Mike Garfunkel
Mike Garfunkel
Mike is currently the administrator for Family Bridges, which is a Cincinnati home care agency with additional offices in Dayton and Northern Kentucky. He is fully dedicated to providing the best home care services for the elderly.

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Senior Fall Prevention Tips on Floors and Rugs

Fall prevention on carpets and floors

As a senior’s balance, depth perception, muscle strength and sight declines, their probability of falling on a floor or tripping is increased. In this article, we provides some suggestions and referenced some of the tips from the Eldercare Locator’s PDF checklist to help prevent injury from falls.

Floors & rugs Fall Prevention Tips:

  • Inspect any uneven floorboards/tile. Some seniors may drag their feet slightly when walking. If there is any raised surface, it is a good idea to level it.
  • Secure loose rugs with tacks, non-skid pads or double sided tape.
  • Wax the floors with only non-skid floor wax.
  • Place a floor safety mat next to their bed. After a senior gets a night’s sleep, they may be more prone to falling when stepping out of bed. Often times, they are still sleepy and their muscles aren’t engaged enough to go from laying down to standing up. A safety mat will provide added traction and cushion their fall, if that may happen.

Next Step to Safety At Home

Although these tips may help prevent falls, the best solution is for seniors to have assistance around the home and a person to be there if they do fall. If you don’t currently have a caregiver, please give us a call or contact us here.

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Tips to Prevent Elders from Falling on Stairways

Tips to Prevent senior falls

As many elders today are choosing to stay in their homes rather than living in nursing homes and other forms of senior care, it is more important to implement safety practices that may prevent them from falling. Stairs or steps are one of the more dangerous areas around the house to fall in. In this first series, we put together some of our suggestions and other tips discussed in the Eldercare Locator checklist.

Stairway Fall Prevention Tips:

  • Implement handrails on both sides– a second handrail can be purchased at a home improvement store inexpensively and installed easily into your wall with a few tools.
  • Securely tighten any handrails that aren’t sturdy– this can often be done by tightening the screws with a screwdriver.
  • Remove or secure any loose rugs near the top or bottom of the stairway. Double-sided rug tape can be used to secure them in place which will prevent elders from slipping on them or tripping over an edge that comes up.
  • Ensure the stairs are sufficiently illuminated. Since elders often have a reduced eyesight and depth perception, adequate lighting is essential to see the next step.

Suggestions for Seniors with Limited Mobility

If your senior requires a walker and has trouble walking on their own, it may be best to ask them not to use stairs. However, stair lifts can be installed for a more drastic way to prevent falls and ensure mobility at home, but these can cost a few thousand dollars.

If your senior likes to move around the house to check on things such as in the basement and not know their limitations, you might want to install a temporary lock if they don’t necessarily need to go there.

We Can Help!

We hope these tips and suggestions give you some guidance on preventing falls on stairways. Regardless of how much safety precautions have been put into place, it is a good idea for your senior to have assistance around the house. Our caregivers are an essential step to help seniors safely maneuver stairways, steps and other areas around the home.

Contact us here for more information about our home caregiver services in Cincinnati, Dayton & Erlanger. Rest assured, knowing there is always someone watching over them and preventing costly falls.

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Negative Effects of Lonely Seniors and Ways to Keep Them Social & Happy

Lonely Senior citizens

As discussed in the publication, EXPAND YOUR CIRCLES by the U.S. Administration for Community Living, there are many negative health effects of isolation and loneliness as your senior ages.

When seniors live alone and lose touch with their social life, they are more likely to have higher rate of:

  • Chronic health conditions such as heart disease
  • A weakened immune system
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Admission to nursing homes
  • And death

“Social Disconnectedness, Perceived Isolation and Health among Older Adults, Journal of Health and Social Behavior (2009)

Ways to Keep Seniors Social and Happy

If your senior seems to have little social connections, you may want to make suggestions such as:

  • Scheduling a dinner for your senior and an old friend
  • Invite a neighbor over
  • Find an elderly club or support group for them to attend
  • Offer to take them to church
  • Take them to events popular amongst other seniors such as bingo

Even if your senior needs little help at home, Family Bridges’ caregivers in Cincinnati, Dayton and Kentucky can also provide social support. Having a caregiver on-site is one way to prevent isolation and keep them socially engaged. Contact us today at (888) 900-0048 or through our online form to discuss how you would like our caregivers to provide social support.

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Improving Brain Health is Important for Seniors

Brain health for seniorsToday we would like to discuss this helpful brochure, Brain Health You Can Make a Difference! which was developed by the Administration for Community Living (ACL) through ElderCare.gov. As you know, the brain is one of the most important parts of the body to keep healthy.

As seniors age, it becomes apparent that their memory and learning ability may begin to decline. As the brochure discusses, the good news is your senior can improve their brain power by following these tips:

  • Visit the doctor for recommended health screenings
  • Work to improve conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol
  • Eat healthy. Make sure the senior in your life is eating healthy fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and is monitoring the consumption of fat, sugar and salt.
  • Discuss if any medications have side effects on their brain health with their doctor
  • Ensure they are having an active social life
  • Stay active and exercise for at least 2 hours and 30 minutes per week. Physical activity is known to:
    • Reduce conditions such as heart disease, depression and stroke
    • Improve brain cell connections
    • Improve balance and coordination to prevent falls
  • Limit or quit drinking alcohol or smoking

Although Family Bridges does not provide health care or advice, these tips from the ACL may be helpful to improve your senior’s brain health. Our Cincinnati based private duty home care services can help assist your senior stick to a healthy lifestyle while working with suggestions from you or their health care professional.

Please call us at (888) 900-0048 or contact us online here.

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Alternative Transportation Options for the Elderly

Elder care transportationMany elders associate driving their vehicle as a sense of freedom and independence, just as it felt when we all got our driver’s license. As our senior parents or grandparents age, their driving skills may decline such as:

  • Worsened night vision at night
  • Slower reaction time
  • Tougher time judging the distance between oncoming cars

If you start noticing your aging family with any of these traits, it may be a good idea to either talk to them about transportation plans in the future or discuss options for them to get to where they need to go every day.

As the Department of Health and Human Services brochure, Before You Give Up the Keys Create a Roadmap for Transportation Independence states, there are these alternative options:

  • Public transit (such as the Metro bus or TANK bus)
  • Specialized transportation or paratransit for the elderly and disabled
  • Volunteer transportation
  • Transportation with assistance
  • Private-pay transportation ( such as taxis, Uber and Lyft)

Transportation is one of the biggest issues seniors face and our in-home senior care service can help. Family Bridges can not only provide care for seniors in the comfort of their home, but we also help provide light transportation if needed such as going to the grocery store or doctor’s appointment.

Contact us today at (888) 900-0048 to discuss how our caregivers can provide senior transportation services in Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky.

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4 Tips to Improve Your Elder’s Life in Their Golden Years

How well seniors live the golden years of their life will be determined by how well they take care of themselves at the start and how well we as family take care of them when they need assistance. As the video states, the four things that medical doctors typically recommend are shown below:

  1. Regular physical activity. Seniors are never too old to participate in moderate exercise even if it is a short walk or stroll in a wheelchair. Exercise can reduce the likelihood of falling and fracturing bones in fact maintaining your fitness.
  2. Pay more attention to diet and nutrition. Controlling how much is eaten and the quality of food is extremely important. Before each meal decide the serving size needed and pay more attention to the FDA nutrition facts that are printed on the side of most packaged foods.
  3. Keep the mind active. By constantly learning and stimulating their mind can help them retain a healthy mind.
  4. Focus on improving their strength through light weights can help restore a sense of balance, strengthen the bones and maintain a healthy weight.

Family Bridges is a senior home care service that can work with your family to take care of an elder and focus on the important things in their life. Contact us and request more information.

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Basic Tips for Cooking for the Elderly

In this video, dietitian, Christine Marquette, talks about how to cook for an elderly person since they have unique nutritional needs.

It is important to note the following about elderly people:

  • Have a lower body water mass than a young adult so they are at a higher risk for dehydration.
  • Have a diminished sense of thirst so they may not always be aware that they are not drinking enough fluids. So you really want to push fluids, you want to encourage your elderly friend or relative to drink fluids throughout the day in between meals and when serving meals you want to include items that do have a high fluid content such as soups or stews, lots of fruits and lots of vegetables.
  • Some have special needs such as difficulty chewing or have dentures. In this case, you want to choose meats that are soft like ground meats, fish, or ground chicken. Also try finger foods for those people who may have trouble handling utensils, such as chicken tenders, string cheese, and sandwiches. If this person is still able to use utensils but they just still have a little bit of trouble say with their balance, choose some items that stick very easily to a utensil, things such as mashed potatoes, meatloaf, anything that is a very thick item and again make sure that you are really encouraging this person to drink fluids in between their meals.
  • Some have a lack of appetite or getting full very quickly so often it is best to have fluid in between meals, not exactly with the meal because they may get full on their beverage and not actually eat their food.

To summarize, be sure to encourage them to have fluids in between their meals, emphasize the fruits and the vegetables and make sure that they are able to handle their foods properly.

Our home caregiving services in Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky can keep a close watch on your seniors by helping them with meal preparations and encouraging them to keep hydrated. Contact us here for more information.

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Importance of Good Nutrition for Seniors

Nutrition is very important for seniors, especially since they are known to have changes in their digestive systems. They generate less saliva and stomach acid as they get older which makes it difficult for their bodies to process certain vitamins and minerals.

In addition to this, dietician, Elisa Zied, MS, RD, says many seniors develop nutritional problems when they have some major life changing event. They may not be paying attention to their own nutrition and that’s where they can get into trouble.

As the 73 year-old in the video states, she resorts to what’s easy to make which is typically processed foods such as Mexican, Chinese and other take-out menus. This type of diet is a recipe for danger, cautions dieticians.

A recent study, showed that up to 16% of the nation’s seniors may be under-nourished and some seniors consume as little as a thousand calories without realizing they need more.

Here are a few nutrition tips from the video to help the senior in your life live healthy:

  • Aim for at least 1,600 – 2,000 calories per day. Seniors need an average of this amount to meet their needs.
  • Add supplements to their diet. It becomes increasingly important as they get older, especially for vitamin D because there isn’t enough in their diet.
  • Good nutrition will improve senior’s lives and reduce your stress. Remember to focus on good nutrition because it will make them feel better, give them more energy, be more mentally alert, keep their bones strong, and allow them to do more things throughout the day to enjoy life.

Family Bridges’ caregiving services can keep a close watch on your seniors strict diet by preparing meals, reminding them to take their supplements and accomplishing their tasks throughout the day. Request more information about our services here.

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How to Take Care of the Late-Life Elder and Taking the Stress Out of It

In this TEDx talk, Amy O’Rourke discusses three areas in lowering stress that deserves attention:

  1. Denial of Reality– many of us deny the facts of people getting older because we dislike the thoughts and become shocked at the amount of stress of dealing with an aging parent when it happens.
  2. Knowing Basic Ground Rules
    • Don’t reverse the parental roles and boss your elder around. This can create tension and more stress.
    • Older people in hospitals don’t tend to get along. Get them out of it if they aren’t having surgery there.
    • Aging is a one way transition.
  3. Accepting it as a Lifestyle change. Whether your aging parent lives in the same city or not, the responsibility is there. Those that accept this usually have less stress. Since we live in a busy society, taking care of elders can be a benefit for you to slow down.

Amy brings out some great points when taking care of your elder parent. Using a combination of these ideas, along with our home care services, can make this transition easier on everyone. Give Family Bridges, a Cincinnati home health care agency, a call to set up a consultation to discuss how we can help.

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Thinking Differently About your Relationship with an Elderly Parent

In this video, various sons and daughters discuss how their role changed as their parents became older with issues such as Parkinson’s disease, memory problems, etc. Many see their parent as more of a friend until they start to age into an elder.

As you can see, it can be a difficult time when you start seeing your parents become older, requiring more help through daily life activities. Some contemplate on what the next step should be in taking care of them.

You may see your relationship slightly change with your senior parent early on. When this starts to happen, it is important to start talking to them about a care plan for the later years of their life. It will make the transition much easier on you and them, so they know what to expect as they continue in that direction with time.

Family Bridges is a Cincinnati based senior home care agency with many years of experience handling these issues. When you start to see signs requiring assistance, please call us for more information on how we can reduce the stress for everyone.

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