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Older Driver Safety Awareness Week

This first week in December has us thinking about our seniors and driving.  The CDC states that there are 44 licensed drivers over the age of 65 currently in the United States.

If you are a senior driver, what are ways that you can continue to drive safely?

As you age, driving can get more challenging.   Your vision or hearing may have changed.  It could be more difficult to drive at night.  

Additionally, if you have arthritis or another medical condition that can make driving more difficult.

It’s most important for you to know yourself and your capabilities.  If you are feeling uncomfortable it may be time to scale back or stop driving.  There are however ways to help you drive safely.

  • Have your vision and hearing checked regularly.
  • Stay physically active.  This will help with your reflexes and strength.
  • Try to drive a car with an automatic transmission.  Shifting can be distracting as you age.
  • Avoid driving at times that are difficult for you.  Nighttime or heavy traffic times may be best to avoid.  Bad weather is a sign to stay home too.
  • Plan your route and don’t crowd other drivers.  Be sure to leave extra space between cars in front of you.

Your independence as you age is important.  We all understand that but your safety is also important so try and be aware of your abilities.

If you have a loved one that you are concerned about, please try to talk with them to see if anything needs to be done differently or changed..  

Private Home Health Care recommends checking in with your doctor if you have concerns.  This is a very busy time of year and people are rushing at times.  We want you to keep yourself safe when you are on the road.  Stay safe.


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Getting through the Holiday Season

Are you thinking what we are thinking?  The holidays are upon us once again.  How do we make it through all the preparations and still enjoy them?

Hanukkah begins on December 7 and as everyone surely knows Christmas will be upon us again on December 25. 

Both holidays involve traditions, food, presents and church or temple for some.  There are also a lot of expectations with both holidays.  It is such a busy time for all of us. 

How do we keep our sanity and enjoy the festivities and remember the true meaning of the holidays?

Lists – a list of what is needed from food, to drinks, to presents can save our brains.

Pre-Baking – if you have food to be served that can be baked ahead and frozen, do it!

A Budget – spend what you can afford.  If you set up a fund for the holiday, try your best to stick to it.   You’ll be very happy in January. 

Patience – you will need patience shopping, driving anywhere (everyone seems to be in a hurry) and with each other.

Take Care of Yourself – everything costs more this year.  If you need to cut back on things, do it and don’t feel guilty.  If you need help, ask for it. 

The holidays can be a special time with family and friends.  For those of you in a senior center or a nursing facility, try and gather with your neighbors. Hopefully friends and family can visit but be sure to remember and share your memories and see if you can make new ones.

We at Private Home Health Care are trying to take one day at a time this season.  We hope to spread good holiday cheer and patience to all we meet.

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Louisa May Alcott’s Birthday

Louisa May Alcott is a famous author from the 19th century.  Her most well known book has been read by generations of women and it’s a book that you can read more than once.

That book is titled Little Women, a book written in 1868.  Have you read it?   

Louisa was born on November 29, 1832 and she led an interesting life.  She was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Her parents were religious and believed in children enjoying their learning.

She started early with reading and writing, mostly through homeschooling. Did you know that along with learning from her parents, Louisa was also schooled by Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathanial Hawthorne.  Pretty impressive.

While she was growing up her family ran into financial difficulties.  Louisa was forced to work and because of this she began to write.  This helped her financially and emotionally.

Additionally, Louisa worked as a nurse during the Civil War and actually contracted typhoid fever. She wrote the Hospital Sketches based on her experiences as a patient and as a nurse.  It was written under the name A.M. Barnard.  This book was read by both adults and children.

In 1868, her publisher asked her to write a book for young women.  Having grown up in a family of four girls with some trials and tribulations, she had the perfect setting.  Her women were strong heroines, not typical of that time.

As an adult, Louisa was part of the suffragist movement and she wrote for publications that focused on women’s vote.  

Louisa adopted her niece and moved to Boston where she suffered from various illnesses.  She continued to write additional stories from Little Women until she died at the young age of 56 years old.

Private Home Health Care has very fond memories of the book Little Women.  If you have not read it yet, give it a try.  It’s a wonderful book.

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National Roasting Month

Did you happen to cook or enjoy eating a roasted turkey or roast beef for Thanksgiving?  If so, you participated in National Roasting Month whether you realized it or not.

You can roast any time of year but November is the month because of all the turkeys roasted at Thanksgiving.  If you have an oven, you can roast.

Roasting is not just for meats!  There are so many vegetables that can be roasted.  Roasting makes your vegetables delicious for their crispness and because you can add your favorite spices.  

Additionally, you get good amounts of vitamins B and C from roasting.  Both vitamins protect you from infections but vitamin B also helps with cell health, brain function and digestion.  Vitamin C helps form blood vessels, cartilage and muscle.

One thing to remember is that roasting can take a bit longer than steaming or boiling your vegetables.  If you have an air fryer, check cooking times because they will vary from a conventional oven.

If you haven’t roasted anything but meat or potatoes, try some vegetables.  Carrots, brussel sprouts, broccoli, onions and peppers lend themselves easily to roast.  

Private Home Health Care hopes you enjoy #NationallRoastingMonth and set your oven to roast something you haven’t roasted before!    

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Your Medical Care and Appointments

What a busy time of year you are in! There are so many advertisements for “special deals”, activities and general busyness. 

You could have doctor’s appointments scheduled. You don’t need to feel additional stress from them.  It can be a lot to juggle so here are a few ideas to help you manage your medical life.

First, be sure you have a working calendar to keep track of important dates.  Keep the calendar in a central place and check it daily.

Next, prepare for your visit to the doctor. Share any health problems or changes in your habits or medications.  Perhaps have 3 or 4 questions prepared ahead as well.

It can be hard to remember all that a doctor tells you.  You can take notes or get a printout of the visit from your doctor.  Don’t be afraid to ask the doctor to repeat something.

If you need any treatments, have a discussion with your doctor on any risks and costs. Are there any options on treatments?

Are you hard of hearing?  Be sure you ask your doctor to speak up or repeat so you can understand any information shared.

Additionally, if you are feeling rushed or uncomfortable let the doctor know.  The time was set up for you and the doctor may need a reminder of its importance to you.

We here at Private Home Health Care want you to be a strong advocate in your medical life.  Don’t be afraid to make sure your doctor supports you as best they can.

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Private Home Health Care wishes all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving.

We wonder if back in 1621 the Pilgrims from England and the Wampanoag Native Americans indigenous to the land knew the tradition they were starting!

The holiday continued over many years, from 1621, to George Washington’s time through Abraham Lincoln all the way up to today.  

The day of the holiday however, has changed over the years.  For example, Thanksgiving has been on a Friday in the past and also on the last Thursday in November.

It wasn’t officially the fourth Thursday in November until the time of Franklin D. Roosevelt.  While he was President, Congress signed the law making Thanksgiving the next to last Thursday in November. 

Our wish for all is that you feel very blessed this holiday.  We hope that you are able to share a meal and time with family, friends or a group of familiar people.


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Bereavement and the Holidays

Today as you and I prepare for the upcoming holidays we may be experiencing a loss in our lives.  Feelings can be a bit overwhelming during these special times and we may not know how to carry on.

Each of us goes through common stages of grief:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

Whatever stage of loss you may be experiencing there are some suggested ways in order to help you cope better.

Practice self-care, meaning make sure you are eating, getting sleep and being good to yourself.  It may help to meditate or pray.  It might help to walk outside.  Try and do what works for you.

Try to get back to your routine.  A loss can cause confusion and you may feel out of sync.  Try to adapt or re-establish your  routine.

You will have many emotions.  Try to be conscious of them and allow yourself to feel them.  You may need to cry.  You might want to remember good memories.  Allow yourself to feel.

Do not forget the other people in your life.  Be sure that you do not isolate yourself because family and friends can be wonderful support.  

Furthermore, finding a grief support group may be a way to help you. Groups are offered at local counseling centers or councils on aging groups in your town.  Attending a support group more frequently during the holidays may help you.

Private Home Health Care understands loss and the grief that accompanies loss. We wish you patience and peace during these holidays.  Try to be gentle and good to yourself as you move through the holidays.

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Long-Term Care

For those over the age of 65, there is a 70% chance that you will be in need of long-term care at some point in your life. 

The month of November established National Long-Term Care to offer support to those of you who are caretakers.  Long-term care can be very stressful. 

If you are a caregiver your average age is 46.  You have likely had to change your work schedule.  On average you spend 21 hours providing care. You may have even skipped a vacation because you were the person responsible for the care.

How then do you take care of yourself if you are the main caregiver for a family member or a friend?

Here are some tips from Caring Bridge, a website created for people to share information on day-to-day short or long-term care.

  • First, rally family, friends and those in your community for support.  You don’t need to do it all by yourself.  People will help in a variety of ways.
  • Next, make sure you take care of your basic needs like eating, sleeping, exercising, doing something you enjoy.  
  • Give yourself some appreciation.  Caring without feeling appreciated can be difficult.  You can join an online support group.  If you are comfortable, reach out to friends and let them know your trials and ask for support.
  • Do you forgive yourself and practice gratitude? You don’t need to be perfect.  You are doing the best you can and you need to be mindful of that.
  • You should accept help from others when offered.  This can be difficult but in the long run you get a break and some time to relax.  
  • Finally, find some hobbies for yourself.  Caregiving is important but it doesn’t need to define you.  A hobby can help on many levels.

Private Home Health Care understands how difficult long-term care can be.  We hope those of you in that situation make sure to take care of yourself too.


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Sweet Potatoes

This month we are thinking about sweet potatoes and wondering if you have even tried them?

We have long been aware of the many varieties of white potatoes available.  There are colorfully named potatoes like red, white and yellow. Likewise, russet and fingerling are two more names.

Like us, you have probably heard about the root vegetable sweet potatoes.  Yes, you may be surprised but they are actually a root vegetable and not in the potato family.   

We have a new found love of this vegetable.  You easily find them in the grocery store in funny shapes and with lots of bumps.  Don’t let those scare you.  They cook up great!

You can bake a sweet potato just like a white potato or in the oven with your favorite spices.  Likewise, the air fryer is a great way for you to cook them and enjoy delicious and healthy fries.  Sweet potatoes are very versatile..

Why eat sweet potatoes?  They are packed with lots of good nutrients and a diabetic friendly food eaten in moderation.

Sweet potatoes give you few calories, little fat, protein, manageable carbs and fiber, soluble and insoluble.  

Let’s talk about the vitamins  in a sweet potato.  You’ll get healthy amounts of beta-carotene, vitamin C, and potassium.  Additionally, your body will get manganese and vitamins, B5, B6 and E.  

That’s a lot of goodness in one vegetable!

Private Home Health Care loves to eat sweet potatoes.  We are so happy that we can easily find them in local grocery stores and at farmer’s markets.  This month try a sweet potato if it’s new to you.  You will hopefully be pleasantly surprised!


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Loosen Up, Lighten Up Day

Tuesday, November 14th is Loosen Up, Lighten Up Day.  It’s a day for you to try and live stress free, if only for a little while.

Life can bring you ups and downs.  You are entering the season where there can be additional stressors with Thanksgiving and the holidays in December.

On Tuesday, do your best to focus on each moment in your life. Work on not planning far ahead.  If you make a list, have one goal then set it aside.

Give yourself permission to take a break.  Take a walk, have coffee with a friend, read a book.  Do something that you will enjoy.

Is your family at school?  You might use that time.  Is there a time between clients or patients?  What about quiet time at the senior center or your nursing home?  

This day is meant to relax you for as much time as possible.   It doesn’t need to be all day.  Find what works for you.

You could try meditation or yoga!  Meditation has been around for centuries.  Those people long ago and today who meditate must be on to something.

Stress can upset our minds and hurt our bodies.  The older we get the harder it can be to relax.  We have more ailments and it may be harder for us day-to-day.  

Use this day tomorrow to forget it all and have some fun.  Do some exercises, even if they have to be done using a chair.  There are no wrong answers if you can find time to let it all go for a while.

Private Home Health Care knows how stressful life can be at times.  Try to find a way “loosen and lighten up and enjoy some relaxation! 🙂

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