Archive for the ‘Senior Care’ Category

Giving Loved Ones Independence by Stepping Back

Posted on: June 10th, 2015 by Kim McCreery

CookingAn increased number of seniors are choosing to remain at home during their elder years, even in the face of injury, illness and ongoing conditions. For adult children, caring for aging parents can prove rife with physical, emotional and social challenges, as they increase their capacity as caregiver and become more and more involved in the day-to-day tasks this critical role requires.

It’s easy to get caught up in the role of caregiver when the situation arises—your parents have done so much for you that, when they reach a point in their lives when help is needed, it’s natural for you to want to do everything you can to make sure they are taken care of. However, it’s important to remember that, for the majority of seniors, maintaining independence was a key factor in their decision to stay at home. While your efforts may be well meaning, it can sometimes be a slippery slope—it’s easy to go from caring for an elderly parent to doing everything for your parent. And often, this well-meaning hands-on caregiving can have an adverse effect on inspiring self-sufficiency and overall day-to-day freedom. As a caregiver, you should strive to promote the independence of your loved one, not take over everything.

Why is promoting independence in seniors so important?

  • Independence enables aging family members to continue making contributions to society, and feel good about that influence.
  • Self-sufficiency gives seniors a sense of achievement and self-worth, critical during their later years.
  • Being able to tackle some tasks independently promotes future self-reliance—if they can do this, they can probably handle that!
  • Independence fights frustration and feelings of futility, even in the wake of illness, injury and general aging.

In these situations, it’s important to put yourself in your aging parents’ shoes. How would you feel if there were things you could do, but weren’t allowed to because someone else had taken over? Allowing your loved ones to do things for themselves provides a sense of purpose and can make them feel self-assured. Bringing in professional assistance from a home care agency such as At Home Solutions also increases your parents’ feeling of empowerment and ability to function successfully at home.

At Home Solutions provides a broad range of companion home care services  across the greater Mesa and Casa Grande area, from light housekeeping and meal preparation to general assistance and lifestyle tasks. Many times through this outside intervention, both elderly parents and their adult children can learn to work better together to foster self-reliance, independence and a better overall quality of life. Contact At Home Solutions today to learn more.

Respite Care for Family Caregivers: Helpful and Healthy for All

Posted on: May 21st, 2015 by Kim McCreery

respite care mesaCaring for a loved one day in and day out, without a break, can take its toll. In fact, caregivers often develop health problems themselves as a direct result of their caregiving responsibilities.  To continue to provide the best care possible, caregivers need to put themselves first and take care of their own mental and physical health, as well as their own emotional and social needs. Taking time out through respite care helps family caregivers recharge their batteries and reduce their stress levels so they can continue the work of caring for their loved one without jeopardizing their own wellbeing. Respite care is helpful and healthy for all involved.

When the telltale signs of caregiver burnout pop up—such as depression and hopelessness, trouble sleeping, lack of energy and other personality changes—it’s time to take a step back from the daily responsibility of caring for somebody else, and enjoy some personal time to restore energy. Enlist the help of a friend, a family member or a neighbor, or consider help from a professional caregiver, such as At Home Solutions provides. A professional caregiver can provide emergency respite care, relief for a few days, or better yet, can assist on a weekly or monthly basis, allowing time for personal needs without sacrificing the needs of the care recipient.

Respite care can take place in:

  • An adult day center
  • The home of the person being cared for
  • A residential setting such as an assisted living facility or nursing home
  • A vacation setting

Although caring for a family member or friend can be a huge responsibility, there is no need to feel alone or helpless. Taking time away from care duties, reaching out for help and keeping a positive attitude can help the caregiver and the care recipient enjoy a better quality of life.

The following organizations provide information to caregivers on a variety of topics including respite:

  • The Alzheimer’s Association
  • The Family Caregiver Alliance
  • The National Alliance for Caregiving
  • National Adult Day Services Association

Find out about respite care options through home care services available from At Home Solutions by calling us today at 888-496-3983 or fill out our online inquiry form. At Home Solution serves the Phoenix area with quality home health care solutions through two offices: Our Mesa office serves Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe, North Chandler, Apache Junction, and Gold Canyon. Our Case Grande office serves Pinal County in south-central Arizona.

Managing Caregiver Stress Part II: Resources and Solutions

Posted on: June 30th, 2014 by Kim McCreery No Comments


After two weeks of keeping a journal, you should now be able to identify your areas of caregiver stress and the accompanying feelings. Maybe you’ve recorded a long list of issues or maybe you’ve seen a pattern of a few recurring thoughts. Below are examples of common caregiver feelings and possible resources or solutions. A list of helpful links can be found at the bottom of this post.

  • I feel resentful because family members aren’t helping so I have to do EVERYTHING. Set up a family meeting. List all the tasks you do and specify the areas where you need help and/or ask family members to identify the areas where they can help. Prepared meals, financial contributions, financial management, respite care, laundry, resource identification…there are numerous ways to assist (see caregiver task list below). Set up a family Google calendar to keep people on track, in the loop, and accountable. If your family has trouble agreeing, hire a geriatric care manager who is experienced in eldercare management.
  • I feel sadness/guilt/anger about my loved one’s condition and my role as the caregiver. Counselors and support groups exist at many local organizations and are also available online. Share your feelings with others in the same boat. Vent, empathize, sympathize, and learn from each other. Get more information about your loved one’s condition to help you better cope.
  • I feel isolated and lonely, like I don’t have a life. Get respite care so you can do the things you like…attend church, participate in a hobby, get a haircut, take regular walks, and go on vacation. Again, it’s helpful to be specific in your request. For instance, perhaps you’d like to go to church followed by breakfast every Sunday. You’ll need respite care from 8-12 to do this. Can a family member provide care? Can you hire someone? Look into adult day care centers as well.
  • I feel helpless and hopeless because I don’t have family to support me. Area Agency on Aging is the place to start. They have a comprehensive list of local resources for everything from home modifications, meals on wheels, medicare/medicaid benefits, support groups, and more. Other options to consider include faith communities, volunteer organizations (some specialize in helping seniors), and home care agencies who can provide professional back-up care.

It’s essential to realize that in order to minimize caregiver stress, support is necessary. That means asking for and getting help. That means you shouldn’t do everything yourself. Make sure you remind yourself of this fact on a regular basis and believe it to be true.

“The healthy and strong individual is the one who asks for help when he needs it. Whether he’s got an abscess on his knee or in his soul.” -Rona Barrett

Caregiver Task List
Shopping and errands
Meal preparation
Transport and advocate role at medical appointments
Laundry and linen changing
Companionship including walks, games, and other activities
Personal care
Yard work
Bathing and grooming

Helpful Links





Healthy Hearts: A Holistic Approach

Posted on: February 19th, 2014 by Kim McCreery No Comments

In Matters of the Heart . . .

We have a loving heart, an aspiring heart, an inspiring heart, an

illumining heart and a fulfilling heart.” Sri Chinmoy

The heart is the center of our cardiovascular system and it also represents our emotional/spiritual essence.

Caring for our hearts is a two-fold task then. We should properly nourish, exercise, and rest our hearts and we should care for our emotional well-being through positive thoughts and actions including cultivating and nurturing loving relationships.

With Valentines Day and the Million Hearts Campaign going on, February is an ideal month to focus on Heart Health. I encourage all of you to think about ways you can improve your Heart Health every day. Prepare a salad filled with colorful vegetables and a sprinkling of walnuts then a hour later take a 30 minute walk with a loved one.

Heart Health doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. It is simply a matter of making conscious, loving choices every day. Below, are links to resources on the many ways to care for your heart!


Heart Healthy Diet

Heart Healthy Exercise

Stress Management Tips

Healthy Relationships








Exercise for Seniors: It’s Never Too Late to Start

Posted on: December 30th, 2013 by Kim McCreery No Comments

“If exercise could be packaged into a pill, it would be the single most widely prescribed and beneficial medicine in the nation.”
Robert N. Butler, M.D.Former Director of The National Institute on Aging

National Institute on Aging (NIA) indicates that an inactive lifestyle can cause older people to lose ground in four areas important for staying healthy and independent: strength, balance, flexibility, endurance

According to a study performed by NIA for people age 75 and older:

  • 40% cannot walk two blocks
  • 32% cannot climb ten steps
  • 22% cannot lift ten pounds
  • 7% cannot walk across a small room
  • 50% of those who fracture hips never walk independently again, with many dying from complications

The Many Benefits of Exercise for the Older Adult

Cardiovascular: improves blood pressure; decreases risk of coronary artery disease; improves congestive heart failure symptoms and decreases hospitalization rate; improves lipid profileLady Lifting Weights

Type 2 Diabetes: decreases incidence; improves glycemic control; decreases hemoglobin levels;improves insulin sensitivity

Osteoporosis: decreases bone density loss in postmenopausal women; decreases hip and vertebral fractures; decreases risk of falling

Sleep and Moods: improves quality of sleep; improves cognitive function; decreases rates of depression, improves Beck depression scores; improves short-term memory

Osteoarthritis: improves function; decreases pain

Cancer: potential decrease in risk of colon, breast, prostate, rectum; improves quality of life and decreases fatigue

Other: decreases all-cause mortality; decreases all-cause morbidity; decreases risk of obesity; improves symptoms in peripheral vascular occlusive disease

Benefits presented in the article “Promoting and Prescribing Exercise for the Elderly,” by Robert J. Nied, M.D., Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan and Barry Franklin, Ph.D., William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Michigan of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

 Before starting exercise, older adults and/or adults with chronic conditions should develop an activity plan with a health professional to manage risks and take therapeutic needs into account.                    

Activities to Improve the 4 Area of Fitness

  • Strength: resistance bands, weights, calisthenics, dancing
  • Balance:  yoga, chair exercises, dancing
  • Flexibility: yoga, chair exercises, dancing
  • Aerobic Endurance: walking, swimming, water aerobics, low impact aerobics, dancing, rowing

Consult your physician if exercise results in: chest pain, dizziness, cold sweats, extreme breathlessness, very rapid heart rate that lasts longer than 5–10 minutes after stopping activity.

Regardless of where you live, there are exercise programs suitable for all ability levels. Talk to your doctor, activity director, local community center or gym. Check out these online resources for more information.

Exercise doesn’t just improve physical well-being, it also provides energy, lifts our spirits, keeps us sharp, and helps us fully participate in all areas of life. Don’t forget, indoor and outdoor chores count as exercise too. The important thing is to do something on a regular basis. Move it, lift it, stretch it!





Creating Holiday Cheer for the Homebound: A Top Ten List

Posted on: December 12th, 2013 by Kim McCreery No Comments


The Holidays can be difficult for a lot of people, especially the elderly. Older folks get blue for a variety of reasons including: isolation, loneliness, depression, nostalgia, and declining physical and mental health. Taking the time to visit an older relative or friend is a wonderful gift to give and you’ll receive much in return as well!

To insure a successful, engaging visit, plan it in advance and prepare. Consider the person’s cognitive and physical abilities plus dietary restrictions then put together a care package containing cheerful items that are meaningful and appropriate. Plan a holiday activity to do together such as singing carols or making homemade Christmas cards. Lastly, think about a few upbeat recent events in your life to share. We’ve listed ten ideas to help you create a wonderful visit with your loved one.a hand jpg softa

Top Ten List

  1. Family friendly jokes and stories. Surf the internet to find them. Laughter is one of the best medicines!
  2. Era Music. Bring perennial favorites like Bing Crosby, Perry Como,
    The Lennon Sisters, and Frank Sinatra.
  3. Games and Crafts. Think checkers, cards,
    even an electronic version of Wheel of Fortune. Assemble easy tree decorations, create a collage, do a puzzle.
  4. Photos. Dig out recent and old family pictures to share. Don’t forget the video.
  5. Pets. Bring a well-behaved pet to lift spirits and calm anxiety.
  6. Children. Bring grandchildren and great grandchildren. Equip them with conversational topics and school projects to share.
  7. Food. Prepare a few favorite dishes, some to eat together and some to freeze.
  8. Tenderness. The power of touch is amazing. Hug, hold hands, brush hair, give a light massage.
  9. Soft things. Give your loved one a colorful soft blanket, sweater, or shawl.
  10. Fragrant gifts. Try a fresh wreath or cinnamon pine cones.

Make the most of your visit with your loved one! Kim


Long Term Care for Seniors

Posted on: December 5th, 2013 by Kim McCreery No Comments

Long Term Care is a must topic of discussion for families with older members. The timing couldn’t be better. Throughout the holiday season, families join together to share traditional festivities and reminisce of holidays past. This family-focused time presents an ideal opportunity to talk with aging family members about their wishes concerning long term care.

Due to advances in medical technology and health care, people are living longer than ever before. In addition, the traditional family, which once included built-in care for elderly family members, is fast becoming obsolete. Today, 420-medicaid-home-caretaker-helps-husband-wifeit is common for adult children to reside in locations far from their aging parents. At the same time, the costs for long-term care services continue to increase.

Long term care insurance typically covers the costs for in-home care, assisted living, and nursing home care. According to industry sources, eight million Americans currently have long term care insurance coverage, with some 400,000 new policies issued in 2007 alone. In addition, roughly 180,000 Americans with long term care insurance policies received benefits amounting to 3.5 billion dollars.*

According to the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance, 50% of those who applied for long term care insurance were between the ages of 55 and 64. Another 26% were between the ages of 45 and 54. As consumers—76 million baby boomers in particular—become aware of the cost-saving benefits of securing health discounts and obtaining more affordable coverage, the age of buyers continues to decline. In 2011, when baby boomers begin turning 65, the number of older people will dramatically increase between 2010 and 2030. In 2030, the older population is projected to be twice as large as in 2000.**

Therefore, it is important to raise awareness, assess risk, and stress the need for proper planning. The need for adequate coverage, especially for those who currently have no coverage, is fast becoming a national issue.

The Long Term Care Awareness Campaign continues to grow, involving a growing number of national organizations and government agencies. The expansion of this campaign allows more time to promote awareness and to provide in-depth educational programs.

We hope that you will take the time to analyze your needs, as well as the needs of close
family members, for long term care.

* Source: American Association for Long Term Care Insurance, 2008 LTCi Sourcebook.

** Source: American Association for Long Term Care Insurance, October 2009.


Senior Nutrition Series: Go for the Fiber

Posted on: October 21st, 2013 by Kim McCreery No Comments


Plants such as fruits and vegetables are fiber-rich carbohydrates. Filber Rich Foods

Fiber is vital for good health. Studies show decreased risk for heart disease when adults consume enough fiber. Evidence also suggests that fiber in the diet can help prevent colon cancer and promote weight control. Other benefits include improved bowel function and lower blood cholesterol levels.

Fiber Recommendations according to

  • Men over aged 50 should get 30 grams of fiber a day.
  • Women over aged 50 should get 21 grams of fiber a day.

Beware of Fiber Poor Carbohydrates including white bread, baked goods, white rice, and sugar. We call these bad because these products contain little or no fiber, easily convert to glucose and raise your blood sugar FAST! Also,
these foods contain little or no nutritional value.

Seek out Fiber Rich Carbohydrates including fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grain products (wheat, oats, rye, quinoa, barley, brown and wild rice). Note: pasta should be consumed al dente, meaning don’t over cook the pasta. It should be firm not soft.


Harvard School of Public Health: Carbohydrates: Good Carbs Guide the Way

U.S. Department of Agriculture: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010: Foods and Nutrients to Increase


Senior Nutrition: Good Fats, Bad Fats

Posted on: October 3rd, 2013 by Kim McCreery No Comments
Good Fats

Good Fats

If you grew up eating a lot of real butter, shortening, and lard, this post is for you!

Dietary fat is a nutrient that helps your body absorb essential vitamins, maintains the structure and function of cell membranes, and helps keep your immune system working.  We need fat, however, some types of fat may increase your risk of heart disease and other health problems. Fat also has a lot of calories, increasing the risk of weight gain.  Source: Mayo Clinic

The Good Fats

Monounsaturated fats: These heart-healthy fats are typically a good source of the antioxidant vitamin E, a nutrient often lacking in American diets. Sources: olives, avocados, hazelnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and olive, canola, and peanut oils.

Polyunsaturated fats, Omega 3 and 6:  Found mostly in vegetable oils, these help lower both blood cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels— especially when you substitute them for saturated fats.  Sources: Soybean and canola oil, walnuts, flaxseed, cold water fish (cod, crab, lobster, scallops, tuna, trout, and salmon).

 The Bad Fats

Saturated Fats: Saturated fats are the solid fats. They are linked to chronic diseases, especially heart disease. Sources: High-fat cheeses, high-fat cuts of meat, whole-fat milk and cream, butter, ice cream, palm and coconut oils  **Low-fat versions of these foods usually still contain saturated fats, but in smaller quantities than the regular versions.

Trans Fats: Partially-hydrogenated oils — the dirty word to look for on a list of ingredients.  Sources: It’s a semi-solid fat commonly found in commercially baked goods and some hard margarines.

Bottom line, avoid those fats you grew up with…real butter, lard, and shortening. Take it easy on the baked goods and go low-fat in the dairy section when you can!


Reasons for Hiring a Homecare Agency like At Home Solutions

Posted on: September 27th, 2013 by Kim McCreery No Comments

Seniors and adults with disabilities have many choices when it comes to home care; however it’s important to understand that all companies don’t operate the same.  At Home Solutions recommends thoroughly screening each company before making a decision. To help with this process, we provide a home care checklist containing questions to ask when interviewing caregiving agencies and registries.

Reputable home care agencies implement and maintain processes that ensure high standards of care. Below is a list of reasons why At Home Solutions is great choice when it comes to providing home care for your loved one.

    1. Only caregivers with verifiable experience are hired by At Home Solutions (AHS).
    2. AHS Caregivers are personally interviewed and thoroughly screened before being hired.
    3. New hire caregivers must pass a 30 hour caregiving training course or pass a 180 question and knowledge care demonstration test. They also must be certified in CPR and First Aid. Monthly continuing education is mandatory.
    4. Home care agencies handle all employee expenses and IRS taxes so you won’t have to.

  1. AHS employees are bonded and the company maintains a general and professional liability policy which means you will never be liable for any work injury claims.
  2. Care coordinators conduct free needs assessments, home safety checks, set up a care plan, hand-pick caregivers, and manage care every step of the way.
  3. Care Coordinators are on call 24/7.
  4. Care Coordinators can help refer trustworthy community partners like Home Health, Hospice, Medical Equipment, Legal Assistance, Geriatric Care Managers, Home Repair and more.
  5. AHS guarantees staffing. If a caregiver is ill, a care coordinator will provide care so the client doesn’t go without.
  6. AHS is a highly respected home care agency serving Arizona since 2001. We are contracted with the Arizona Long Term Care System, The Southern Arizona VA Health Care System, and have been honored as a top 25 workplace for women.