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National Family Caregivers Month

November is set aside for family caregivers.  Caregivers are those family members or friends who provide long-term, unpaid care and assistance to older adults.  As a caregiver, you could care for chronic health problems or disabilities.  Likewise, you could care for a person having trouble managing daily routines.

What would you do as a caregiver?  You would typically help manage bills, shop, cook as well as help with bathing and dressing. 

If you guessed that a large number of caregivers are women you would be correct.  The CDC estimates that about 58% of caregivers are women.  Additionally, close to one-third of the caregivers work at least 20 hours a week.  

The ages that require care based on information from the CDC are interesting.  There are about 79% of caregivers who care for adults ages 50 and up. For those ages 65 and older it is 76%.

You may have noticed that the US population is aging.  Consequently the number of caregivers is increasing.  From 2015 to 2020 the number of caregivers has gone from 43 million to 53 million. That number is expected to continue to climb.

Below are some suggestions from the CDC on how best to support a caregiver:

You can pitch in with chores, errands or tasks.

Make sure the caregiver has emotional support.

You could work out times to check on the caregiver’s well being.

Help them to be sure to manage their own health care.

Be available if they need help coming up with a care plan.

Reach out and let them know there are mental health services available. 

Private Home Health Care knows that caring for loved ones with health issues can be difficult.   We support and respect family caregivers.  We offer our services if there comes a time when you need additional help.

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National Fig Week

This week is National Fig week. This fruit, but not technically a fruit, is shaped like a teardrop and packed with delicious flavors and good health benefits.

Health Benefits:

Figs are a great source of vitamins.  Vitamin A, B1 and B2.  Minerals too.  Manganese, potassium, iron and phosphorus.

Your digestive system can benefit from figs.  They are full of fiber and can help you regulate.

If you are diabetic figs are a great snack.  They are sweet and the potassium helps to keep your blood sugar level even.

Looking for calcium? Figs are a wonderful source.  Great for your bones!

Most figs are exported.  The countries who export are Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Iran and Spain.  The season is late spring to early summer.  

California also produces figs and that can make the season a bit longer.  Often you can find figs through early fall.  Don’t forget about dried figs!  These are an option and available for much of the year.

If you do buy fresh figs here’s a few tips on storage:

Figs will last on your counter for 2-3 days.

Ripe figs are a bit wrinkled and saggy.

You should eat them at room temperature for best taste.

It’s ok to store your figs in the refrigerator.  

Make sure you put them in a veggie crisper or loosely wrapped them in plastic.

Consume the figs within 2 weeks if in the fridge.

Private Home Health Care wishes it was fig season.   Enjoy them raw or in a recipe.  We’ll have to make due with dried figs for now and wait for the next season to enjoy them fresh!

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It’s Halloween!

Private Home Health Care would like to wish everyone a very Happy Halloween!

It has become such a popular holiday with candy, costumes, decorations and celebrations in the United States costing a little over $10 billion dollars!

According to history.com, the day began as a Celtic festival of Samhain (SaH-win).  Bonfires were lit and costumes were worn.  The people wanted to keep away ghosts. Samhain was seen as a time that the physical world and the spiritual world barriers would be broken down.

Fast forward hundreds of years to the 1950’s.  That’s the time that the holiday started to center around children and giving out treats.  

Today children dress up and celebrate in school and by trick-or-treating in neighborhoods.  There’s usually a contest to see who can collect the most candy.  We know a lot of grown-ups who like to dress up and celebrate the holiday too.  It’s fun for everyone!

Question:  when you were growing up, were you someone who ate their candy quickly or did you save it so you could have it for a month or so?

We hope you all have a hauntingly fun Halloween!  Enjoy!

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National First Responder’s Day

This is a fairly new national day as it just started in 2019 with a resolution from Congress. October 28 was designated as National First Responder’s Day.

Who are our country’s first responders?  

They are in all of our communities.  

They are men and women who deal with crises on a daily basis as their primary job.  You will find firefighters, police officers. emergency medical technicians, paramedics and 911 operators on the list. 

Do you know any of these people in your neighborhood, town or city?

On this day we are to honor and thank our first responders.  You never know when you will need their services but there could come a day when you do. First responders are always ready to help if the urgent call comes in.

Additionally, we especially want to remember those first responders who have lost their lives. There were many who sacrificed their lives during the 2011 terror attacks.  In 2020 in Worcester, Massachusetts there were 6 firefighters who lost their lives.  

Recently in the past two years our police officers have been under fire and it has become an even more dangerous profession.

How can you thank a first responder?

You could go big and organize a community reception.

Organize a blood drive for EMS week.

Drop off a thank you note to your local EMS office.

TIe some yellow, white and blue ribbons around a tree to home EMS

Say thank you by buying a coffee or dropping off a gift certificate.

Private Home Health Care has great respect for first responders.  Tunnel to Towers Foundation is one group that is dedicated to helping first responders and their families.

Thank you to all the first responders who help us every day!

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Games for the Elderly

Today Private Home Health Care is sharing information on the importance of keeping our minds and bodies functioning through games.

As we age our memory and activity level can become challenged.  We can get lonely too.

You can choose activities to help promote your thinking and cognitive (reasoning) functions. If you are mentally stimulated this can help.  Crosswords and Sudoku are great but usually these are done alone.  

To help with feeling lonely it’s good to do activities with others.  In order to do this there are three areas to focus on:

  1. Games to keep your mind busy and functioning.  They can improve your memory;.
  2. Activities to get your outside and keep you physically fit.
  3. Friends. Participate by playing with a friend.  It can help you with loneliness.

Here are some ideas:

Scrabble

Chess

Golf

Walking

Bowling

Card games

Jigsaw puzzles

Dominoes

Many of these games are available online too.  You may need a family member or friend to find the best website for you.  There are many possibilities.

Private Home Health Care wants us all to stay active in both mind and body.  You might find that games can bring a lot of fun to life as well!

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Anticancer Lifestyle Program

Meg Hirshberg is the founder of this program. During the month of October there is a lot of money raised for Breast Cancer Awareness month.  This money for research is awesome.  Meg is a believer in cancer prevention as well which is why she started this program.

Her program believes that there are 5 areas that can improve your life and help prevent cancer.

They are:

Change – can you look at your life and try to make changes or adjustments?

Mindset – are you able to practice mindfulness and see choices for a new way of life?

Diet – are you ready to review your diet and make simple changes if needed?

Fitness – what type of activities do you like?  How can you get more active?

Environment – are you exposed to toxins that you can reduce?  

This anticancer lifestyle program is free of charge and available online.  Donations are accepted however.

While Private Home Health Care is not endorsing this program we do want to make you aware of it.  The program may be something you might find helpful to your life.  

Here is the URL:  https://anticancerlifestyle.org/

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National Mammography Day

Today this third Friday of October is National Mammography Day.  

Private Home Health Care spoke about different tests for early detection of breast cancer.  Mammography was one of them.  It is so important for you to be able to detect any breast cancer early.  The earlier it is detected the better the prognosis.

There are three types of mammograms:

Conventional mammogram –  this is a low dose x-ray that you have yearly after age 45. You probably have experienced this test.  It is not lengthy but it gets very uncomfortable at times.

Digital mammography – a digital test uses electronic conductors to show the interior of your breast. There is no film involved. Radiologists can manipulate the image.  You need to check with your insurance company on coverage.

3-D Mammography – This is called tomosynthesis.  The test takes multiple images of your breast to create a 3-D view.  These are not found at every medical facility yet. Check with your insurance company on this one too.

Conventional Mammograms are the standard.  The Digital and 3-D versions are not as prevalent and may not be needed for everyone.  Check with your medical professional. 

Mammograms are very important.  If you do not have insurance or need any assistance the Centers for Disease for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a program to help.  You can call 1–800–CDC–INFO (1–800–232–4636) or go to the website:  https://nccd.cdc.gov/dcpc_Programs/index.aspx#/1

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Conditions that Mimic Breast Cancer

Private Home Health Care is continuing today with our discussion around breast cancer awareness.

Today we are focusing on some conditions that could mimic breast cancer. 

You could have any of the following symptoms and they could very well be benign:

Fibroadenoma – You would feel something firm and rubbery and the size of a marble.  It should not hurt. If it changes or grows you may need a biopsy. It is often a benign tumor.  

Intraductal Papilloma – this type of benign tumor is wart-like and usually found near milk ducts.  You may feel a small lump behind your nipple or next to it.  It could lead to some discharge, either clear or bloody. These can be removed by surgery if needed.

Fibrosis and Cysts – Fibrosis is when your breasts thicken and there is a rubbery or firmness you feel.  A cyst is a small bump that is moveable and full of liquid.  Depending on the liquid your doctor may want to run a test.  If either causes discomfort your doctor can advise you to relieve it.

Mastitis – if you are breastfeeding you could develop mastitis.  Your breast could become warm, red and very sore.  You may even run a fever.  There are antibiotics available for this.

Fat Necrosis – is a very damaged fatty tissue in your breast due to injury.  There could also be blood loss.  Your skin around the area may look red or bruised.  These are harmless but could cause discomfort.

Private Home Health Care shared this information because we believe awareness is key to good health.  Be sure to reach out to your medical professional if you have any questions.

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Infection Protection Week

This week is International Infection Protection Week.  We have this week thanks to Ronald Reagan who made the proclamation back in 1986.

Over the past two years, you and I have been dealing with Covid-19. There are boosters available for those people at risk or for anyone who chooses to get one.

Believe it or not, there are other infections out in our world as well.  You can get a common cold and that can make you feel miserable.  I’ve heard of a fast moving virus going around and then of course there is always the flu.  Flu shot season is here if you are interested.

Basically we have to live our lives but there are some ways to try and avoid all different kinds of infections.  A simple washing of hands can go a long way to keep us well.

  • You can wash your hands before you eat.
  • You should have clean hands whenever you prepare and serve food.
  • After a bathroom break is a great time to wash your hands.
  • Any time you cough (if you can’t cough into your elbow), have a runny nose or you’re sneezy, make sure to wash your hands.

I think there are many moms, dads and teachers telling this to their children and students but it’s good for all of us!

Likewise, immunizations are an important way to keep healthy.  Be sure to get in touch with your doctor to check that all of your or your children’s immunizations are current.  Additionally, there are a lot of good antibiotics available today that are options too.

Private Home Health Care hopes that you can wash your hands and stay well this season.  If you do get sick be sure to stay home and rest and if needed, get in touch with your medical professional. Take good care of yourself.

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Breast Cancer Myths

You may have heard of some things that will increase your risk for breast cancer.  Private Home Health Care would like to share a few of the myths.  These were in Medical News Today back in October of 2021.

These do not answer the question of why we contract breast cancer but rather sheds light on areas that are not as important as we may have thought.

An injury to your breast can cause breast cancer.  

  • While your breast can feel different and register as a lump on a mammogram there is no evidence to show that this will cause cancer.

If you wear an underwire bra your risk for cancer increases. 

  • The wire can irritate the skin underneath and some doctors don’t like them for that reason but that’s all.

In vitro fertilization procedures have not shown to increase your risk for breast cancer.  

  • Observational studies over the past 30 years has not shown any difference in women who have gone through IVF versus the general population.

Without a family history of breast cancer it does not mean that you won’t get it.  

  • Unfortunately, while there is an increased risk for those of us with a medical history of breast cancer in our family, it doesn’t let us off the hook.  You have no guarantee that you won’t get the disease.

You can get breast cancer from stress.

  • Stress can be all around us at times.  It can affect your health so you should manage it well but it has not been proven that it increases your chance of breast cancer.

Private Home Health Care hopes these are helpful tips.  You can go online to discover more myths.

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