All posts by Nichole

Featured Caregiver: Elizabeth M.

What motivated you to become a Nanny?

Children and the lack of good quality care, is what motivated me to become a caregiver. I have a huge love for children especially birth to age 5. I really enjoy new things, to light up their eyes, and make them excited about the world. It’s fun to watch them explorer, learn, and adapt to their environment as they grow and change each day.

What do you enjoy about being a Nanny?

I enjoy helping to shape a child’s future by being their trusted adult while mom and dad are away. It’s so very important for a child’s growth and development to have a trusted adult by their side as they explore the changing world around them.

I love the look of excitement on a child’s face when they try something new, say a new word, or walk for the first time. Just as it’s the first time for them, it’s like the first time for me all over again, and I get the joy in knowing that I have helped them on their path to a love of learning. It also gives me joy that the parents also know that their child is well cared for and safe throughout the day. This gives them a better opportunity to concentrate of their jobs until they can come home to their little one. I know that having a trusted caregiver gives parents a little stress relief as their children are so precious to them.

Tell us an interesting or fun story that happened while you were providing child care.

Mimili is the little one I am currently caring for. One day her mom asked that I bring her down to the building museum to play in DC. Playing there works best for mom because she works for the Federal Government right across the street. This gives her the chance to come over on lunch and play with us.

On this trip, we also got to visit the moms job. Working for the Government I had to go through the metal detector, and be patted down. When the officer had me hold my arms out to the side to be searched my Mimili started to yell NO! NO! NO! She began squirming in her mom’s arms and fighting to get down. Both mom, the officer, and myself assured Mimili that I was okay. She wasn’t having it. The officer said to her mom it’s okay let her down and lets she what’s she’s going to do. Mimili got down ran to the officer and starts pushing his leg trying to get him away from me while she yells NO! NO! NO! He says she okay meaning me and she tries to bite him until he backs away from me. When he backs away, she runs and jumps in my arms and says Mine! Lol we all laughed so hard, and the officer says to me,” Looks like you have your own security guard.”

Ardith, Mimili’s mother was laughing so hard. She says I’m so glad she’s so attached to you. That made us all feel so good that she was so protective of me. J

 

 

 

The Elderly Kind of Blues

Seniors & Mental Health

Mental health is widely considered a new age concept, which is obscure to many members of the aging populations. Older generations ignored mental health issues and were more likely to address physical ailments. In regards to uncomfortable feelings, words such as “melancholy” were likely used to instead of “depression.” Older generations are more likely to express physical versus mental complaints. The avoidance of addressing mental health issues is linked to the extreme stigmatization of mental illness in previous decades. Unfortunately, the ongoing neglect of mental health problems becomes a habit transmitted to younger generations. Children of the aging populations often become caretakers and key advocates for their elder’s well-being, but find themselves covering all the basis of their parent’s health and well-being except mental health. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than two million Americans above the age 65 suffer from some form of depression. The elderly population is one of the most vulnerable populations to developing depression due to the experience of significant losses related to death, physical ability, and independence. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in the United States, less than 5% of older adults living in the community show signs of depression, the percentage rises to over 13% among those who require home health care. Considering the extreme risk and vulnerability of the elderly population choosing home care that addresses the well-being of the whole person is essential. Holistic home-care is a new era approach to senior care that tailors care to enhance one’s social, emotional and physical well-being. Finding senior care that treats the whole person can be like searching for a needle in a haystack in major metropolitan areas such as Washington, DC.  This article will discuss the manifestation of depression among the elderly and the benefits of holistic care.Senior-Care-in-Washington-DC

Aging & Depression

It is common for people to experience depression at various points in their life in response to negative life events such as ended relationships, financial hardship, and interpersonal conflict. However, clinical depression manifest in mood and physical symptoms. Research shows that older adults are more likely to label their “down feelings” as pessimism or helplessness versus depression. Additionally, older versus young adults are less likely to endorse statements related to “feeling down” or “blue.” Older adults commonly display withdraw, less communication, increased sleeping, expressionlessness, and bodily neglect. In older adults, physical symptoms often accompany depression including, coronary heart disease, dementia, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and cancer. Life events related to loss of loved ones and independence can exacerbate these symptoms. Unlike younger adults, older adults often lose their ability to engage in coping behaviors such as exercise, outings with friends, and travel to alleviate mental and physical symptoms. These circumstances leave older adults not only at greater risk of developing severe depression but little means to mitigate the suffering.

Senior Care & Depression

Nursing home residents and older adults with chronic illness are at greater risk of developing depression. This risk is due in large part to the lack of quality care available in nursing facilities with an unbalanced caregiver to resident ratios. This imbalance diminishes the amount of emotional, social, and physical support available to clients. Many nursing home facilities plan rigorously to design communities that cultivate social and physical well-being, only to find that a large percentage of residents don’t adequately utilize all that the facility has to offer. This underutilization is mainly due to physical and mental declines that limit their access and interest. Senior care facilities in major metropolitan cities such as Washington, DC find themselves overwhelmed and falling short of providing quality care as their mission statements often promise, due to understaffing and short-sighted approaches.

Holistic Care

Holistic care is a growing approach adopted by senior care providers in efforts to improve the quality of life of the aging population. Through this approach, caregivers are trained to assess and address the social, emotional, physical, and in some cases spiritual needs of the client.  Many nursing home facilities have begun to adopt the holistic approach to senior care. However, like any other service industry, quantity often reduces quality. Philia is a home-care agency that adopts the holistic approach to senior care offered only on a 1:1 basis to ensure quality. In addition to assisting with ADL’s, caregivers are trained to incorporate nutritional meal preparation, tailored exercise regimen, activity engagement, and emotional support. Each client’s care plan is designed to enhance their quality of life and well-being in oppose to maintain their present state of health. Holistically trained caregivers are trained to recognize the signs of depression specific to older adults and implement interventions that treat the physical, social, and emotional manifestations. The mind and body are interconnected, each impacting the other dynamically throughout one’s life. Quality senior care addresses both physical and psychological aspects of a person, recognizing that this is the key to total well-being.

Sources

Cavanaugh, J., & Blanchard-Fields, F. (2014). Adult development and aging. Nelson Education.

Friedhoff, A. J., Ballenger, J., Bellack, A. S., Carpenter, W. T., Chui, H. C., Dobrof, R., & Merikangas, K. R. (1992). Diagnosis and treatment of depression in late life. JAMA268(8), 1018-1024.

Zarit, S. H., & Zarit, J. M. (2012). Mental disorders in older adults: Fundamentals of assessment and treatment. Guilford Press.

Caring for Children With ADHD

ADHD better known amongst mental health professionals as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, has in recent decades become a label loosely attached to children that appear more fidgety and restless than the rest of the crew. The hallmark symptoms of ADHD are marked by hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattentiveness. Children diagnosed with ADHD commonly have predominate symptoms in one area, for example, inattentiveness. In some cases, children may have combined types inclusive of both symptoms of impulsivity and inattentiveness. Caring for children with ADHD requires a specialized and intentional care that treats the child in manner that addresses all of their unique needs. Ritalin and Adderall are some of the most common psychotropic medications used to treat the symptoms of ADHD. However, many psychotropic medications come with side effects and can have a long-term impact on the structure of the brain. Unfortunately, many parents and child care workers are not educated on the holistic ways to care for their children. This article will discuss some ways to care for children with ADHD in a manner that will help them thrive.

Diet

Diet is plays a major role in the manifestation of symptoms. Sugar and food coloring can be kryptonite ingredients that fuel symptoms of ADHD. Research has shown that children with ADHD are deficient of iron, magnesium, and zinc. Each of these vitamins and minerals have a significant impact on the balancing the brain chemistry. For example, low iron levels are correlated with cognitive declines and severe forms of ADHD. Moreover, zinc and magnesium deficiencies play a major role in inattentiveness and poor focus. Research has shown that a well-balanced diet, namely rich in omega-3 has been shown to alleviate symptoms by 50 percent. As if it’s not difficult enough for parent to encourage health diets,  stimulant medications such as Ritalin and Adderall, commonly cause a reduced appetite leading to nutritional deficiencies. Parents and child care professionals should be intentional in creating a meal plan and vitamin regimen that help fortify he deficiencies commonly present in children diagnosed with ADHD.Home-Care-in-Washington-D.C.

Established Routine

Children with ADHD commonly struggle with forgetfulness and disorganization. Additionally, when they become interested in an activity they tend to hyper-focus, which makes transitions to new task a battle. In order to help alleviate these issues children must have a strictly followed schedule to provide structure to their disorganized world. Child Care professionals and parents should be trained to prepare children for transitions and offer frequent breaks to allow prevent agitation and “acting out” behaviors. It is essential that both parents and childcare workers maintain the same schedule and approach to maintain consistency. Lack of consistency often hinders the child’s ability to adjust and adopt the schedule. It is essential that child care professionals and parents incorporate activity and novel experiences into the child’s schedule.

Emotional Support

Many children diagnosed with ADHD, quickly pick-up on the social rejection from both peers and adults. Children with ADHD are often blamed and condemned for their uncontrollable impulses and high energy. Moreover, depending on their symptom severity, children diagnosed with ADHD commonly struggle academically which can lead to embarrassment and low self-esteem. It is essential that child care professionals maintain a supportive environment by highlighting the child’s unique strengths and providing verbal praises for their effort and even small achievements. Child care professionals should be trained to avoid negative reactions to disruptive and seemingly defiant behaviors. Parents and child care professionals should encourage guided playdates to prevent feelings of rejection from peers. ADHD can be a challenging enough for both the child and childcare workers. It is essential that parents choose professionals that know the unique needs of the child and ways to care for them holistically.

Sources

Arnold, L. E. (2001). Alternative Treatments for Adults with Attention‐Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences931(1), 310-341.

Pelsser, L. M., Frankena, K., Buitelaar, J. K., & Rommelse, N. N. (2010). Effects of food on physical and sleep complaints in children with ADHD: a randomised controlled pilot study. European journal of pediatrics169(9), 1129-1138.

 

Summertime Is Replenish Time: Benefits of Getting Seniors Outdoors in Washington DC

Replenish Time

Overtime as seniors lose independence they are more like to stay indoors. Moreover, after completing a slew of duties, senior caregivers often overlook the importance of getting seniors outdoors to get more sunshine during the summer months. During the summer months, increased daylight hours allow us to take advantage of more time in direct sunlight. Winter months cause a significant decline in vitamin D, which leads to a weakened immune system, decreased absorption of calcium and in some cases depression also known as the “winter blues”. Seniors are at greater risk of broken bones and depressive episodes, which makes vitamin D exposure essential. In addition, higher levels of oxygen from being outdoors is essential for health brain functioning. In the Washington, DC area, caregivers often have more responsibilities and a higher caregiver to client ratio. These conditions decrease the likelihood that clients receive more 1:1 time to ensure their overall well-being. It is essential that families hire senior caregivers that are holistically trained to provide care that treats all of their needs to increase their health and longevity.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a crucial element that aids in the absorption of calcium. As seniors age they are more prone to broken bones from slips and falls. Frequent injuries in seniors are linked to rapid health declines. Many clients have care plans in place to help reduce their risk of slips and falls. However, in some cases this is inevitable. Preventive healthcare regimens are critical in minimizing the risk of broken bones when seniors slip or fall.  Studies have shown that vitamin D is also an essential element in impacting serotonin levels, a neurotransmitter that decreases symptoms of depression. Depression and other mood changes are common amongst seniors and are linked to rapid physical and mental health declines. Although vitamin supplements can be helpful, vitamin D obtained naturally through sunlight has shown to be the best way for the body to receive its benefits. Thus, getting seniors outdoors is crucial to aid their vitamin D absorption. Holistic caregivers are more knowledgeable on the holistic benefits of getting seniors outdoors in the sun. However, elderly clients are at greater risk of develop sun burns and even skin cancer due to decreased thickness in the skin.

Oxygen

There is no air that feels fresher than summer air. Summer time is the best time to indulge in higher levels of oxygen. A study conducted by the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, showed that oxygen levels change with the season and peak during the summer. This believes to be attributed to higher output of plants that have blossomed. Oxygen is a crucial element for our functioning, as is assist with decreasing stress, Increasing alertness, and energy. Additionally, oxygen deficiencies are linked to memory loss and overall declines in brain functioning. As seniors age energy levels decline and fatigue becomes a common experience associated with old age. However, engaging in deep breathing and being outdoors are great ways to combat fatigue and increase energy. Senior caregivers must provide a regimen that works to increase oxygen levels to maintain healthy functioning. This is even more critical for clients struggling with severe forms of dementia.

Helpful Tips for Senior Caregivers in Washington DC:
  • Senior Care workers should plan activities such as puzzle, dominoes and knitting outside.
  • For immobile clients, lower the AC and open as many windows as possible in the house.
  • Help clients plant new flowers or produce to get them interested in going outside to track growth.
  • Invite pet owners in the Washington DC neighborhood, and encourage clients to go outside to pet them.
  • Senior Caregivers should encourage clients by teaching them how oxygen improves their health.
  • Be sure to put a generous amount of sunscreen on clients to reduce the risk of sunburn.
  • Make sure seniors drink plenty of water to reduce the risk of dehydration.

 

 

Overlooking Drawback to Overbooking Kids: Top 3 Reasons Overbooked Summers Can Be a Bummer for Children

Overbooked Kids and Nannies in Washington DC

For approximately 7-months out of the year, children are bombarded with pressures to not only perform well academically, but in many cases be ahead of developmental requirements. Children that maintain highly active schedules are faced with double the pressure to achieve success both in the classroom and in other extracurricular activities (i.e. sports).  In a study conducted in 2006, students experienced academic stress arising from both their own expectations to excel as well as expectations arising from their parents and teachers. Although, children typically receive holiday breaks throughout the school year, these breaks usually consist of other scheduled prep work for exams and sports competitions. The constant pressure received by children from various avenues in their lives can lead to diminishing outcomes versus progress. The Washington, DC area is known to have one of the highest populations of doctoral degree holding citizens. In short, many children in the Washington, DC are more likely to have high achieving parents that have higher expectations for them. Additionally, these same high achievers are more likely to hire caregivers that have received higher educations and enroll their children in schools with educators that possess degrees from competitive universities. Needless to say, from their school teachers to their sport coaches, children have no escape from the pressure. Summer time has traditionally been known to be a time for children to hit the local pools, eat pop-sickles in the sun and simply “be a kid”. Overbooking children during the summer can steal away this precious time for children. It is essential that parents resist their own personal fears of failing as a parent and examine the serious consequences to adding on pressure during the summer time.

Mental Health

As children are developing physically and cognitively, they are also developing emotionally. As parents experience life changes throughout the year, such as divorce, death and financial loss, children are processing these same changes in addition to managing responsibilities in other areas of their lives. Although parents try their best to protect their children from these stressors, children still experience the changes either directly or indirectly. However, children’s emotional resources are not as developed as adults and the compilation of stress can rise beyond their ability to cope. When children are so overbooked that they have very little time to process changes in their lives, emotional meltdowns and mood instability arises. In some cases, children can slip into bouts of depression, anxiety and even panic attacks. In many cases these symptoms may be over looked and nonchalantly attributed to development. For example, parents will often say “he’s just being a teenager”. Additionally, overtime if children do not take time to process emotional stress, it may manifest itself in physiological symptoms such as colds, migraines and fatigue due to a weakened immune system. Parents that hold taxing careers may not see their children often enough due to schedule conflicts and completely miss any changes. Families that have nannies/childcare assistance have an additional safety net that can monitor these changes. It is essential that families hire childcare works/nannies that are trained holistically. Holistically trained nannies recognize the need of the whole child and will monitor both physical and emotional changes that may be detrimental to the child’s well-being. This type of care teaches children at a young age the importance of self-care and taking personal time to maintain their overall well-being.

Less Family Bonding

Throughout the school year families are often busy with work and school schedules which leads to less time spent with the family. In many cases, families are often too busy to have dinner together. Research shows that families that eat dinner together regularly are closer and children have less behavioral challenges. No matter what developmental stage a child is in, it is essential that children spend quality time with their family consistently. This kind of consistency within the family is essential as children move through stages that cause them to question their identity in addition to receiving threats to their self-esteem. Unfortunately, the modern “achieving” world does not slow down to allow families to have dinner together on a consistent basis. However, this is an area in which nannies/childcare workers play an essential role in filling those gaps. As the saying amongst the wise states “it takes a village to raise a child”. It is essential that parents hire nannies that are not simply looking for a good job, but actually want to bond and grow with the family. A well-invested nanny will ensure a child is always receiving consistent support and bonding time at home. A good nanny will recognize the need to minimize a busy schedule that conflicts with quality time.

Cognitive Development

In a high-achieving world, parents are constantly in fear of not preparing their children to thrive in the future. In result, parents are constantly searching for athletic and academic enrichment programs to prepare their child to be the best and brightest. At the start of summer, parents become alarmed that their children will lose their sharpness and skills acquired throughout the school year. However, like muscles and anything else in nature, rest in essential. In studies conducted on the brain and studying, prolonged studying and school work without sufficient breaks leads to brain fatigue leading to memory loss and slower processing. Children that maintain highly packed schedules year round are likely to become fatigued and demotivated. This is a common occurrence reported by parents that are perplexed by the declines in their child’s performance from the previous year. A holistically trained nanny will recognize the need to adjust the child’s schedule to include a healthy amount rest/fun in addition to some educational activities.

 

 

 

 

 

Fathers Day

Importance of Father Involvement in Children     

An extensive amount of research has emphasized the pivotal role that mothers play in the lives of childhood development. Many studies highlight the valuable influence that mothers have on the cognitive, emotional and social development of the child. However, until recent years, there has been little research that highlights the benefits of father involvement on the well-being of the child. There has been an increasing body of research that emphasizes the differential outcomes between children that actively engage with fathers versus those that do not. According to a study published in Acta Pediatrica, active involvement of fathers has decreased oppositional behavioral, reduced psychological problems and enhances cognitive development. Additionally, active engagement of fathers can improve the overall efficacy of the family system. Consistent engagement of fathers reduces the responsibility and workload of mothers and decreases the likelihood of mothers burning out. When mothers burn out there is an increased risk of dysfunctional interactions with the family. These effects include tension, outburst of anger and unintended neglect. Unfortunately, mothers on average spend more time engaging with children than the fathers. Additionally, if parents are at work, often nannies end up spending a significant amount of time with children. Nannies serve as a buffer in the family unit and provide support during times parents are not present. Unfortunately, male nannies are less likely to be hired and are commonly discriminated against in the “nanny sector”. This is largely due to the underestimated value of the role that males and father figures play in the lives of children. Father’s and male figures play a crucial role in facilitating emotional and psychological well-being in children. In this article we will highlight some of the most valuable contributions fathers and male figures can make in children.

Gate Keeper

Historically, fathers have maintained the impression of the dominant figure in the home. Additionally, they have been viewed as the firm figure that maintains the rules. Although, women actively take on a dominant parental role in the family dynamic, studies have shown the mere presence of fathers in the home can reduce the frequency of defiant behavior. At various stages in development, it is typical for children to test the limits and boundaries of their parents. At each stage defiance can come in different forms ranging from refusal to do school work to staying out after curfew. Although “children will be children”, it is essential that children are provided with flexible boundaries and firm expectations to safely navigate these phases of their lives. Father’s can help play an important role in safeguarding children through those phases of “testing the limits”.

Coach Motivator

Growing up in a competitive culture can be difficult for children. Many children lack motivation and confidence in their abilities at each stage of their development. Girls typically struggle with self-esteem issues more than boys. Several studies find that an active and nurturing style of fathering is associated with better verbal skills, intellectual functioning, and academic achievement among adolescents. Fathers typically take on a coaching and solution-focused approach to helping their children build confidence and attain their personal goals. During early childhood through late adolescence, children are faced with more competitive situations through sports, arts, and education. These experiences may have a negative impact on a child’s self-esteem. Fathers play an important role in encouraging and motivating children to try their best and continue to strive for their goals.

Mental Health

Research has shown that father involvement is linked to better psychological adjustment. There is evidence that active and regular engagement of fathers reduced psychological problems in young women. Girls typically experience challenges with mental health at an earlier age. These mental health issues include; depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. Although the experiences of mental health challenges are inevitable for some children, father involvement can provide children with reassurance and comfort throughout the process.  Additionally, challenges with mental health can be debilitating and hinder functioning in school and extracurricular activities. Active involvement of fathers can help children maintain optimal functioning through challenges with mental health.

Sources

Sarkadi, A., Kristiansson, R., Oberklaid, F., & Bremberg, S. (2008). Fathers’ involvement and children’s developmental outcomes: a systematic review of longitudinal studies. Acta paediatrica, 97(2), 153-158.

Philia’s Featured Caregiver: Kathleen Kousa

Philia’s Featured Caregiver: Kathleen Kousa

Q&A.     Tell us about where you come from and how that influenced who you are today.
I come from a large, supportive, loving family. My mother raised my brothers and I on her own for many years and did such an amazing job. She motivated me at a young age to babysit. She taught me that doing these small acts of kindness makes all the difference in a parents life. In High School I completed two Child Development classes, and loved everyone moment. After High School I attended Northern Virginia Community College to become a Certified Nurses Assistant. I was able to complete a year in an amazing nursing home and a few months in a clients home before I was blessed with my first beautiful son. I was able to stay home with my son for a year. For the next two years I was a housekeeper and Nanny for family and friends. Today I am a proud Mama of my two boys, five years old and 7 months old. I am currently studying more in Depth about Child Development. As I like to say, “Every child is unique and different in an awesome way, there is always something new to learn because there is no handbook to  raising a child.”

Q&A.      What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
In my spare time I love spending time with my sons. I birthed two and was blessed with two more. Having four boys is so much fun. We all love playing soccer, going to museums, finding new parks to explore, going on nature walks, on rainy days we have movie time, puzzles, forts in the living room and so much more. My spare consists of children and family, if you were to ask what I like to do when the children are fast asleep? I would say read up on the latest news, fold laundry while I watch my favorite shows, tidy up the house, and enjoy the quiet.

Q&A.      What motivated you to become a caregiver?
My mother and grandmother are my two motivators when it comes to being a caregiver. My grandmother’s knowledge over the years has made me the caregiver I am today. She grew up in a small town home with seven brothers and sisters, helped raised them and then had three of her own. Becoming a mother really helped me realize that at anytime there can be situation where a parent needs help that they can trust and rely on. I wanted to be that caregiver that anyone can rely on and trust that their children are safe with. I am proud to say that I have become that caregiver. I am so glad that I am able to help ease parents minds when stressful moments happen in life.

Spring Cleaning and Organization In The Washington DC Area

It’s that time of the year again to start thinking about spring cleaning, which likely means some serious decluttering, reorganization, scrubbing and polishing. Spring is the time that we all begin thinking about cleaning and organizing our homes. Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying that a good spring cleaning is a worthwhile exercise.

 

But did you know that it can also benefit your health and wellbeing? Below are some reasons why clearing out those closets and grabbing the polish can actually good for you. Let the cleaning commence!

In the Washington, D.C area, many residents lead busy schedules that prevent them from routine spring cleaning as other responsibilities become prioritized in the “to-do-list”. Spring Cleaning can increase productivity. Making the effort to declutter and organize your home or office can save you tons of time looking for or replacing lost items in the future. Organization makes you more productive, while the cleaning process itself can increase energy levels. We all need to learn to let go. If you haven’t used something since the last spring clean, it might be time to say goodbye. Cleaning can be a great way for Senior Care professionals to get clients active and engaged.

Spring cleaning is also healthy. Many elderly individuals struggle with allergies but already take a slew of medications leaving little room for allergy medication. A good spring clean can help you avoid allergy symptoms and lower Asthma attacks. Removing allergens from the home can make you feel healthier, especially at a time when allergies are rife. You want to try to get those hard to reach places too where dust build up. Make sure though to ask for help moving big pieces of furniture or climbing up ladders when going for those hard-to-reach spots.

 

Spring cleaning can make you happy. Taking the time to thoroughly clean and maintain a tidy home makes people happier, studies have shown. The act of cleaning provides a sense of satisfaction, which in turn can put you in a good mood. Also, putting on some of your favorite music while cleaning can make it even more fun!

Spring cleaning can help to reduce stress. Cleaning and organizing your personal spaces lets you enjoy a tidier and more organized environment and this can relieve stress. Levels of stress can also be reduced during the act itself as cleaning is considered to be therapeutic. But make sure to always be realistic. If it’s all getting too much, take a break. It’s not a race after all.

 

Lastly, Spring leaning can help you to focus. Those who make a point of clearing out the clutter once in a while are able to free up the brain for more essential decision-making, according to a study carried out by the founder of America’s Anxiety Disorder Center. A thorough clean helps to clear your mind of things that need to be done around the house and makes it easier to focus on other more important things. You should concentrate though on one room at a time to make sure you get the job done properly

Early Stage Dementia: What To Do

Recognizing Early Stage Alzheimer’s in the Washington DC area

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition that affects each individual differently. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for roughly 80% of all new dementia diagnoses. Each stage of Alzheimer’s introduces symptoms that directly impacts the cognitive and functional abilities of the individual. In the early stage of the disease, symptoms are generally mild and may be difficult to notice. At this stage, the individual may functional independently with the ability to complete all of their own activities of daily living. However, they may begin experiencing frequent memory lapses or the inability to identify familiar words. Friends and family may notice the individual struggling with performing routine tasks or maintaining organization. During a medical examination, doctors may identify problems in memory or concentration. It can be helpful to involve Senior Care professionals, family and friends in the examination to provide their personal accounts of symptoms, as the individual may not be readily able to identify changes in themselves.

Common challenges in the Early-Stage of Alzheimer’s include:

  • Difficulties with planning or organization
  • Difficulties with recalling the right word or name for familiar objects
  • Difficulties with performing social or work tasks
  • Frequent memory lapses
  • Frequently losing or misplacing valuable objects
  • Difficulties with retaining new information
  • Difficulty following storylines
  • Deteriorating sense of direction

Once medical examinations are completed and an Alzheimer’s dementia diagnosis is received, it’s important to optimize the safety and quality of life of the individual. Caregivers and friends should provide the individual with support and empathy while preparing for upcoming challenges ahead. Senior Home Care professionals should discuss advance directives and preferred future plans of care with the individual, to ensure that their wishes are upheld when they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves. Take the time to carefully plan for comprehensive and holistic care which meets the entire needs of the individual– it’s the best way to honor their life and legacy. Finding holistic and comprehensive care in the Washington, D.C area can be challenging. However, care that is tailored to the needs of the individual and enhances their well-being is essential to ensuring longevity.

Sources

Alzheimer’s Association . (2017). Stages of Alzheimer’s. Retrieved from alz.org: http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_stages_of_alzheimers.asp#mild

Higuera, V., & Ellis, M. (2016, July 12). 10 Early Symptoms of Dementia. Retrieved from healthline.com: http://www.healthline.com/health/dementia/early-warning-signs

Mayo Clinic. (2017). Dementia. Retrieved from mayoclinic.org: http:www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dementia/diagnosis-treatment/diagnosis/dxc-20198511

Spring Activities

Spring Activities

Spring is an exciting and beautiful time of year that allows everyone to break out of winter hibernation mode. During this time of year, all things become new, and we are surrounded by growth. The blossoming flowers and tree leaves wake up our senses and remind us that we have entered a new phase.  We earn back daylight hours that allow us to start basking in the sunshine. The longer daylight hours increase our vitamin D exposure, which plays a significant role in boosting our moods. As change is making headway all around us, we are reminded of some ways we can switch up our routine and take advantage of all spring has to offer.

Indoor Fun

Although our calendar’s alert us that spring is here, the weather does not always cooperate with our spring endeavors. Nevertheless, the spring party must go on. Indoor spring activities are a great way to have fun getting into the spring spirit without allowing unpredictable weather “rain on your parade.” Additionally, indoor activities may be more ideal for parents and kids that suffer from seasonal allergies. Indoor activities are a great way to encourage children to let the creative parts of their brains flow. Moreover, it provides a contained environment for kids to explore scientific concepts related to nature. Spring break is the best time for parents to catch up with children and spend quality time creating fun projects together.

Outdoor Fun

Outdoor activities that involve exploration of nature can be significantly beneficial to children’s learning and development. A study from Pediatric Medicine suggests that outdoor play provides opportunities for problem-solving, creating thinking and decision making. The outdoor environment provides a sensory-rich experience for children. Through activities outdoors, children can experience scientific theory come alive before their eyes. Unfortunately, in major metropolitan cities such as Washington, D.C, nannies and caregivers may feel limited by the vast concrete jungle surroundings as they hunt for green-rich environments for children to work off high energy. However, it is crucial that children have exposure to nature rich environments. This type of environment can be particularly fruitful for children with ADHD. Moreover, nature has a therapeutic influence on children with behavioral problems. The American Institute of Research for the California Department of Education found that at-risk youth gained positive self-esteem, better relationships with peers, increased attentiveness and willingness to learn from an outdoor camp-like education program. Springtime is the best time to assist kids with combining fun and learning to enrich their development and well-being. Nannies and caregivers in Washington are privileged to have accessibility to a number of beautiful parks that can allow children to explore diverse outdoor activities. Rock Creek Park is one of the largest parks in the district with a 0.9-mile trail. Throughout the park you may come across beautiful streams and mini-waterfalls, coupled with soothing sounds of nature.

 Indoor Spring Activity Ideas

  • Use recycled supplies in the house to create paper crowns. Teach children about the importance of recycling and waste.
  • Turn flowers different colors using colorful dye. Teach children about the anatomy of flowers and nutrient absorption.
  • Build a tent/teepee
  • Use nature to create art. Teach children about an artist that tried to capture nature in their artwork (i.e. Claudia Monet).
  • Create fun stories with pictures that tell a story about an unusual plant in nature. Teach children about the life cycle of a plant and its unique.

Outdoor Spring Activity Ideas

  • Feed ducks at a local pond.
  • Create a bird feeder for your home
  • Fly kites at a local park. Teach children about the four forces of flight.
  • Have a Nature Scavenger Hunt. Incorporate colors and numbers to teach children to find corresponding objects.
  • Create a visual list of items in nature (i.e. acorns, pine, maple seed, flowers, and leaves). Encourage children to explore nature and find each item and glue it to the corresponding visual.
  • Start planting a vegetable garden. Teach children about responsibility, cause and effect and weather.

Spring Recipe

 Apple-Raisin Baked Oatmeal Recipe

♣    3 cups of old fashioned oats

♣    ½ cup packed brown sugar

♣    1-½ teaspoons of ground cinnamon

♣    ½ teaspoons of salt

♣    ½ teaspoons of ground nutmeg

♣    2 eggs

♣    2 cups fat-free milk

♣    1 medium apple, chopped

♣    1/3 cup raisins

♣    1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine first six ingredients. Whisk eggs and milk; stir into dry ingredients until blended. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in apple, raisins and walnuts.
  2. Transfer to 8-in square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake, uncovered, 35-40 minutes or until edges are lightly browned, and a thermometer reads 160 degrees. Serve with additional milk if desired.