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.

5 Ways to Help Your Elderly Loved One Age Out Loud

 

If you think about it, we truly owe our lives to our elderly loved one’s. Not only are we here, living and breathing, because somewhere down the line our elderly loved ones fell in love, but we have them to thank for paving the way to all the modern-day successes and technology we enjoy.

Their hard work and contributions to America’s past, current and on-going success deserves recognition, which is why President Donald Trump declared the month of May to be National Older American’s Month. According to President Trump the goal of Older American’s Month is to “thank our seniors and recognize the enormous contributions they make to the Nation.”

Each year Older American’s Month is planned around a central theme by the Administration for Community Living (ACL). For 2017, the ACL designed the theme “Age Out Loud” which focuses on giving the aging a new voice – one that reflects what today’s older adults have to say.

So, how can you celebrate Older American’s Month and help your elderly loved one “Age Out Loud”?

Keep reading to learn 5 ways you can help encourage them to Age Out Loud.

  1. Talk to the Elderly
    Our elderly loved ones have a lot of wisdom they would be more than happy to share with us if we simply took the time to ask them questions and listen to what they have to say. This will help you learn about their experiences and help them Age Out Loud.
  2. Help Them Organize Their Memories
    Many people have memory boxes where they store cards, pictures, letters and any other memorable items. Offer to help your elderly loved one organize their memories into a scrap book or photo album. This will give you time with them and allow them to share their memorable past moments with you.
  3. Consider Doing an NPR Story Corp Interview
    NPR has an ongoing recording project known as Story Corp in which friends, associates and loved ones can record each other during an interview or oral storytelling session. These interviews are archived for public access, and some even make it onto the weekly Story Corp broadcast.
  4. Help Them Tell Their Story
    Keeping record of your elderly loved one’s life experiences for generations to come is a great way to help them age out loud and leave a lasting legacy. One way to do this is to sit down with your loved one and help them write out many of their memorable life moments. You could also share this on social media or via a blog.
  5. Help Them Age Their Way
    Even though we can’t stop getting older, we can take control of the aging process and age the way we want. Many older Americans are doing this by trying new careers and hobbies and taking control of their health. Help your senior Age Out Loud by recommending a potential new hobby, or maybe even a fun college course.

We hope this list helps you start thinking of ways you can help your elderly loved one Age Out Loud. As always, 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 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.