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What Kinds of Challenges Does Aging in Place Bring?

Your senior might have expressed her desire to age in place, but does she fully understand what that means? In some cases, there may be bigger challenges involved in aging in place than in shifting to another living situation. Big decisions might need to be made that focus on what’s truly best for your senior and her unique needs.

Mobility Can Become a Bigger Issue

Your senior may gradually become less active when she’s aging in place. This can lead to faster loss of muscle tone, which is a big problem. This affects your senior’s ability to continue to be as active as she wants to be, which then becomes a big loop of loss. Ultimately, your elderly family member may find that she’s far less mobile than she needs to be.

Sensory Issues Become More Challenging

There are also sensory changes that your elderly family member might not notice or account for. Vision and hearing loss both impact not only your senior’s ability to see and to hear what is going on around her, but also how her brain functions. Your senior may need additional help with making sure that her home is bright enough and that she’s able to account for hearing changes.

Cognitive Changes May Go Unnoticed Longer

With age, your senior may find that her brain starts to work differently than it did in the past. Her judgment might change and her ability to solve problems, even ones related to her own well-being, is hindered. Sometimes this is due to dementia, but it can also be a result of aging. Noticing these changes is the key to early detection of treatable problems.

Fall Risk Can Increase

Your elderly family member’s fall risk can also be a lot higher in a situation where she’s aging in place. You’ll need to work with her to identify and correct tripping hazards so that you can help her to avoid falling. In other living arrangements, your senior may have greater incentive to maintain strength and flexibility, which are both key to avoiding a fall.

One of the tools your senior is going to need in order to successfully age in place is assistance from you and other family members, but also assistance from a home care provider. This ensures that your aging family member’s needs are properly met and that you’ve got an early warning about situations that could be harmful for her.


Employee of the Month – January 2021

Please welcome us in congratulating the January 2021 Golden Heart Senior Care employee of the month, Kelli Wilkerson. Golden Heart is very fortunate to have Kelli as a team member. Kelli is always one to go above and beyond the call of duty for her clients and the company. She definitely makes a difference in the lives of her clients.

Thank you so much Kelli!!!

Ask for Help Before You Feel Overwhelmed

You love your parents and want the best for them. For that reason, you’re focusing your energy on being their family caregiver. You plan to be there as much as possible to help them with daily activities.

Even if you quit your job, being a family caregiver can be a lonely, thankless job. Your parents may not always act appreciative of the help you give. You may experience the opposite and grow closer.

Many caregivers spend more hours helping their parents than socializing with friends and immediate family members. You can find the right balance. Learn how to ask for help so that you don’t become overwhelmed or isolated.

Ask Your Parents for Input

Your parents need to be comfortable with the idea of relying on others. It can be a difficult step for them to take. They like their independence.

They trust you and aren’t certain they want you to have additional help. Make sure they know you need the help. Ask them what would help them feel at ease with a new caregiver.

Make sure they understand that asking for help is not a sign of weakness. They wouldn’t hesitate to help a grandchild who can’t tie a shoe. They shouldn’t hesitate to accept help from others.

Gather Your Family for a Team Effort

Gather your family members and close friends. Talk about the care your parents need and see if anyone can help out. Friends may be willing. Your siblings should be helping.

It doesn’t always work that way. If you can create a care team, your parents have more chances to socialize. It gives you time to focus on your own mental, emotional, and physical care as well.

Schedule Carefully

Create care plans that can be shared in online calendars that others can view and edit. You take your mom to a doctor’s appointment. A follow-up appointment is scheduled on a day you cannot get off work. Put it on the schedule and note that a driver/escort is needed that day.

Be prepared for sudden schedule changes. Someone may wake up with a stomach bug or a car that refuses to start. If that happens, you may need to have home care services send a professional caregiver to fill the gap. Respite care becomes an important part of your care plan.

It’s great that you want to be the main caregiver for your parents. It’s not good to dedicate so much time that you lose track of your own needs. Arrange home care services to make sure you’re able to take breaks.

Home care aides can help out while you take a day off, go on vacation, or attend to your self-care needs. Call a home care specialist to find out how to get started.


What Should You Do if Your Senior Says Food Tastes Strange?

There are a few reasons your aging family member might stop eating some of her favorite foods. One of the biggest can be a sudden experience where your elderly family member finds that food tastes different than she expects. You might be able to figure out some workarounds for this issue, but it’s important to rule out health problems first.

Talk to Her Doctor

Any time that your senior is noticing some big changes to how she experiences food, it’s important to look a little more closely. Some health issues can cause food to taste different, and some medications have side effects that affect taste. Your senior’s doctor can help you to look for and find a resolution for those issues.

Check for Dental Issues

If your elderly family member has any dental issues, they can significantly affect how her food tastes. Diagnosing these issues and getting them treated can help her to regain her normal responses to her favorite foods. More importantly, getting dental issues resolved helps your senior to stay as healthy as possible and hopefully allows her to keep her teeth in good working order.

Try Different Foods or Cooking Methods

For situations that are more permanent, you may need to try something else. Seeking out different recipes can be a good idea. You might be able to recreate your senior’s favorite flavors in another way, especially if she’s had to give up certain cooking methods, like frying. Using a greater variety of seasonings and herbs can also help quite a bit.

Make Sure She’s Getting Plenty of Water

Dehydration can also affect your senior’s sense of taste. This is especially true if she’s facing side effects from medications that contribute to losing more fluid than she’s taking in. It’s important to have a water goal for your senior but start small and work your way up to larger amounts. Talk to your elderly family member’s doctor about how much water she should aim to get in every day.

Often when faced with difficulties like this, aging adults opt to do things like stop eating or eat foods that are seriously lacking in nutrition. It might feel like too much work to your elderly family member to find a solution. Having senior care providers taking over meal preparation duties can be a huge help for your elderly family member and may make her more amenable to trying new solutions.


Helping your Parent live with COPD

COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) is a common illness for senior citizens. COPD is characterized by persistent airflow limitation that is usually gets worse over time, causing the lungs to get inflamed as they respond to the presence of noxious particles or gases in the airways and lungs. COPD is most often brought on by years of smoking or exposure to toxic air chemicals. Symptoms include a chronic cough, labored breathing and an excess amount of phlegm that needs to be expelled from the lungs.

If your parent has been diagnosed with COPD, you might be looking at how you can make her home as safe and healthy as possible for her. COPD can be managed and those diagnosed with it can still live in the home but as a caregiver for an aging parent either living alone or with her partner, you may need to help her set up some new rules around the home to help her lungs stay clear and manageable.

No Smoking Zone

If your parent is a smoker, now is the time to finally have her stop smoking. Smoking will only continue to make her condition worse causing her lungs to get more inflamed and not be able to function properly. If your parent diagnosed with COPD lives with another person who smokes, that person will have to stop smoking in the home. Second-hand smoke can also do harm to your parent’s lungs. Any visitors should not be allowed to smoke in the home as well. Have yourself or your elderly care provider create a sign that goes on the front door explaining that no smoking is allowed. This will help your parent not have to be so confrontational with visitors.

Maintain Good Air Quality Inside

In addition to not letting anyone smoke inside the home, eliminate all items that may create fumes or strong smells in the home. If your parent has enjoyed lighting incense or candles to perfume her home, that will need to be eliminated going forward. Also, ask guests to not wear heavy perfumes or colognes while visiting. Don’t forget to mention this request to your parent’s elderly care provider as well.

Stay Inside When Necessary

Depending on where you live, outside air quality may be an issue. There are apps or weather alerts to alert communities of poor air quality. You can help your elderly parent program one of these to alert her when the outside air quality is not safe for her to do outdoor activities. Having an elderly care provider hired to run errands or perform outside chores when the air quality is not ideal will give your parent the ability to stay inside when needed. Your parent will also want to make sure windows and doors are closed on days when the air quality is especially bad outside.

Visit the Doctor Regularly

Having your parent maintain a consistent visiting schedule with her doctor will help her and you manage her disease and stay on top of any developments that may come up. Put the appointments on your parent’s calendar and then make sure you have transportation lined up for your parent’s visit, whether that’s provided by you, your elderly care provider or someone else.
Encourage your parent to be proactive in how she manages her COPD going forward. It can be a difficult disease to live with but with the proper precautions and regulations, she’ll still be able to stay at home while living with COPD.



First COVID-19 Vaccination

Christy Swadkins, Owner Golden Heart Senior Care

Golden Heart Senior Care is thankful and grateful that several team members and I got our first round of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccination. The second shot is scheduled in about three weeks. Other Golden Heart team members are scheduled to receive their shots in the very near future.

The effort by the SNHD team was amazing at Western High School. I was in an out in about 30-minutes, including the mandatory 15-minute wait time. My experience was similar to getting a flu shot, a sore arm and nothing else at this point.

I want to say “Bravo” to the human test subjects, scientists, doctors, nurses and all the others who made this possible!

Tai Chi Benefits for Your Elderly Loved One

If your elderly loved one would like to or needs to improve their health, one of the things that could help them to do this is tai chi. This is an exercise that has so many amazing benefits. Learning more about these benefits can help you to get your elderly loved one into doing tai chi.

Easily Reduce Stress

Has your elderly loved one been living with high levels of stress? Maybe they get stressed because they don’t know what to do with their life. They might also get stressed due to financial issues, relationship issues, or any other reason. No matter why your elderly loved one is stressed, research shows that tai chi can help to easily reduce stress. This exercise doesn’t put a lot of stress on the joints either, so it will help with reducing physical stress on the body, as well.

Strengthening Joints

Does your elderly loved one have pain or discomfort in their joints? If so, then strengthening their joints could help to reduce some or even all of that pain. There are numerous ways that your elderly loved one could strengthen their joints. One of the best and even fun ways for them to do this is by doing tai chi. Research shows that tai chi strengthens joints when it is done regularly. Maybe you or one of the home care providers could help your elderly loved one to come up with a routine for when they will do tai chi.

Improving Strength in the Lower Body

Your elderly loved one could also improve the strength in their lower body by doing tai chi. This means that not only will your elderly loved one have less pain in their legs, feet, knees, and ankles, but these areas will be stronger, as well. Having more strength in the lower body can also help to reduce the risk of falls.

Improving Balance

As just mentioned, one of the great things about an elderly person doing tai chi is that it reduces their risk of falls. This is mostly because the strength they gain in their lower body helps to improve their balance. When your elderly loved one is more stable on their feet, there is less of a chance that they will trip and/or fall.


These are just some tai chi benefits for your elderly loved one. If they want a way to improve their health, you and the home care providers should encourage them to do tai chi regularly. These benefits are enough for anyone to want to try out tai chi.