Caring For Loved Ones With Dementia

Caring for a loved one with dementia poses many challenges for families and caregivers. People with dementia from conditions such as Alzheimer’s and related diseases have a progressive biological brain disorder that makes it more and more difficult for them to remember things, think clearly, communicate with others, and take care of themselves.


Improving your communication skills will help make caregiving less stressful and will likely improve the quality of your relationship with your loved one. Good communication skills will also enhance your ability to handle the difficult behavior you may encounter as you care for a person with a dementing illness.

See below some skills that can help make day to day caregiving a bit easier.

  • Set a positive mood. Set a positive mood by speaking to your loved one in a pleasant and respectful manner. Use facial expressions, tone of voice, and physical touch to help convey your message and show your feelings of affection.
  • Get the person’s attention. Limit distractions and noise—turn off the radio or TV, close the curtains or shut the door, or move to quieter surroundings.
  • State your message clearly. Use simple words and sentences. Speak slowly, distinctly, and in a reassuring tone. Use the names of people and places instead of pronouns (he, she, they) or abbreviations.
  • Ask simple, answerable questions. Ask one question at a time; those with yes or no answers work best. Refrain from asking open-ended questions or giving too many choices.
  • Break down activities into a series of steps. This makes many tasks much more manageable. You can encourage your loved one to do what he can, gently remind him of steps he tends to forget, and assist with steps he’s no longer able to accomplish on his own. Using visual cues when possible.
  • When the going gets tough, distract and redirect. If your loved one becomes upset or agitated, try changing the subject or the environment.

Finally, remembering the past is often a soothing and affirming activity. Many people with dementia may not remember what happened 45 minutes ago, but they can clearly recall their lives 45 years earlier. Therefore, avoid asking questions that rely on short-term memory, such as asking the person what they had for lunch. Instead, try asking general questions about the person’s distant past—fond memories that they enjoy talking about. This will help set a positive mood and open the lines of communication and trust.


Home Safety Tips For Seniors

Did you know? Seniors are involved in more than 2.3 million accidents in their homes each year.

While many seniors prefer to live independently, some homes are poorly designed to meet their needs. Falls are the number one safety risk for older adults – nearly one third of the senior population fall each year with 70% of falls occurring at home.  Older adults need to take extra safety precautions due to physical changes that occur during the aging process, such as declining vision, hearing, sense of touch and smell, and bone density loss.  These factors increase the risk of injury inside the home.

What can you do to reduce the risk of injury for yourself or your loved one?  First, carefully survey their home for safety hazards. Here are just a few examples;

  • Remove all scatter rugs, repair frayed carpet, tape or tack down loose carpet edges.
  • Arrange furniture to allow adequate space for safe walking between and within all rooms.
  • Place safety strips or a non-skid mat in bathtub/shower and install grab bars – do not use soap dishes or towel racks for support when sitting or standing.
  • Keep closet doors and drawers closed to prevent bruises or tripping.
  • Keep walking aids within reach and keep a nightlight on or flashlight within reach of your bed.

Other factors to keep in mind – the medicine cabinet and kitchen. As seniors may become forgetful, remembering things like expiration dates is difficult. Some ways caregivers can help in this area include;

  • Store sharp knives in a rack.
  • Use a kettle with an automatic shut-off.
  • Store hazardous items separate from food.
  • Make sure food is rotated regularly and check expiration dates
  • Review your medicines frequently with your doctor or pharmacist and when you take new medication.
  • Make sure medicines are clearly labeled.
  • Read medicine labels in good light to ensure you have the right medicine and always take the correct dose.
  • Dispose of any old or used medicines.

We agree that when possible, caring for seniors at home is best. Over 90% of seniors prefer to stay in their own homes, but its important to work with caregivers to make sure home remains safe and hazard free for our loved ones.

Shake Up Healthy Eating With Smoothies

We are what we eat, right? So there is no denying the importance of a well balanced, healthy diet.

But – just because your eating healthy does not mean you need to live on leafy greens and boring flavors.

Mix it up, literally – with some yummy smoothie recipes that taste great and have proven health benefits.


Here are a couple of our favorites. Enjoy :)


Strawberry-Kiwi Smoothie

Stay full and fight disease. This high-fiber smoothie recipe becomes even healthier when you use organic kiwis, which contain higher levels of heart-healthy polyphenols and vitamin C.


1¼ c cold apple juice

1 ripe banana, sliced

1 kiwifruit, sliced

5 frozen strawberries

1½ tsp honey

COMBINE the juice, banana, kiwifruit, strawberries, and honey. Blend until smooth.

NUTRITION (per serving) 87 cals, 0.3 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 3.5 mg sodium, 22 g carbs, 16.5 g sugars, 1.5 g fiber, 0.5 g protein


Berry Good Smoothie

Get the energy you need to power through the day with this easy-to-make smoothie recipe. For an extra dose of calcium, try adding a teaspoon of Kale Powder.


1½ c chopped strawberries

1 c blueberries

½ c raspberries

2 Tbsp honey

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

½ c ice cubes

BLEND all ingredients.

NUTRITION (per serving) 162.5 cals, 1 g fat, 0.1 g sat fat, 5 mg sodium, 41.5 g carbs, 32 g sugars, 6 g fiber, 2 g protein

Get Out & Get Going


The days are getting warmer and longer. Summer is around the   corner and we could not be more excited.

Going outside for a daily walk or other moderate physical activity has many proven health benefits for seniors. See here just some of the positive effects staying active can have on aging adults.


Increase mental capacity

Research links physical activity with slower mental decline. Exercise increases blood flow to all parts of your body, including your brain, and might promote cell growth there. Exercise — particularly if it starts early and is maintained over time — is beneficial in preventing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. (Source: Senior

Prevent disease

Exercise may delay or prevent many diseases associated with aging, such as diabetes, colon cancer, heart disease, stroke, and others, and may reduce overall death and hospitalization rates, according to the National Institute of Aging.

Improve healing

Injuries and wounds take longer to heal as people age. Regular exercise by older adults may speed up the wound-healing process by as much as 25 percent. (Source: Senior

Improve quality of life

A new study has found that previously sedentary senior citizens who incorporated exercise into their lifestyles not only improved physical function, but experienced psychological benefits as well. (Source:

Increase balance

This helps prevent falls, a major cause of broken hips and other injuries that often lead to disability and loss of independence. (Source: Senior

Increase life expectancy

Benefits are greater among the most active persons, but are also evident among those who reported moderate activity, according to the CDC.


More About Tommy

Dogs are remarkable creatures. They can be trained for search and rescue, help the disabled with everyday tasks, provide companionship and also be used in senior therapy. Yes, that’s right – senior therapy.

We have been using dogs in our in home senior care management program for years and have seen tremendous success. Which is why, its with a heavy heart that we inform readers that are beloved Holly passed away. Our clients loved having her around for therapy and visits, so we were eager to welcome another furry friend into the mix so our program could continue.

Pet therapy for seniors, also known as Animal Assisted Therapy, is a technique that we use with seniors for numerous reasons to help improve their quality of life. Studies show that just fifteen minutes spent bonding with an animal promotes hormonal changes within the brain. Stress levels drop as the brain produces serotonin (the “feel-good” hormone), along with prolactin and oxytocin. This is why therapy animals are good companions for seniors, because they offer so many amazing health benefits.

Our new canine in training is Tommy. While Tommy is still learning the ropes, we know our clients are already falling in love.

Tommy comes to us from Arkansas and is about one-year-old. He is a Border Collie Golden Retriever mix and his favorite things to do are running, chewing and stealing shoes – a true puppy.

Tommy is a rescue dog, who was found abandoned with his sister. Luckily a local vet discovered the pair while out on a bike ride and took him in. After some medical care he ended up at a local rescue center with the name Tommy. Given that our last name is Brady, we thought keeping the name was only fitting for a New England dog.



Read more about our dog therapy program here.

Top Five Reasons To Promote In Home Senior Care

If you have an elderly loved one, chances are you have spent more than one sleepless night worrying about their future. When faced with the daunting task of caregiving, many don’t know where to begin but, the answer may as simple as letting them stay put—helping them age comfortably at home.

Home care is not always the best solution for every situation but for millions of American families home care makes the most sense for them. Read here the top reasons we promote in home care for our seniors.

Home care promotes recovery. No matter the duration, hospital stays can be traumatizing. The sheer experience of rapid-fire medical procedures can leave an older adult in a compromised state. If your loved one has recently been discharged from the hospital, home care permits a person to rehabilitate in the comfort of his or her own home.

Home care saves money. While a nursing home sounds like the traditional solution, institutional care comes with a hefty price tag. According to recent data provided by John Hancock Financial, the average annual cost of care in the U.S. for a private room in a nursing home is $85,775 and $75,555 for a semi-private room, whereas home health care average $37,440 annually.

Home care honors your loved one’s dignity and independence. Did you know: Seniors fear moving into a nursing home and losing their independence more than they fear death itself? According to the study, nearly 90% of seniors want to stay in their homes.

Home care is flexible and personalized. No one person, lifestyle, or situation is the same. Home care recognizes how essential specialized care is to maintaining health and offers individualized services based on individual needs and preferences. Activities are not pre-scheduled and caregivers can adapt to the wants and needs of their clients.

Home care is safe. Meaning you are faced with the germs and infections of a larger facility. And the one-on-one attention of home care means your loved one receives swift, immediate care – no red tape, no forms, and no bureaucracy. A qualified home care professional can also help make the home environment safer, providing easy fixes such as grab bars and anti-slips rugs.

Read more about our specialized in-home services here.

Heart-healthy Habits for Seniors

Healthy Lifestyle Image

By Diana Rodriguez

Heart disease is a major threat to senior health – in fact, 84 percent of people age 65 years and older die from heart disease.  Though heart disease risks increase with age, it doesn’t have to be an inevitable part of getting older.  The right lifestyle habits and a heart-healthy diet can help protect you.

What exactly is heart disease?  It’s a term given to a group of different health conditions that affect the heart.  In the United States, the most common form of heart disease is called coronary artery disease (CAD).  CAD is often responsible for serious cardiovascular events like a heart attack, heart failure, chest pain, and irregular heartbeat, also call arrhythmia.

know the symptoms of heart disease

The warning signs of heart disease often don’t appear until you’re having a heart attack.  Symptoms of an emergency or impending heart attack may include:

   * Feeling faint

   * Weakness or a sensation of light-headedness

   * Having a hard time catching your breath

   * Feeling nauseous or vomiting

   * Feeling very full or having indigestion

   * Pain in the chest or an uncomfortable pressure in the chest

   * Unusual pains in the back, shoulders, or neck

   * Sweating

   * An irregular heartbeat


Many health conditions can contribute to heart disease and increase your risk of having a heart attack.  Heart disease treatment and heart attack prevention requires that you treat all other contributing health problems and keep them under control.  To treat heart disease you should:

Lower high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels

Keep diabetes under control

Take medication to treat angina (chest pain)

There are medications that can help treat the various aspects of heart disease.  To manage chest pain, nitrates, beta-blockers, and calcium channel blockers may be recommended.  Your doctor may also suggest taking a daily aspirin to help reduce the risk of a heart attack.


You can keep your heart healthy no matter how old you are, but it does take effort – possibly even changes in your everyday habits, such as eating a heart-healthy diet and increasing your activity level.  Here’s how to get started:


   * Get enough exercise.  This means at least 30 minutes of exercise almost

     every day of the week                      

   * Quit smoking.  If you do smoke, it’s time to quit.

   * Eat a heart-healthy diet.  Load up on fresh fruits and vegetables while

     limiting saturated fats, salt, and foods containing cholesterol, like fatty


* Watch your numbers.  Get regular check-ups to monitor health conditions

  that affect the heart, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, 

  and diabetes, and make sure they’re under control with medication

* Reduce your alcohol intake.  Excess alcohol consumption can worsen health

     conditions that contribute to heart disease, like blood pressure,

  arrhythmias, and high cholesterol levels

   * Minimize stress in your life.  Stress can compound many heart disease risks

  that seniors already face, steering you toward an unhealthy lifestyle. 

  Find healthy outlets to relieve stress and lower your heart disease risk

* Watch your weight.  Too many pounds can add up to increased heart disease

  risk.  To help prevent heart disease, maintain a healthy body weight for

  your size

Working with your doctor can help keep health problems under control.  It’s never too late to start living a healthy lifestyle and getting your heart disease risks in check.

COMMUNITY HOME CARE is a family owned and operated health care agency.  Contact us for a complimentary in-home assessment to help determine the best care for your loved one.  We offer a wide range of services customized to meet each client’s needs. or 781-569-4970

Quick and Healthy Foods for Picky Eaters

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elder care MA, elder care MA home health care south shore MA, home health care south shore MA

By: Marlo Sollitto

“Mom won’t eat.  She’s down to 85 pounds.”

“Dad refuses to cook.  He’s withering away to skin and bones.”

Getting seniors to eat a balanced diet can be challenging.  In fact, getting seniors to eat anything at all is a problem many caregivers face.

There are many reasons why elderly people don’t eat properly, including a reduction in sense of smell and taste that worsens with age, side effects from medication that affect the senses, problems with chewing or a lack of motivation to cook when dining alone.

One way to help ensure your loved one is eating is to make sure there are plenty of ready-to-eat meals and snacks on hand at all times.  Ruth Frechman, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, recommends stocking up on these quick and healthy foods:

Sodium-free cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is an excellent source of protein and calcium.  And because it’s a soft consistency, it is easily chewed and swallowed.

Canned fruit.  Canned fruits can be every bit as good for you as fresh ones.  Avoid fruits in heavy syrup because they are higher in sugar and calories.  Healthier choices include fruit canned in its own juice or in sugar-free syrup.

Unsalted nuts.  Nuts promote heart health because they lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in the blood.  Walnuts, almonds, pecans and macadamia nuts are all good choices.

Yogurt.  It provides nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D, and it also has probiotics, the “good” bacteria of the digestive tract which provide a broad range of health benefits.

Oatmeal. Oatmeal is a super-healthy whole grain.  It is high in fiber, inexpensive, and can be made into a meal.

Peanut butter.  Peanut butter has more than 30 vitamins and minerals, and it has no cholesterol or trans fat.

Canned soup.  It’s a meal in minutes, but look for the low-sodium variety.

Frozen vegetables.  Frozen vegetables yield high nutrient concentrations, a longer self-life than fresh vegetables, require little preparation and are available year-round.

Community Home Care provides complete in-home care for seniors designed to meet  individual needs. For more information contact us at or call us at 781-569-4970.  Visit our website at

What to Do When Someone Shows Signs of Sundown Syndrome

home health care south shore, MA

home health care south shore, MA

What causes sundown syndrome and what you can do

By:  Laurie Udesky

Sundown syndrome is a term that describes the onset of confusion and agitation that generally affects people with dementia or cognitive impairment and usually strikes around sunset.  Many people, though, use the term to loosely describe increased agitation and confusion that can occur anytime but may be more noticeable in the late afternoon or early evening.

Although researchers equate sundown syndrome with dementia, people without dementia sometimes develop delirious and agitated behavior in the hospital as a reaction to pain, medical procedures, or infection.

What might cause someone to have sundown syndrome?

There is an association between sundown syndrome and changes in the internal biological clock among people with dementia.  The internal clock – governed by the circadian rhythms – controls sleeping and waking, is connected to how active we are at different times of the day, and influences changes in the body that regulate behavior.  Studies suggest that the biological clock shifts in people with dementia, and that shift may make some people with dementia more prone to sundown syndrome.

If someone is susceptible to sundown syndrome, researchers theorize that hunger, a drop in blood pressure after a meal (which temporarily takes oxygen away from the brain), or changes in glucose levels in the blood from eating in people with diabetes may bring on agitation and confusion.  Other physiological influences include whether someone is able to hear or see well.

If someone is confused and has vision problems, it may affect how he sees things around him as day shifts into twilight.  “We had a classic sundowning situation with a patient with macular degeneration (an eye disease that causes loss of central vision).  He was calling the police repeatedly and said that there were robbers in his house,” says John E. Morley, a professor of geriatrics at the St. Louis University School of Medicine.  A visit to the man’s home revealed what was triggering the calls.  “He had slats in the blinds on his window, and at sunset, sunlight came through and created stick figures that he thought were robbers coming into his house,” he adds.

Why Seniors Have Different Nutritional Needs

Image Nutrition for Seniors

By: Dr. Lindsay Jones-Born

Eating well is important at any age, but even more necessary for seniors because nutritional needs change as we age.  Adequate nutrition is necessary for health, vitality and quality of life.  Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons many seniors are not eating as well as they should, which can lead to poor nutrition or malnutrition, easily being mistaken as a disease or illness.

How Do Our Bodies Change As We Age?

There are many reasons our bodies change as we get older, including physiological, perceptual and general age related conditions – such as gastrointestinal or dental conditions.  These changes all influence the performance of our body as a whole, which in turn, influences our eating, nutritional intake and overall health.

Physiological Changes –

One reason nutritional needs change is due to physiological changes that occur later in life.  Energy expenditure general decreases with advancing age because of a decrease I basal metabolic rate and physical activity, thus decreasing our caloric needs.  Our bodies also begin to experience a decrease in kidney function, re-distribution of composition and changes in our nervous system.

Perceptual Changes –

Perceptual changes later in life can also influence our nutrition, such as changes in hearing, taste, smell and vision.  One of the most common complaints is in regards to the diminished taste in food.  As taste buds decrease, so does our taste for salty and sweet – often times making food taste more bitter or sour.  Diminished or loss of hearing also affects our nutrition and food experience.  The difficulty and frustration from the inability to hold a conversation with our eating partner out at a restaurant or at a social function can limit one’s food experience.  And the loss of smell can also have a huge impact on the types of food one chooses to eat as there is a loss of satisfaction that can lead to poor food choices.

Other Aging-Related Changes –

Other changes in body function may impact nutritional intake, such as dentition, or the makeup of a set of teeth (including how many, their arrangement and their condition).  The loss of teeth and/or ill-fitting dentures can lead to avoidance of hard and sticky foods.  Gastrointestinal changes such as chronic gastritis, delayed stomach emptying, constipation and gas may lead to avoiding healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables – the food categories that should be more emphasized rather than eliminated.  These factors alone my contribute to why 3.7 million seniors are malnourished and shed light o the importance of educating caregivers and aging seniors as to specific dietary need options, as well as, catered senior diets and nutritional needs.

Senior Citizens, Malnutrition and Vitamin Deficiencies

Malnutrition is seen in varying degrees in the elderly, along with varying vitamin deficiencies.  Malnutrition is due to under nutrition, nutrient deficiencies or imbalances.  Most physicians do not see frank malnutrition anymore, such as scurvy: but more milder malnutrition symptoms such as loss of appetite, weight loss/gain, general malaise or lack of overall interest and wellness.  Common nutrient deficiencies of dietary origin include inadequate intake of vitamin A, B, C, D, E, folic acid and niacin.  Malnutrition may also be the result of some socioeconomic risk factors such as the following:

Loss of a spouse or family member

Lack of interest in cooking or eating alone

Fear of personal safety (which affects their ability to go grocery shopping)

Financial concerns

Institutionalization or hospitalizations (that do not ensure adequate nutrition)

Clearly nutrition plays a vital role in the quality of life in older persons.  This is why preventative medicine and focusing on good eating habits is crucial.  It is recommended to follow a preventative health maintenance nutritional program, such as the “Dietary Guidelines for Americans”, 2010 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which describes two eating plans.

The USDA food patterns

The DASH Eating Plan

The USDA food patters suggests that people 50 and older choose healthy foods every day from the following:

Fruits – 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 cups

Vegetables – 2 to 3 ½ cups

Grains – 5 to 10 ounces

Protein foods – 5 to 7 ounces

Dairy foods – 3 cups of fat-free or low-fat milk

Oils – 5 to 8 teaspoons

Solid fats and added sugars (SoFAS) – keep the amount of SoFAS small

The Importance of Preventative Health

Ensuring adequate nutrition and proper intake of vitamins and minerals will help keep our aging population feeling more vital and ultimately more healthy, thus using prevention rather than intervention.

COMMUNITY HOME CARE, providing the best care on the South Shore

Contact us at or 781-569-4970

Community Home Care is a full service home care agency. We provide home health aides, homemakers, companions, overnight care, case management, caregiver respite, transportation and more.
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