Friday, 20 August 2021 12:26

Early Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease

There are 5.7 million people in the United States living with Alzheimer’s Disease, an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. This heartbreaking disease not only robs people of their quality of life, it is also the sixth leading cause of death. 

Recently, researchers released some very exciting news: Significant progress has been made on a method of diagnosis using artificial intelligence that could catch Alzheimer’s up to six years before a clinical diagnosis can be made!

If your loved one has Alzheimer’s Disease, an early diagnosis can greatly improve both their quality and quantity of years. Typically, by the time enough symptoms manifest to make a diagnosis, a great deal of damage has already been done. The benefits of early diagnosis are many:

  • Rule out other illnesses. Many of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease can also be present with other conditions , a lot of which can be treated.
  • Treatment. While Alzheimer’s Disease has no cure, the progression can be slowed and the symptoms delayed with proper treatment. Imagine what a difference 6 years could make!
  • Time. Of course, slowing down the progression of this devastating illness offers valuable time. During this time, valuable memories can be preserved and new ones created.
  • Preparation. Knowing that there may be difficult days ahead, early diagnosis can give families time to discuss upcoming decisions while the person with Alzheimer’s Disease is better able to participate.
  • Financial reasons. On a personal level, there Is more time to prepare financially and possible benefits to individuals who are still in the workforce. On a national level, early diagnosis leads to treatment that begins in the stages of mild impairment, this would save well over $7 trillion dollars.
  • Support. Early diagnosis gives the family more time to garner support, to learn about what to expect and to get safety measures in place.

While the full development of this new diagnostic method is still in progress, there is a reason to hope. In the meantime, if you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms that could be Alzheimer’s Disease, we urge you to speak to your physician soon; early diagnosis and treatment means so very much!

Alzheimer’s is heartbreaking. It is irreversible and progressive, and it slowly destroys the memory and thinking process of the individual. Recent studies reveal that more than 5.5 million American citizens have it and it is ranked as the 6th leading cause of death in the US. It severely alters the life of the person who has the disease as well as those around them.

If you are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, here are some facts that only those doing so know to be true:

  • It’s a personal and unique journey: There will be no end to the advice, ideas and criticism that others will share with you. Realize that some of this is meant to be helpful and some is just noise. Most importantly, realize that this is all part of your journey and it is not going to look like anyone else’s; take care of yourself and trust yourself.
  • Find support: The perfect support is non-judgmental, caring, ready to listen and there for you. Bonus if they also have the experience of being with someone with Alzheimer’s. It’s a club that no one wishes to join, but those that are in it, need each other.
  • Say, I need help: People will say to let them know if they can help, right then and there say they can help! Ask they if they are willing to take an hour so you can go do something “normal” like grocery shop or go to the dentist or just sit somewhere quiet. If they offer, take them up on it right then and there.
  • This too shall pass: there are going to be some very challenging days, when those days occur, know that the day will pass, it will end. And, there will be good days!
  • Look for good: Keep yourself going by keeping an eye out for the good, the happy, the joy, the special moments, the appreciation for who this person has been in your life.
  • Expect to grieve: Right now, at this time. The loved one with Alzheimer’s will become less and less them over time. Yes, they are alive, but they are not the person you have come to love. Be aware and grieve as needed, don’t push it away, feel it. As well, you may need to grieve the loss of some of the friends of your loved ones. Not everyone will be able to handle this change in your loved one. The same tends to happen to the caregiver as well, friends can drop. Just know this is a reality and be sure to grieve the loss of those relationships.

Finally, know when it’s time to get professional help. Be willing to find a support group, see a therapist or hire a home health care specialist.

Friday, 20 August 2021 12:21

Help Your Loved One with Alexa

The Amazon Echo is showing up in more homes every day.  Since it responds to voice, it is a great addition to a seniors’ home as it does not require a screen or any buttons to mess with and confuse people. Below find some ideas on how this technology can help you and your loved one. Alexa is always updating her still set, keep up with all  the new she can do here.

Alexa, what is the date? Alexa is very helpful in providing simple information on date, time, weather, etc.

Alexa, remind me to take my medication at 3pm: Alexa can remind your loved one when to take their medicine, take a drink water, wake up, use the restroom, be ready by 5pm on Friday to go to an event, etc. Several reminders can be set for any reason.

Alexa, remember I put my keys in my dresser drawer: Asking Alexa to remember where things are will alleviate many misplacements of items.

Alexa, put buy new batteries on my to-do list: Create a daily to do list for your loved one to keep them on task.

Alexa, what time does Olive Garden open? Needing to know when a business is opened or closed? Alexa can help.

Alexa, play classical music: Whatever type of music your loved one enjoys, ask Alexa to play it.  Also, try asking her to play a certain artist or music similar to a favorite artist to change things up a bit.

Alexa, what year did the movie “The Wizard of Oz” come out: She’s all about the trivia!

Alexa, tell me a joke: She’s got a great sense of humor!

Alexa, flatter me:Just try it J

Alexa, play my messages: Messages can be sent between Echo devices. There is a blue light at the top of the device that lets people know when there is a message ready to play.

Alexa, Ask My Buddy: This is a free to enable service that allows a loved one to alert anyone in their personal network if they need help. Also good for just checking in to let everyone know they are okay.

Alexa, call 911: This is important, and does require additional set up. See here.

Finally, Alexa is quite patient. If your loved one experiences memory issues and is prone to asking the same question again and again, this does not wear down Alexa. She is fine with answering the same question over and over again, no matter how many times she is asked.

Friday, 20 August 2021 12:20

Best Gifts for Seniors

Looking for a great gift to get your loved one this holiday season? Here are some great ideas for you! All are available online so they can be ordered and delivered right to you or to your loved one’s doorstep.

Memory Loss Digital Calendar Day Clock: This unique clock spells out the week, month and date. The display is large at 8.5” by 6.75”. Great for seniors suffering from memory loss due to dementia, stroke or Alzheimer’s Disease.

Window Bird Feeder: This feeder brings the wild birds up close and personal. It features strong suction cups and is very easy to install on any window. The unit has a removable tray for easy cleaning.

Heating Pad for Neck and Shoulders: A contoured heating pad that provides therapeutic heat for painful areas of the neck, shoulders and upper back. It has various temperature settings, dry and moist heat options, an auto-shut off, washable fabric and a long cord making it available and easy to use in any room.

Non-Slip Socks: Keep their toes and feet warm and cozy this winter. These socks are non-slip, providing safety and stability for moving about.

Rechargeable Hand Warmer: Let’s not forget those hands! This rechargeable hand warmer can be easily carried in a pocket. It offers three levels of heat and automatically turns off after one hour, but can be easily turned back on.

Yoga Hand Grip Strengthener: A simple and inexpensive solution for a common problem. This yoga hand set helps to strengthen not only the hands, but also the wrists, forearms and fingers. The set includes strengtheners in various resistances.

Joy For All Companion Pet: The companion pup moves and sounds like a puppy, responds to voice, and provides for an amazing experience for aging adults. It has won awards including the Caregiver Friendly Award and Dementia SMART Award.

Bed Wedge Pillow: This pillow will turn any bed into a recliner, supporting the upper back and shoulders. It can also be used for leg elevation. It features a high-density memory foam top and washable cover.

Bottle Opener: Ideal for opening varying sizes of plastic bottle caps, pop top cans and glass bottles. Great for those with arthritis.

Personal Alarm Key Chain: A small keychain that pack a loud sound of up to 140db. It’s easy to use in the case of an emergency and attaches to bags, belts and more.

Happy Holidays and the best to you and all you love, from your friends at AccuCare.

Friday, 20 August 2021 12:19

Thankful for Caregivers

For all those that take care of their loved ones, you deserve a big thank you – as it’s a big job! And as a thank you to you, we wanted to remind you to take care of yourself through the holiday season. The last thing you need is additional stress so here are some reminders for you:


Let Go of Perfection: It’s impossible to achieve perfection. Instead, know you are doing the best you can and actually, that is perfect! Be gentle with yourself and remember you are human.


Create a Plan: Just 5 – 10 minutes of planning now, can go a long way in saving time later. Simply writing a to do list acknowledges what needs to get done and helps free your brain from trying to remember everything. Carry a small notebook with you at all times!


Enlist Help: Thanksgiving is a great time to ask others to give. Enlist family and friends to lend a hand. Ask them to spend time with your loved one, help with grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning and more. And for this help, be thankful.


Purchase: If you don’t have time to bake the cake, make the appetizer or create a side dish for a holiday gathering, go buy one. Store bought will do just fine. If there is a local iconic food destination in town, people will definitely welcome items from a favorite spot.


Shop Online: Gift purchases made online can be delivered to the recipient’s front door. Also, most sites offer gift wrapping. No time to think about gifts? Get gift certificates; a one size fits all gift that is very appreciated.


Be Aware of Other’s Schedules: Does someone in the family drive right past a store, pharmacy, restaurant on their way to or from work? Have them make stops for you.


Hire Help: Know a teenager? Teenagers will clean houses, do yardwork, run errands and more for a bit of cash!


Breathe: The power of breathing has been well documented, but it’s also easy to forget. Here’s the reminder – take time to breathe, deeply and slowly.


Admit When It’s Become Too Much: This is not admitting defeat, this is admitting that you are human, and that something’s gotta give. Don’t risk your wellbeing. Get the family together and discuss options.


On behalf of AccuCare, thank you for all you do caregivers! We know what it takes we are forever thankful for your kind and generous heart.

Friday, 20 August 2021 12:18

Coping with an Anxiety Disorder

Recently, we discussed several things that you need to know about anxiety in older adults, including symptoms and factors that may influence the development of an anxiety disorder.

Everyone experiences stress, which is a reaction to a threat of any kind. Likewise, everyone experiences anxiety, a normal reaction to stressful situations. However, when anxiety persists long after the stressors go away or when it interferes with daily life, it may be an anxiety disorder. Distressing on their own, lasting or severe anxiety symptoms can also dramatically impact cognitive ability, overall wellness and social functioning. Learning to cope with the symptoms can greatly improve quality of life. Consider these suggestions.

  • Visit the doctor. We recently explored the factors a doctor may consider when diagnosing anxiety, and it is crucial that these factors be explored. Physical causes and medication side effects must be ruled out before anxiety can be properly treated.
  • Consider therapy. Anxiety disorders respond extremely well to specific kinds of therapy. A qualified professional can help you or your loved one reduce and cope with symptoms.
  • Avoid temporary fixes. Many people with anxiety find that using substances, overeating, or giving in to obsessive behaviors temporarily dulls the problem. However, these remedies do not provide lasting relief and can cause damage.
  • Don’t feed it. What do you do if you want a stray cat to stay at your house? You feed it. Anxiety is like a stray cat. For example, when a person stays home from an anxiety-provoking event, it validates that anxiety, giving temporary relief but increasing it in the long run. Getting help will allow the anxious person to slowly start confronting overwhelming feelings, and in turn stop the cycle.
  • Address valid concerns. Consider that some anxiety-provoking situations are legitimate. Anxiety brought on by social situations could be related to difficulty hearing, fear of falling down on uneven pavement or even a difficult relationship. Talk about it and make a thoughtful decision about whether the situation should be dealt with, faced or avoided.
  • Limit exposure to negativity. With limited mobility or less on their schedule, many older individuals will turn on the news all day long. Some spend hours on social media in search of connection. Neither of those things are bad, but excessive exposure to bad news, negativity and arguing will increase anxiety. Talk about reasonable limits.
  • Build a healthy life. Almost every problem we explore can be improved with these steps: exercise, a healthy diet, proper rest, following the doctor’s advice, continuing to learn, calming activities (prayer, meditation, yoga, etc.) and engaging in healthy social activity. Anxiety is certainly no exception to this rule.

It is important not to underestimate the impact of anxiety on your aging loved one’s life. If you suspect that your loved one may have developed an anxiety disorder, don’t delay in getting help.

October is all about spooky and scary fun, as thrill seekers everywhere flock to haunted houses, costume parties and horror movies. People are willing to seek out and even pay for brief encounters with fear. However, excessive uneasiness and apprehension over time can become a very frightening problem that affects daily functioning and overall wellness.

In the United States, about 40 million adults suffer from anxiety disorders. It was once thought that anxiety decreases with age; the medical community now recognizes that this is not necessarily true. Generalized Anxiety Disorder, just one diagnosis among several anxiety related conditions, impacts about seven percent of U.S. seniors. Symptoms of anxiety often mimic other issues, especially in older adults, making diagnosis difficult.

  • Physical symptoms. It’s important to note that older adults often report physical symptoms when experiencing anxiety. Though this makes diagnosis even more difficult, anxiety can present as aches and pains, nausea and other digestive issues, shortness of breath, and chest pains. Severe symptoms should always be checked out by a medical professional.
  • Cognitive symptoms. Anxiety can impair mental functioning, including memory and concentration. Further, the cognitive decline that comes with aging or disorders such as Alzheimer’s can also lead to increased anxiety.
  • Behavioral symptoms. Anxiety can present as irritability and even anger. It is important to investigate the cause of behavioral changes, considering anxiety as a possibility.

There are several other factors that are important to note when anxiety may be diagnosed. Make note of these in order to discuss with your physician.

  • Personal history. Those with a history of anxiety and/or a mood disorder are more likely to develop an anxiety disorder as an older adult.
  • Family history. Anxiety disorders tend to run in families and are thought to have a genetic component. If known, family history should be discussed, including past relatives who were on medication “for nerves,” which was often used in the past instead of giving a mental health diagnosis.
  • Chronic medical conditions and medications. Some conditions and medications are well known to exacerbate anxiety or to mimic the symptoms.
  • Substance use. It is important to share with your doctor any chronic abuse or increase in use of substances, including alcohol or caffeine (which can increase anxiety in some people).
  • Symptoms. Include excessive worrying, rumination of negative thoughts, compulsive behavior, irritability, panic, racing thoughts, and difficulty eating or sleeping.
  • Duration. Increased symptoms lasting more than a couple weeks should be evaluated by a professional.
  • Trigger. Note whether a traumatic event such as a surgery, illness or fall occurred before the onset of symptoms. Likewise, notice any patterns such as time of day or activity that may be present with anxiety.
  • Impact. Does your loved one avoid going certain places or doing certain things because of anxiety? How is it affecting their life?

These considerations should help you determine whether anxiety could be a problem for you or your loved one and whether it is time to seek help. In our next blog, we will explore treatment and coping.

Friday, 20 August 2021 12:15

Five Common Autumn Health Risks

It’s finally Autumn! The days are getting shorter, and the temperatures a little cooler. Autumn brings many wonderful things – beautiful foliage, festive holidays and pumpkin spice flavored treats. Along with every season’s benefits, there are also potential downfalls.

With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of 5 Common Autumn Health Risks that you should keep an eye out for, so that you or your aging loved one can better enjoy the fall season.

  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression caused by shorter days and colder weather. Depression can negatively impact a person’s sleep and diet which may contribute to other illnesses.

Light therapy, maintaining a healthy diet and staying active help fight common symptoms of SAD.


  • Disrupted Sleep Cycle. Shorter days also disrupt your sleep cycle. Consistently getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most effective ways to keep your immune system healthy.

Try to go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time each day. Turning off the TV, smartphone, tablet and/or computer an hour before going to bed also helps your body prepare for restful sleep.

  • Influenza. The number of flu cases starts to rise during the fall season. When temperatures drop and the days grow shorter, people spend more time inside which increases the likelihood of spreading the seasonal flu.

Make sure you and your family members are vaccinated and take precautions to minimize the spread of illness. Clients and staff members of AccuCare Home Health Care of St. Louis can receive their seasonal flu shot at no cost.

  • Circulatory Problems. Symptoms of circulatory related illnesses also worsen when temperatures begin to drop. If you or someone you care for has heart disease, this sometimes causes an increase in chest pain. Make sure to consistently take any related medication.

If you care for someone with circulatory related illnesses like heart disease or Raynaud Syndrome, ask them if they’re experiencing any heightened discomfort.

  • Joint Pain. Those who have arthritis or other join related pain often experience worse symptoms when temperatures drop and atmospheric pressure changes.

Keep appropriate pain relief medications on-hand. Regular exercise can also minimize joint pain.

We wish you a very happy and healthy fall season!

Friday, 20 August 2021 12:11

Fall Ready – Flu Ready

The autumn season has arrived. While everyone is looking forward to beautiful foliage, bonfires and pumpkin spice everything, fall also brings with it flu season. During fall and winter months, people stay indoors more, passing illnesses more freely. According to the CDC, influenza is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands or tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year. People with chronic medical conditions and the elderly are at higher risk for complications from the flu.

It’s extremely important to take steps to prevent the flu, especially for those high-risk individuals. These tips will help you prepare to fight off the flu.

  • Vaccinate. Getting an annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect against the flu. Vaccination makes contracting the flu much less likely, and those who do get the flu become less sick, require less treatment and experience fewer complications. AccuCare Home Health Care of St. Louis offers FREE flu vaccinations to our clients and caregivers, in an effort to help them stay healthy throughout the season.
  • Encourage others to vaccinate. Those who work with or spend time with those at increased risk for getting the flu or having complications from the flu should also get vaccinated, as it decreases the chance of spreading the illness.
  • Keep up healthy habits. Exercise, eat well, sleep well and limit stress to ensure your body is in its best position to fight off germs.
  • Wash your hands. Properly wash your hands often. Insist that others do the same. Keep hand sanitizer readily available.
  • Clean, clean, clean. Disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched, such as doorknobs, remotes, phones, etc.
  • Stay home when sick (and encourage others to do so). Prevent the spread of the flu by staying home when sick. Agree with family and friends that everyone else will do the same. If you work or volunteer, ask about establishing guidelines that encourage sick individuals to stay away from the office, organization, etc.
  • Have supplies on hand. So that you don’t have to run out to the store, make sure you have doctor-approved medication on hand for pain, fever and other flu symptoms. Also, stock up on tissues, cough drops, fluids and soups. Check your thermometer and humidifier to make sure they’re working properly.

While there is no guarantee that any action will prevent the flu, taking these steps will greatly reduce the chance of you and your loved ones catching the flu. We wish you a fun, festive and flu-free fall!

Are you ready? September is National Emergency Preparedness Month, which is an annual reminder to ensure that your home and your loved ones are ready for an emergency situation. In the past, we have shared important tips to help you prepare for a disaster. One of those tips was to stock up on necessary supplies, or to build an emergency kit. If you haven’t done so, decide now to begin building this kit. If you have, this is a good time to check your supplies.

These items are essential for weathering any emergency. Be prepared for you and/or your loved ones to spend 3 days without power or water.

  • Water. Store one gallon of water per person per day.
  • Food. Stock a three-day supply of nonperishable food items. Consider the possibility that electricity will be unavailable for cooking, opening cans, etc. Remember that even nonperishable food expires, make sure to rotate your supply accordingly.
  • Medication. Keep a minimum three-day supply of medicine on hand. Remember that medication also expires and supplies should be rotated. It is also wise to store medical information along with the medication in the event of a separation from your loved one during an emergency.
  • First aid kit.
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio to receive weather or emergency alerts.
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries, as well as an extra charged portable charger for mobile devices (though in some emergencies, service could be interrupted).
  • Whistle or battery-operated alarm to signal for help.
  • Tools to turn off utilities.
  • Cash, needed in the event that electricity is out and/or credit cards are not being accepted.
  • Bleach or other cleaner for disinfecting.
  • Matches, stored in a waterproof container.
  • Personal hygiene items and plastic bags for disposal of such items.
  • Blankets
  • Contact information. In the event that any family members or loved ones may be separated during an emergency, it’s very important to make sure that contact information (including physical addresses of your home and place of work) is written clearly and placed in an easily accessible location, along with the emergency kit supplies.

Of course, we hope that there is never a need for these emergency supplies, but in the event that a disaster occurs, having these items on hand will make a big difference. Learn more about National Preparedness Month here.


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