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Author: host Created: 1/7/2009 3:03 PM
The AT Home Care blog is a forum for members of the AT Home Care team to share insight and experience related to the in home health care industry.

Activities that Stimulate the Brain and Strengthen Memory
By host on 9/14/2015 8:31 PM

Mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, is the medical term for minor, early stage memory loss. The condition falls somewhere between typical age-related memory decline and Alzheimer's disease. Memory problems, difficulty finding words, organizing or planning as well as a lack of initiative or motivation are all symptoms associated with cognitive decline. While age-related MCI is natural to some degree, over time it can lead to Alzheimer's.

Fortunately, there are countless activities that stimulate learning and strengthen cognitive ability. Various leisurely pursuits are believed to reduce the risk of MCI, exercise the brain and help with memory and cognitive functioning. Here are some fun brain stimulating activities to give a try…

Puzzles like Sudoku and crosswords challenge both logic and memory.

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Signs and Types of Cognitive Impairment
By host on 9/14/2015 8:20 PM

Cognitive dysfunction is a broad term for a variety of issues occurring in the elderly. From mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to dementia, there are several degrees and levels of cognitive dysfunction. Although at one point all were grouped into a single condition as part of the natural aging process, research shows each as unique with different causes, symptoms and treatments.

According to the CDC, cognitive decline is defined as trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating, or making decisions that affect everyday life. Cognitive impairment ranges from mild to severe. As the condition develops, a person may notice changes in their cognitive function, but still have success accomplishing everyday activities and living independently. More severe types of impairment can impact a person’s ability to control bodily movements, understand the meaning or importance of something, as well as affect speech and writing abilities.

Here is an overvi ...


How is Volunteering Beneficial for Seniors?
By host on 8/25/2015 7:19 AM

For many seniors retirement brings about mixed feelings—happiness for no longer being required to work, but restlessness about how to spend free time. Volunteering is an excellent way for seniors to occupy their spare time, while gaining a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Studies suggest that outreach activities influence a person’s social, emotional, and even physical well-being. Data also shows that one in five retired seniors believe that volunteering is the single most valuable thing that they do with their free time. The truth is that seniors have diverse skill sets and wisdom to offer as volunteers. They bring to the table a generation of life experience that is beneficial to others.

Every senior has their own reasons for volunteering their time, and the impacts of doing so are diverse from person to person. However, every senior gains some common benefits from volunteering. Here are some of advantages of volunteering…


Why is Advance Care Planning Important?
By host on 8/25/2015 6:19 AM

Advance care planning is the process of making important decisions about the care a person would like to receive in the event he or she can not speak for themselves. Many people put this off because it is a distressing topic to think about in advance. Other people simply think they’re too young or too healthy to be creating an advance care plan. However, a person of any age, in good health, can be faced with a crisis that takes their ability to make their own healthcare choices.

These decisions are fundamental for seniors, especially those who have not solidified an advance care plan. If you’re unfamiliar with the elements of advance care planning, the process is about making both legal and personal decisions about your future. There are several factors to consider. Below are some tips for finalizing an advance care plan.

First and foremost, complete an advance directive. These decisions are the foundatio ...


How to Tell if a Loved One May Need Alzheimer's or Dementia Care?
By host on 7/19/2015 9:28 AM

Discerning whether an aging loved one has crossed the line from the normal forgetfulness and missteps of advanced age into the dangerous realm of Alzheimer’s or dementia can be a difficult task, made more-so by the fact that many elders wish to continue independent living past the point that doing so is safe. By understanding the signs that can indicate that your loved one needs care, you’ll be better equipped to make this important judgment, and help your loved one live as long and satisfying a life as possible.

Warning areas

Medical professionals look at six key areas when determining a senior’s degree of dementia, and it’s these areas which one should look at for early signs that care may be necessary.

  • Memory. The most obvious symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer’s progression in most cases, problems with memory can quickly graduate from the min ...

Why Select In-Home Care for Seniors?
By host on 7/19/2015 9:23 AM

As the Baby Boomer generation continues to reach the age of 65 and older, more seniors than ever before are opting for in-home care. In fact, more than 2.4 million elderly or disabled patients now receive care in the home as a preferred form of treatment. These patients cover the spectrum of medical needs, including recovery from surgery to heart disease to recovery from injuries.

Responding to Benefits and Advantages

This growth in home care as a preferred form of treatment is due to a number of advantages and benefits. Aside from the psychological boost of being in the comforting environment of one’s home, there are a number of additional pluses for the patients, the caregivers, and the family.

These multiple benefits fall into several categories, including:

  • Independence: Many of today’s seniors are anxious to maintain their independence and sens ...

How to Arrange Hospice Care
By host on 7/19/2015 9:14 AM

Making the arrangements for hospice care can be a daunting task—by definition, it’s a system for making the last days of you or your loved one's life more comfortable. Keeping the process as simple and stress-free as possible should be a high priority, so below are tips to help you get started.

1. Determine Eligibility and Coverage.
First off, you’ll need to determine the patient’s eligibility for hospice care, and their eligibility for coverage under their insurance or other health program. Eligibility in the U.S. is limited to patients with terminal illnesses resulting in a diagnoses of 6 months or fewer to live—the diagnoses must be physician-certified, so make sure that’s handled.

For insurance, make sure to take note of limitations, special rules, and any other important factors before you move forward—depending on the coverage, the limitations may be strict or nonexi ...


Sundowner's Syndrome
By host on 4/29/2015 10:53 AM

What is Sundowner's Syndrome?

Sundowner's syndrome is the term to describe the combination of symptoms, like agitation, anxiety, confusion, irritability, mood changes, etc. that many seniors with dementia or cognitive impairment experience. The term “sundowner” appropriately hints towards the time of day these unfavorable symptoms tend to surface. While Sundowner's can strike at any time of day, for most seniors it appears in the late afternoon and early evening.

Medical research suggests that it is the shifting of the biological clock in seniors with dementia that makes them more susceptible to Sundowner’s. Since human’s natural circadian rhythms respond to the loss of sunlight during this time of day, it’s only natural to feel more depressed in the evening. These theories as they relate to Sundowner's symptoms do make sense. However, it's just a small glimpse to shed some light on this mysterious, and oftentimes misunderstood, condition.


Warm Weather Safety
By host on 4/29/2015 10:48 AM

Warm Weather Safety for Seniors

Hot weather and extreme temperatures can pose a threat for people of all ages. When a person’s body is unable to compensate for the heat and cool itself down properly, they experience heat-related illnesses. Summer sun and heat are particularly dangerous for the elderly, and those with chronic medical conditions are more at risk. Recent research indicates that nearly 40% of all heat-related deaths were among people over 65. Unfortunately, climate changes may increase these numbers even more in the upcoming years.

There are several reasons for a senior's vulnerability to heat. The elderly have a particularly hard time adjusting to changes in temperature. A person’s ability to recognize changes in body temperature also decreases with age. A senior is not nearly as aware of their body temperature as a younger adult. For a person on prescription medication, it can contribute to dehydration which intensifies the threat e ...


Pets + Seniors
By host on 4/29/2015 10:43 AM

Animals—Companions and Healers

Animals can have a special healing effect on people of all ages. While health care is typically viewed as a combination of diagnostics, procedures, and medications offered in a medical setting, animals are becoming more and more of a popular, yet unconventional alternative. In fact, research actually shows that animals have the unique ability to heal in ways different than traditional medicine.

Animal-assisted therapy and visiting animal programs are popular in hospitals, long-term care facilities and nursing homes across the country. Whether a senior is bedridden or handicapped, struggling with dementia symptoms or undergoing intensive rehabilitation, programs are available that draw on the kind, gentle nature of animals as a source of healing. Ever notice that many doctor offices have fish tanks in their waiting rooms? Research indicates that watching fish, turtles or other amphibians swim can help patients relax.


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