The Wiser Home Care Guide to Preventing Strokes

Did you know that in the United States someone has a stroke every 40 seconds? That adds up to more than 788,000 stroke victims each year. What’s more is that 80% of strokes are preventable.

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.

This is why in May of 1989 President George H. W. Bush signed the Presidential Proclamation 5975 declaring May as National Stroke Awareness Month. Each May since that year, the government, National Stroke Association, American Heart Association and several non-profits combine efforts to raise awareness of the deadly force of strokes.

There are two main steps to helping prevent strokes:

  1. You should know the preventative measures one can take to lower their risk
  2. You must understand the symptoms

Over the next few paragraphs we will discuss each one of these steps in detail. Keep reading and you could potentially save a life!

Preventative Measures You Can Take
As we mentioned earlier, statistics have found that 80% of strokes that occur are completely preventable. So why aren’t they being prevented? The answer is: lack of knowledge regarding the correct steps one should take.

Below are four things experts suggest you can do to lower you or your loved one’s risk of experiencing a stroke.

  1. Keep Your Blood Pressure at a Health Level
    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. Moderate Alcohol Consumption
    Unlike smoking, which you should quit immediately, it is ok to drink alcoholic beverages– just in moderation. Just make sure you watch your portions. If you do decide to keep drinking, make red wine your first choice, as it is the healthiest option.
  4. 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.

Now that you know some of the steps you can take to lower your risk of a stroke, it is equally as important to understand what the possible symptoms are that lead to 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.

So, what are some of the symptoms of a stroke?
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.

Forget the Flowers This Mother’s Day. We Know Exactly What She Wants.

“The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.” – Honore de Balzac

What more can be said about our amazing mothers? They have known us the longest, changed our diapers and put up with us in our teen years and they still love us. We truly owe them our life.

After all they have done for us, doesn’t it seem like a single day of celebration is not enough? We certainly feel that way. With that being said, some of you may be feeling the pressure to make the one ‘official’ day that they have the best it can be. So, what can you do to make your mother’s special day the best it possibly can be?

Keep reading to find out…

What if she already has it, or what if she doesn’t like it? Is it good enough? These are valid questions that make finding the perfect present for mom difficult. Over our years of caregiving experience we have learned a lot about what our elderly loved one’s like. Below are some ideas to get you started.

Digitize Their Albums
Our elderly loved ones often have hundreds if not thousands of photos of years past in albums or simply laying around. As a gift, you could scan these onto a computer, zip drive or the cloud. This way they will be safe for years to come and will be easily accessible to view.

The Gamer
We all know our elderly loved ones enjoy playing card games and board games, but did you know that playing video games has recently become a popular trend for the elderly? It might be out of the ordinary but grandma may love a new gaming system. Video games are not only a great way to pass the time but give our senior loved ones a good brain and body workout, which can also help fight dementia.

Do the Robot
No one likes cleaning, but as we age cleaning is not only a despised chore it can become a difficult one as well. Grandma will be doing the happy robot dance if you invest in a Roomba for her. If you don’t know what a Roomba is, you can check out their website here:

Help Grandma Set the Mood Safely
Did you know that loved ones over the age of 85 have the highest fire death and injury rates of any age group? Keep grandma safe by investing in some flameless candles. They give off the same amount of light but keep grandma safe in the process.

The Gift of Food
Everyone loves food and most can agree that having someone cook for you is a nice break from the norm. Whether you buy grandma a monthly subscription to a food service or you cook her several meals that can be frozen and eaten later, she will love them.

Be Her Technology Guide
Does grandma have a DVR, tablet, smartphone, computer or a social media account? Modern technology is amazing, but can be difficult and frustrating for elderly loved ones to teach themselves how to use. Instead of buying grandma something, spend some time with her and teach her how to use it properly. You could even help them set it up with fun and helpful apps or games for them to use.

Although getting a gift is always nice, we can guarantee you that your elderly loved one would almost certainly rather spend time with you. Below we have gathered some fun Mother’s Day activities you could do with your mom or grandma.

  1. Take her out to eat at her favorite restaurant.
  2. Find a local garden and take her for a stroll through it to check out the flowers.
  3. Is she a sports fan? Find a local sporting event to attend.
  4. If she is religious, join her for her weekend service.
  5. Everyone loves shopping. Take her out to the mall and let her pick something out.
  6. Relax and watch her favorite movie or tv show with her.
  7. Have a board game tournament.
  8. Bake or cook together.

We hope these ideas help you create the most memorable Mother’s Day for your mom. From all of us here at Wiser Home Care Services, Happy Mother’s Day.

The Comprehensive 2017 Guide to Reducing Elderly Stress

Ben Franklin put it best when he said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Fortunately, we can all say we made it through another year of taxes. However, we certainly took our hits from tax season, especially in the form of stress.

Many experts claim the holidays is when stress peaks for most of us, but we believe tax season comes in a close second. In fact, tax season has become so synonymous with stress that the Health Resource Network officially declared the month of April to be National Stress Awareness Month.

This year marks the 25th annual 30-day Stress Awareness campaign in which health professionals across the country team together to educate people nationwide on “the dangers of, proven strategies for managing, and widespread misconceptions about stress.”

Before we discuss these proven strategies for managing stress, let’s look at some of the numbers regarding the prevalence of stress. According to statistics cited on statisticbrain.com, 77% of Americans regularly experience physical symptoms of stress, while 73% regularly experience psychological symptoms of stress.

Furthermore, stress is the basic cause of 60% percent of illness, and 3 out of 4 doctor’s visits are due to stress related symptoms. Perhaps scariest of all though is that stress increases your loved one’s risk of a heart attack by 25%, heart disease by 40% and a stroke by 50%.

Understanding what causes stress and how stress will affect your elderly loved one are the first two things you need to know to successfully help your loved one minimize their stress.

What Causes Elderly Loved Ones to Experience Stress?
People who suffer from stress often cite job pressure, health, money and relationships as the main causes of their stress. For our elderly loved ones, research has shown that the following are leading causes of stress:

  • Weakening family bond or relationship
  • Financial insecurity
  • Poor health and nutrition
  • Lack of rest
  • Social environment

How Will Stress Affect Your Elderly Loved One?
Although stress affects us all differently there are some specific trends appearing in how it affects our elderly loved ones. Some of these commonly seen effects of stress on elderly are:

  • Damage to brain cells which increases risk of depression
  • Moodiness
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced immune-system strength
  • Increased consumption of alcohol
  • Loss of memory or concentration

Now that you understand the potential causes and effects of stress on your elderly loved one, we have gathered 5 great ways to help your elderly loved one minimize stress in their life.

  1. Find short term solutions- Often senior stress is caused by all the looming changes they are experiencing. Have your elder write down their worries and take a little time each day to figure out a short-term solution. Remember: It doesn’t matter how many steps it takes to get to where you want, as long as you get there.
  2. Turn off the TV and pick up a book- Increased media time, especially news channels, is linked to increased stress and trouble sleeping. Encourage your elderly loved one to spend time reading a positive book or poem rather than watching tv. Chicken Soup for the Soul is a great pick-me-up series.
  3. Meditate and Practice Breathing- Learning how to calm oneself through meditation and slow, deep breathing is proven to be a great way to reduce stress. Set aside time each morning for your senior to sit, close their eyes, and meditate on positive phrases. Having them say the phrases aloud and repeat them is another great way to instill stress-reducing habits.
  4. Spend time with a Pet- There’s just something special about playing with, petting or snuggling an animal. It is cathartic and stress relieving. In fact, many communities have visiting pet programs in which volunteers bring pets to senior homes to provide companionship for elderly loved ones.
  5. Get outside and be active- Not only will being active increase the overall health of your elderly loved one. The endorphins released during exercise are known to help increase happiness and decrease stress.

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

Hosting A Senior Loved One For Easter? You’ll Want to Read This

In just a few short days, the ‘Easter Bunny’ will hop all over the world delivering chocolate, eggs and toys to kids and adults around the world. Ok, so we all know it isn’t really the Easter Bunny, but we still love to pretend it is. After all, that’s what makes these holidays so much fun.

Personally, we look forward to chocolate bunnies the most in our Easter Basket. Which, according to statistics, are one of the most popular food items to receive on Easter. In fact, 70% of the candy purchased for Easter is in the form of Chocolate.

Don’t let that fool you though, there’s a lot of other candy being consumed on this Spring Holiday. Check out these Easter Fun Food Facts:

  • 16 Billion- The number of Jelly Beans made for Easter
  • 120 Million- The number of pounds of Easter candy purchased annually
  • 90 Million- The number of Chocolate bunnies made for Easter
  • 9 Billion- The total amount spent on Easter food and candy annually
  • 5 Billion- The amount of Marshmallow peeps consumed around Easter
  • 89% – The amount of people who say chocolate bunnies should be eaten by the ears first
  • 1873- The year the first chocolate egg was produced

While the getting candy part of Easter is fun, the most important part of Easter is spending it with the ones you love. We put together some quick tips to ensure you enjoy a safe and fun Easter with your elderly loved one.

You don’t want to miss these. Keep reading —>

Is it Lunch time yet?
With all the excitement of Easter, it may be exhausting for your elderly loved one. Make sure you plan your Easter meal and festivities around their normal eating schedule. In addition, if they feel exhausted find a nice, quiet area for them to relax and possibly nap in.

What’s on the Menu
It’s a holiday, calories and junk food don’t count, right? Wrong. It’s ok to splurge a little, but you will want to make sure there are healthy items on your menu that your elderly loved one typically eats. In addition, make sure you follow any dietary restrictions your elderly loved one may have.

Use the Buddy System
If there are a lot of people at your Easter Celebration, assign someone your elderly loved one is comfortable with to be their companion for the event. Often, big events can be overwhelming for loved ones if they don’t know many people. Having a companion to spend the event with and talk to will ease any anxiety they may be feeling.

Be Vigilant
It’s important to be aware of things your loved one may need such as a bathroom break, nap, a more comfortable chair, something to drink, fresh air. Whatever it may be, staying on top of your loved one’s needs will ensure a safe and fun Easter celebration.

Chug, Chug, Chug Water
With all the rich food, staying hydrated throughout the day is an important key to a safe Easter celebration. We suggest keeping a bottle of water in an easily accessible location for them such as a hand bag.

Make Your Home Senior Friendly
If you are hosting your loved one for the Easter celebration, keep their safety and comfort in mind. Pick up clutter that might make them fall and fix any rugs that could increase the risk of a slip and fall.

Take a Walk
If your elderly loved one can, a good walk after a large Easter dinner will help the food settle and be a nice break.

As always, Wiser Home Care is here to help you with whatever you need, even your Easter Celebration. From providing care to developing an extensive care plan for your loved one, and everything in between, we are happy to help. Please contact us, and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Can You Really Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes?

Although Diabetes was a prevalent issue long before the popular 2009 commercial with Wilford Bradley aired, the commercial captured the American audience and truly opened their eyes to the risks associated with Diabetes. Many accredit the commercial’s success to its timely message and somewhat humorous pronunciation of the word Diabetes.

Despite the commercial’s subtly humorous approach, Diabetes is truly no laughing matter. Even though the disease can easily be prevented, it is the 7th leading cause of death in America with nearly 70,000 deaths annually directly attributed to the disease and more than 230,000 deaths with diabetes as an underlying cause.

According to the American Diabetes Association, there are approximately 29.1 million people living with Diabetes and an additional 1.4 million cases will be diagnosed this year in America alone.

Considering these staggering statistics, the American Diabetes Association established its National Alert Day in 1986. This day, which takes place on the 4th Tuesday in March each year, is used to educate and raise awareness of diabetes and the steps you can take to prevent you and your loved one from getting Diabetes.

Joining with the ADA to raise awareness of Diabetes, you will find six ways to reduce you or your loved one’s risk of experiencing diabetes below:

Get Your Fiber
Whether you take a fiber supplement or you fill your diet with foods high in fiber, make sure you are getting plenty of fiber. A healthy diet of fiber will allow you to control your blood sugar, effectively reducing your risk of diabetes. Some foods high in fiber are as follows:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Beans
  • Whole Grains
  • Nuts

Fast! Get Rid of the Fast Food
Fast food and convenient meals are full of processed food, sugar, fat and salt. All of these will raise your blood pressure and increase your risk of diabetes. If you have trouble figuring out what to cook, we suggest subscribing to meal services like Blue Apron. These services will ship you healthy ingredients for home cooked meals in the correct portion sizes.

It’s Time to Cut
If you have extra body weight you are carrying around, now would be a good time to focus on losing it. Some studies have found that if you lose just 7% of your unhealthy weight, you can decrease your chances of diabetes by up to 60%. If you don’t know if you are in the right weight range for your height, check out the Body Mass Index (BMI). Ideally, you should have a BMI in the 18.5-24.9 range. You can check yours here: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm

Limit Your Alcohol and Smoking
We know we say this almost every blog, but we are serious. These vices truly are bad for your health. You don’t necessarily have to give them up completely, but the less you smoke and drink the easier it will be to keep your risk of diabetes to a minimum. Experts recommend no more than 2 regular alcoholic beverages a day for men, and no more than 1 for women.

Screen Yourself for Diabetes
Life! Is an Australian Health Service that provides an online evaluation of your Diabetes Risk. By answering this assessment honestly, you will find out how high of a risk you are at for developing Type 2 Diabetes. You can find the assessment here: http://www.lifeprogram.org.au

Be on a First Name Basis with Your Doctor
Ok, so you really don’t have to be on a first name basis, but you should schedule regular checkups with your doctor. As we age, our bodies can change for the negative fast if we don’t stay on top of them. During these visits, your doctor should blood glucose, blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels.

As always, Wiser Home Care is here to help you with whatever you need. From providing care to developing an extensive care plan for your loved one, and everything in between, we are happy to help. Please contact us, and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

7 Simple Ways to Beat Daylight Savings Time

It only happens twice a year, and this time we are on the losing end of the battle. However, if you live Arizona and Hawaii, you never have to worry about it. You may be wondering what we are talking about … its daylight savings time of course.

As if coming back to work after a fun-filled weekend isn’t tough enough, this Sunday at 2 A.M. the clocks all rolled forward an hour. This time change often feels like we are losing an hour of sleep and the side-effects can sometimes be dangerous. In fact, research has found that car accidents, strokes and heart attacks all spike in the days after the Daylight Savings Time change. In addition, the time change is also linked to increased workplace injuries, increased web surfing, restless sleep and increased occurrences of cluster headaches.

We have gathered 7 simple tips to ensure you and your loved one experience a safe time change transition this year.

Start the Transition Early
Part of what makes daylight savings time so tough is that we “lose” an hour of sleep over the course of 1 day. Adjusting your sleep schedule takes time. You should start by going to bed 15 minutes earlier each night the week before the change.

Sleep Like a Toddler
Just like a toddler, if you feel tired during the day, give yourself the ok to take a quick powernap. When we say quick, we mean it. Anything over 20 minutes will make it worse.

Did we mention prioritize sleep?
You might be getting tired of us talking about sleep, but it really is that important during the time change. Listen to your body. Make sure you get 7-8 hours of consistent sleep.

Eat Dinner Early
What and when we eat truly affects how we sleep. To make sure you get a good night’s sleep, you should eat at least 2-3 hours before you plan on going to bed. You will also want to make sure that the meal isn’t too heavy.

Watch What You Drink
Until your body gets used to the time change transition you should be careful about what you drink. Too much caffeine too late in the day could affect the quality and quantity of your sleep. In addition to coffee, you will also want to avoid alcohol as well.

Raise Your Heartbeat
Getting out for some exercise is a great way to increase serotonin in your body. This natural chemical helps your body adjust to the time change. However, you will want to make sure you aren’t working out too late in the evening as this could affect your sleep negatively. 

Relax Before You Shut Your Eyes
Before you finally turn in for the night run yourself a nice warm bath, listen to some soothing music and maybe read a good book or magazine. Experts do warn about staying away from screens right before bed, since they also affect your sleep.

As always, Wiser Home Care is here to help you with whatever you need, even if it means helping you get used to the time change. From providing care to developing an extensive care plan for your loved one, and everything in between, we are happy to help. Please contact us, and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

5 Simple Steps to Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease

When people think of the month of February, they typically think of 2 things. Generally, they think about the fact that it is the shortest month of the year, but most of all they think of Valentines, love and their significant others. These thoughts of love are further fueled by the plethora of heart-shaped decorations, chocolate and jewelry that adorn stores and advertisements.

Because everyone is already thinking about hearts, the American Heart Association(AHA) came up with the idea that February should also serve as National American Heart Month. Due to their persistence, it was officially proclaimed a nationally recognized month on December 30, 1963 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, and a mere 33 days later, the first official American Heart Month took place in February 1964.

Since then, the AHA has worked tirelessly to increase awareness of the dangers of heart diseases and the steps people can take to avoid it.

The Numbers
The statistics regarding heart disease in the United States alone are astounding. According to the Heart Foundation, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and claims more lives than all forms of cancer combined.

In the US, someone suffers from a heart attack every 34 seconds, and every 60 seconds someone dies from a heart-related illness. This adds up to approximately 525,000 deaths each year. In fact, in 2011 heart disease killed nearly 787,000 people.

The Solution
As with any death-causing disease, the statistics are staggering and sad. Fortunately, there are many precautions and life-changes one can make to decrease their risk of suffering from heart disease.

Keep reading this week’s blog to find out how you can help reduce you and your loved one’s risk of heart disease in five simple steps.

Eat Your Heart Out
Ok, don’t literally eat your heart out, but do eat foods with an emphasis on heart health. Heart healthy foods include: fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, fish, lean poultry and meat. You will also want to limit salt and sugar intake.

Get a Check Up
One of the first things you should do is schedule a checkup with your doctor. Your doctor will screen you for any pre-existing conditions, tell you what you are at risk of and give you targeted ways you can reduce your risk of heart disease. This is also a good time to consult with your doctor about starting an exercise routine. Before you leave, you will want to make regular follow-up appointments to make sure you stay on track.

Put Down the Stick and Bottle
It’s no secret, smoking and drinking is horrible for your health, but we know giving it up is easier said than done. Taking small steps to reduce the amount you smoke or drink will significantly help in reducing your risk of heart disease. The sooner the better.

Sleep the Night Away
Getting the appropriate amount of sleep is an important aspect in reducing your risk of heart disease.

Take a Step
We mean this one literally. A good way to increase your heart health is to maintain an active lifestyle. Professionals recommend at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week of moderate exercise. This means any activity that gets you moving and sweating a little.

Kick Stress to The Curb
Stress is the fuel that feeds the heart disease fire. The more stress you have, the more strain you put on your heart and overall health. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to reduce stress in your life such as yoga, breathing exercises and time management techniques.

Reducing you and your loved one’s risk of heart disease, or managing heart disease itself can be tricky and stressful. As always, Wiser Home Care is here to help you with whatever you need. From providing care to developing an extensive care plan for your loved one, and everything in between, we are happy to help. Please contact us, and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Five Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Your Elderly Loved One

Boy, did Punxsutawney Phil get it right or what? The snowy, wet weather the last few days hasn’t been much fun, but that’s ok. The bad weather has given us time to hunker down and prepare for an unforgettable Valentine’s day.

That’s right, the most romantic holiday of the year is just around the corner. Do you have a special valentine this year? If so, we hope you already have your plans and gifts ready for the 14th.

If Valentine’s day crept up on you like it did to us, then don’t worry, when we remembered it was going to be Valentine’s Day soon we got fast to work on brainstorming great Valentine’s Day gifts for the elderly loved one in your life.

Before we jump into the nitty gritty details, we thought it would be cool to share some fun facts about Valentine’s Day. Did you know that 54% of Americans will spend Valentine’s Day with a loved one this year?

Historically, Valentine’s Day has been a holiday for couples but recently that has shifted. In fact, one poll shows that “people also show their appreciation in the form of gifts for family members (59.4 percent), friends (21.7 percent), teachers (20.4 percent) and colleagues (12.1 percent).”

Studies also show that the most popular Valentine’s gifts are candy (53.2%), cards (51.2%), flowers (37.8%) and an evening out (37%).

Now don’t get us wrong, these are all great gifts and we would be more than happy to receive them from any of our loved ones. However, we think our loved ones deserve to receive above average gifts as our token of appreciation. The following gift ideas will show your loved ones just how much you think of them:

The Gift of Warmth and Fashion
Since we still have a month of Winter left, a thoughtful gift for your elderly loved one could be a nice new fleece wrap, heated car throw for cool winter travel, snazzy Valentine’s day socks, a new bed jacket, scarves or even a fancy new bath robe.

Help Set the Mood Safely
Perhaps your elderly loved one has a Valentine of their own they would like to impress. You could help them gather neat Valentine’s decorations, or even sit down with them and make them yourselves. The time spent together will be cherished. In addition, flameless candles are another great gift, that will help set the mood but keep them safe.

The Around-the-House Gift
Making your elderly loved one’s day-to-day life easier will show them that you truly care about their happiness and well-being. Some good around-the-house gifts include large font day clocks, amplified or photo phones, cooling or warming mattress pads, portable trays/bed trays, night lights, draft stoppers, oven rack guards or talking medication reminders.

The Sentimental Gift
We all know the saying, “Money can’t buy happiness”, well sometimes money can’t buy the best gift either. Making your elderly loved one a special gift will be fun and thoughtful. Maybe you could paint them a new mug or vase, or print out your favorite picture of you together and make them a homemade frame for it.

The Gift of Time
We saved the best for last. Honestly, what your elderly loved one probably wants more than anything else in the world, is to spend some time with you. Set aside an entire day to simply spend making memories with your loved one. You could have a board game marathon, watch their favorite movies, take them out to their favorite restaurant or simply get coffee and chat. They will love the company and getting out of their house.

If you would like help caring for, or developing an extensive care plan for your elderly loved one, we can help. Please contact us, and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

 

8 Groundhog Day Fun Facts to Get You Through 6 More Weeks of Winter

Punxsutawney Phil is one of the few animals worldwide that has an entire day nationally dedicated to him. In fact, Thursday was that day. What day you may ask. It is none-other than the nationally celebrated Groundhog Day. A day in which Punxsutawney Phil is crowned an honorary meteorologist.

Tradition goes, that if Punxsutawney Phil comes out of his hole on Groundhog Day and sees his shadow, then there will be 6 more weeks of winter, but if he doesn’t see his shadow then there will be an early spring.

We were hoping that he didn’t see his shadow, but unfortunately he did and now we have to live with 6 more weeks of winter. To help cope with the thought of a longer winter, we thought it would be fun to share some history and facts about Groundhog Day for this week’s blog.

The History
First observed in 1887, Groundhog Day has its origins in ancient Christian Candlemas Day tradition. During Candlemas, clergy would bless and distribute candles for winter. The candles symbolized how long and cold winter would be.

According to History.com, the Germans took the Candlemas concept and used the hedgehog instead of a candle. When German settlers moved to Pennsylvania they continued the tradition but switched to the Groundhog. Today, Groundhog Day is always nationally celebrated on Feb. 2, because it is exactly halfway between the Winter and Spring equinox.

Groundhog Fun Facts
Did you know….

  • Their diet consists of lots of greens, fruits and veggies
  • They drink very little water and the water they do get usually come from leaves
  • They whistle when they are feeling in danger and in the spring when they are courting
  • Groundhogs are clean animals that insects and germs leave alone. In fact, they are immune to many plagues that haunt animals.
  • They put themselves in a deep coma during the winter.
  • 2 months after birth, young groundhogs are ready to live on their own.
  • The groundhog’s normal lifespan is 6-8 years.
  • Punxsutawney Phil was named after King Philip

We hope you enjoyed learning about the history and fun facts about Groundhog Day as much as we did. Since Winter is sticking around for another 6 weeks, if you care for an elderly loved one, we urge you to read our Guide to Reducing Senior Falls in the Winter.

Finally, if you would like help caring for or developing an extensive care plan for your elderly loved one, we can help. Please contact us, and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Bath Safety: These 15 Simple Tips Could Save Your Life

The month of January is not only host to several popular holidays including New Year’s Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but also some lesser known national celebrations such as National Bath Safety Month.

Celebrated annually, the goal of National Bath Safety month is to raise awareness of the potential dangers that could arise in the bathroom, and how to prevent bathroom injuries.

Many studies have found that nearly 1/3 of falls that occur in the house take place in the bathroom. This makes bathroom not only the most frequented room in a house, but also the most dangerous.

According to statistics released by the Center for Disease Control each year, more than 235,000 people visit the emergency room due to injuries suffered in the bathroom, and more than 2/3 of these injuries take place in the bath or shower.

While studies and statistics both support the claim that the bathroom is the most dangerous room in a house, these types of accidents are oddly often overlooked as a cause for concern.

Fortunately, with the right safety precautions many of these bathroom injuries can be prevented. Keep reading this week’s blog to learn fifteen ways to keep your elderly loved one safe in the bathroom.

  1. Install a non-slip strips or a mat in the bottom of your elderly loved one’s tub.
  2. Have reachable hand rails installed near the toilet, tub and sink.
  3. Keep the bathroom floor clean of laundry, towels and other clutter.
  4. Consider installing a toilet that is at the appropriate height for your loved one. A lot of falls happen getting on and off the toilet.
  5. You will also want to adjust the height of their sink and towel racks so they don’t have to reach or bend over too far.
  6. Move towel hooks closer to the shower to reduce water droplets on the floor.
  7. Many falls happen in the transition in and out of the shower or tub. Ideally, your loved one should have a walk-in tub or shower to reduce the risk of a fall. If you cannot afford one, you should look for a solution that has a low lip entrance.
  8. Consider placing a shower seat in the tub or shower.
  9. Dry up water as soon as it hits the floor.
  10. Consider installing a removable shower head that will allow your loved one to shower while seated.
  11. Keep the appropriate toiletries within reach of the sink, shower and toilet.
  12. Install nightlights in the bathroom and down the hallway entrance
  13. Utilize a scald prevention device to keep the water at safe temperature levels.
  14. Use door locks that can be unlocked from both sides in case of an emergency.
  15. Finally, keep a portable phone in the bathroom.

There are plenty of steps you can take to keep your elderly loved one safe in the bathroom. Through working together to raise awareness of bathroom safety, we can save the lives of hundreds of our loved ones.

As always, if you care for an elderly loved one and would like help caring for or developing an extensive care plan, we can help. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have.