would be chicken sedans.
  10. What’s Forrest Gump’s password? 1forrest1

We hope you got as much of a kick out of those jokes as we did. Don’t forget to share them with dad. We are sure he will love them.

On to the finale: The Father’s Day gift. This is the tough part. Buying gifts for our aging loved one’s can be difficult because they tend to be more interested in comfortable, practical gifts that improve their quality of life rather than gifts of grandeur.

To help you find the right gift, we have gathered several ideas below:

Hire a groundskeeper or do his chores for him
Dads are often in charge of maintaining the lawn, fixing the house and cleaning the outside. However, as we age this can become increasingly more difficult and dangerous. Hiring a helping hand for your dad would bless him greatly and keep him safe.

Go with the Gift Card
Living the retired life can be nice but being on a fixed income could cause loved ones to stress. This often leads to them only investing in necessities rather than wants. Treat your dad with a gift card to his favorite restaurant, store, sports team game or golf course. This will ensure that dad enjoys some financial-stress-free leisure.

Have a Nice Trip, See You Next Fall.
It’s always fun to look in old family albums and take a trip down memory lane. Take it one step further this year and plan a road trip to your father’s old stomping grounds. Not only will he love getting away for a while but the memories made on road trips last a lifetime and the nostalgia will create a perma-grin on your father’s face.

Go with the Cable Sports Package
If your dad loves sports, purchase him a year subscription to the upgraded cable tv sports package. Now he can watch all his favorite teams from the comfort of his living room.

Subscription to Ancestry.com
As we age, we tend to become more and more interested in our family’s history. Investing in a subscription to Ancestry.com will help your dad track the family tree and he may even learn some interesting facts about your family in the process.

Invest in Companion Care
Whether your dad is sick and in need of help, or simply lives alone and would love some company, Wiser Home Care Services provides companion care. Our base level of companion services includes a variety of help from laundry, errand services, and daily check-in to other basic services that make living at home easier.

We hope these ideas inspire you to give your dad the best Father’s Day he would never ask for.

From all of us here at Wiser Home Care Services: Happy Father’s Day.