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Help Your Senior Prepare For Winter

Winter is approaching and as the temperature drops, it’s important for older adults to prepare for the potential risks that cold weather can bring.

For the thousands of seniors living in the Northwest, winter may pose a number of risks. Reports have shown much higher incidences of injury and illness due to icy sidewalks, cold and dry air, flu viruses and in many cases, hypothermia.

According to the Healthy Aging Partnership, a coalition of more than 40 Puget Sound not-for-profit and public organizations dedicated to the health and well-being of older adults, older adults should keep these tips in mind to help ensure safety and optimum health this winter.

  • Older adults are more susceptible to hypothermia, which occurs when too much heat escapes from the body. It is important to dress warmly and keep dry, but equally important to remember good nutrition. Food provides the fuel we need to keep warm. Hot food and warm drinks are best to warm the body.
  • When going outdoors, remember to dress warmly. Wear layered, loose-fitting clothing and mittens. When possible, wear a hat to protect against heat loss since close to half of all body heat is lost through the head.
  • You can prevent many winter hazards simply by planning ahead. Before winter arrives, check all the windows and doors in your home for cracked or worn sealants. A new application of caulking may be needed; in a pinch, staple a sheet of plastic tarp over really old windows.
  • Talk to your electric or gas companies to see if you can be put on a level billing system that averages your energy payments equally over 12 months. This doesn’t save money, but it does help to budget during the heating season and prevent your heat from being shut off.
  • To avoid slips and falls, wear non-skid boots or other shoes with plenty of traction.
  • Cold weather can put extra strain on the heart. When doing winter chores such as shoveling snow, do some warm-up exercises first and take many breaks.
  • To conserve energy, heat only those rooms that you use. Close off the attic, garage, basement, spare bedrooms or storage areas. But don’t overdo your money-saving efforts: keep your thermostat set to at least 65 degrees to prevent hypothermia.
  • Shift energy use from peak to off-peak times. For example, do small things like running your dishwasher after 9 p.m.
  • When using a portable heater, plug the heater directly into an outlet, not to an extension cord. Make sure the outlet and wiring are in good condition. Keep the area around the heater clear of furniture, newspaper or other flammable materials and take special care to avoid tripping over cords.

Article from

What is the Difference Between Companion Care and Personal Care?

When someone mentions Home Care, there is a wide range of services they may be offering and sometimes it can be difficult to figure out what those services are. This is intended as guide to give you more information about the names of the services and which one might be right for you.

It’s important to remember that home care is different than a Home Health Agency, these agencies primarily focus on skilled medical care at the home that a standard care provider cant give. Make sure to call and discuss with a company exactly what type services they provide, as well as research that they are a reputable company.

Home Care will basically fall into two categories: Companion Care and Personal Care. When you are talking about Companion Care this is usually a less intensive, non-medical type service. This often includes activities like taking care of a pet, driving to Doctors appointments or any errand for that matter, light household cleaning, preparing of meals, grocery shopping, washing dishes or clothes and watering plants. One of the most underrated services they can provide is simple companionship, whether that is playing cards, going on walks or simply a warm smile, it can make all the difference. We all have to deal with loneliness or isolation, but these problems can acutely affect us, as we get older.  Companion Care can be a great service to alleviate some loneliness, as well provide some basic help.

Personal Care is slightly different, they will generally provide all of the services covered by Companion Care, in addition to more hands on services like help with taking medication, bathing and dressing. Personal Care is usually for people who require a much higher degree of assistance rather than merely help with chores and appointments.

It is important not to expect more from a caregiver than what they have been trained to do. Make sure to have a frank discussion before hiring someone about what they are and are not able to perform in the execution of their job. It can be a little scary for some people to invite a stranger into their home, it is important to research any company you hire for Home Care to have a good reputation. However, it’s also important to remember that most of the time caregivers very warm, good people who love what they do and provide a lot of assistance, either for you or a loved one.

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What is Respite?

Respite Definition: What is Respite Care and When Do I Need It?

The dictionary’s respite care definition is “a short period of rest or relief from something difficult or unpleasant” or “an interval of rest or relief”.  Respite care generally refers to care provided to offer such a break to a primary caregiver.  Respite might be provided full-time for a period such as a week or two (for example while a caregiver travels) or might be provided on an intermittent basis (such as every afternoon or once/week so the caregiver can run errands, rest or attend an activity).  You can find a good overview of respite care in Aging Wisely’s post, “Caregivers: Options for Respite“.

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