Q: My 80-year-old mother is having trouble remembering to take her medications, and needs help with light housekeeping and transportation to doctors’ appointments. Would hiring a home-care aid be a good step? If so, how do I find the right person for the job?
“Home care is clearly an option that’s growing in popularity,” says Senior Helpers CEO Larry Mason. Good questions to ask when you’re interviewing an agency offering this kind of service include:
- Are your workers bonded and insured in case of injury or mishap?
- How extensive are your criminal background and reference checks?
- Does your company have licensed, vocational nurses or registered nurses on staff?
- Can you send me detailed information describing your services and fees?
- What happens if my caregiver is unable to come at the appointed time, or if I am unhappy with the service?
“Studies indicate that 45 million U.S. households provide some form of care for an elderly loved one,” Mason says. “Of that number, 80 percent of adult children surveyed report emotional strain from caregiving for an aging parent, and 50 percent say they have missed work because of it.
“So, hiring the services of a home-care agency is clearly an investment you’ll be making not only for your mother’s welfare and peace of mind, but for your own as well.”
Larry Mason is president and CEO of Senior Helpers of Northeastern Ohio, a home-care agency based in Fairlawn. For a checklist of information to keep in mind when hiring a caregiver, visit freecareguide.com
Drop by drop
Many health experts agree that drinking more water will give you more energy (Mayo Clinic doctors recommend eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day to keep well-hydrated.)
Although water is the easiest and, well, clearest solution, all that H20 can be hard to swallow. Here are a few tricks that will leave your glass if not empty, at least half full:
- Make it a morning ritual. Downing two glasses of water after brushing your teeth will hydrate your body and set the momentum to continue drinking it throughout the day.
- Add lemon or lime. Just a twist gives plain water a touch of zest.
- Opt for water when you feel like munching. Thirst often masquerades as hunger. Drinking a cup or two will make you feel full.
- Always have a glass of water nearby when you’re working or watching TV. It will give you something to mindlessly sip when you need something to do with your hands.
Count sheep, shed pounds
Americans are weighing more and sleeping less. According to information released by Fairview Hospital, researchers asked 68,183 middle-aged nurses how long they slept in a 24-hour period. They were then asked about their weight every two years for 16 years. Those with the biggest risk for weight gain: Women who slept five or fewer hours a night. They gained about two pounds more than their colleagues who slept seven hours or more, and were 28 percent more likely to experience a weight increase of more than 30 pounds.
Think you don’t have time to work out? Here are eight easy ways to make exercise a part of your everyday life:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Walk or ride your bike for errands that are close by.
- Park the car 15 minutes away from your destination and enjoy the walk.
- On hold? While waiting to be connected to the person you’re calling, stand up and engage in lunges or squats.
- Do leg lifts or stretches while you’re watching TV.
- Tighten your abdominals while sitting or driving.
- At the office, walk down the hall to speak to a colleague, rather than using the e-mail or telephone.
- Instead of meeting your friends for dinner, get together for an evening walk or bike night.