Valentine’s Day Arts and Crafts Projects

Home Care in Fairfax VA

For your Valentine, backpack or a necklace, these cute little hearts are so easy to do, you may not be able to stop the kids from making them! Home-Care-in-Fairfax-VASupplies are inexpensive and this project will keep the kids busy with minimal mess.

Age 3 and up (This project is rated VERY EASY to do. However, parental supervision is recommended with the wire cutters.)


What you need

This will make one heart:

  • 12-inch red or white chenille stems
  • Colorful translucent tri-beads (non-translucent beads may be used)
  • Wire cutters (a good pair of scissors will work as well)
  • Keychain (optional)
  • Craft lace (optional)


What you do

  1. Cut the chenille stem in half. (Note: Save the other half for another project)
  2. Bend one end of the chenille stem into an “L” (about one-and-a-half inch). (Note: This keeps the beads from falling off when the child puts them on the chenille stem.)
  3. Thread beads onto chenille stem until there is about one-and-a-half inch of the stem left showing.
  4. Bend the other end of the chenille stem into an “L” shape.
  5. Twist the two “L” shapes together. Clip off any extra wire. Be sure to bend in any sharp edges.
  6. Bend into a heart shape.
  7. Add to a ribbon for a necklace, a key ring for a backpack or attach to a Valentine.


If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in Fairfax, VA, please call the friendly staff at Philia Care today at 202-607-2525.

How Can You Work to Be More Compassionate Toward Your Elderly Loved One?

Home Care in Fairfax VA

Being more compassionate toward your elderly loved one and her needs may not be all that difficult for you as her caregiver. But when you Home-Care-in-Fairfax-VAlook at smaller issues, such as housekeeping tasks, you may find that you’re not feeling as compassionate as you want to be feeling.

Be Less Demanding of Your Loved One and Yourself

For a long time, probably your entire life, you’ve formulated a series of expectations for your elderly loved one and possibly for yourself. As your loved one ages, however, it can be far more difficult for her to live up to her own expectations, much less yours. What can really help both of you is for you to let go of some of those expectations and work at being less demanding of both you and your elderly loved one.

Don’t Make a Huge Fuss over Smaller Issues

Say your elderly loved one isn’t as tidy in the kitchen as she used to be. You have a choice here. You can make a big deal over the situation and insist that she focus on cleaning up after herself more or you can clean up afterwards and not make a huge fuss over the issue. This can have a lot to do with your own expectations, as well.

Practice Tolerance

As you’re lowering both your expectations and your elderly loved one’s expectations, you’re likely to start realizing that you’re becoming more tolerant. Embrace that tolerance and allow it to grow. You’ll find that you’re judging yourself and others around you much less harshly.

Ask Yourself How Important the Issue Really Is

Before you react to a particular situation, ask yourself how important it really is. If there are a few crumbs on the kitchen counter for a few minutes, does that really create a big problem? Chances are that you can let it slide for a little while. If having things like that resolved quickly is a larger issue for you, then take steps to make sure that they’re handled as soon as possible. Bring in home care providers to help deal with household tasks or set up a system with other family members.

As you assess what’s truly important and what isn’t, you’ll find yourself naturally able to offer your elderly loved one more and more compassion.

If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in Fairfax, VA, please call the friendly staff at Philia Care today at 202-607-2525.

Philia Featured Caregiver

Home Care in Fairfax VA

Our Philia Nanny:  Amber W.


1.    What do you enjoy about caregiving?


I enjoy the major impact and direct influence I have on a child. I get satisfaction from being able to teach, encourage, motivate and assist the development of a child’s curiosity. Every moment in a child’s life is a learning moment such as something as simple as giving a child a choice between two snack options or reading a new book and learning animals and the sound they make. Overall I simply enjoy the innocence and eagerness to learn or show what they have learned in each child.


2.    What do you enjoy doing with your children clients?


I enjoy learning and teaching new songs with the children as well as having mini dance parties. Singing with the children can turn into a whole chorus session and even end up with us creating our own song to sing together. I also enjoy the dance parties because it gives the children an opportunity to get a little exercise as well as show off their personality and creativity through movement.


3.    What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?


In my spare time I really enjoy spending time with my family, going for walks with my dog and being involved in my church’s activities for the youth ministry. I also enjoy working out, going to the library and finding a new good book and finding recipes for new desserts to make.

If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in Fairfax, VA, please call the friendly staff at Philia Care today at 202-607-2525.


Winter/Holiday Arts and Crafts Projects and Delicious Recipes

Home Care in Fairfax VA

Christmas Handprint Wreath    Home-Care-in-Fairfax-VA

Who doesn’t love handprint crafts!  You can save each one in a special binder and peek at them every so often.  It’s fun to compare and see how they’ve grown.

red and green paint or construction paper

There are two ways to do this craft.  One is to trace the child’s hand onto paper and cut out the prints.  The second is to make paint handprints on the paper and cut those out.  Make eight handprints (4 of each color).   Cut out the prints and glue to form a wreath. You can decorate the wreath further with pictures (like snowflakes, reindeer or Santa Claus).  These can be stickers, hand drawn artwork by the children, pictures from coloring books, magazines or fliers.

Puzzle Piece Picture Frame

You can put any photo inside! You can took the two ideas and end up with this reindeer picture frame. You can do it without the reindeer in the corner if you prefer.

Old cereal box.
Puzzle pieces.
Red, green and brown paint (you can use tempra if you have young children, but you can use acrylic if you trust your kids not to get it on their clothes).
scrap of red felt (and green for a holly leaf – optional) or small red pom pom.
2 wiggly eyes (or you can make paint or paper ones).


  • Place the photo onto the cereal box to determine the size and shape you want (you can make it circular, square, oval, triangular, etc).
  • Cut out a shape from the cereal box at least 1 inch bigger than the photo (this is going to be your frame).
  • Cut a shape out of the center of your “frame” (without cutting through – this is a job for an adult).  Again, you should end up with at least a 1 inch frame.
  • Paint your puzzle pieces (some red and some green) and let dry.
  • Glue them onto your frame, overlapping the pieces.
  • Glue the photo to the back of the frame.


  • Take 3 puzzle pieces (preferably one should be a bit bigger than the other two).
  • Paint the 3 puzzle pieces brown/ Let dry.
  • Next take the two smaller puzzle pieces and glue them to the larger one in the corners only.
  • Then attached the wiggly eyes.
  • Cut-out a small red circle for the nose and glue.
  • Then in the corner of one of Rudolph’s antler make a small holly leaf from green felt.
  • Glue the reindeer into the corner of the frame.


Hannukah Wreath

This craft is fun for older children (and adults!) – Age 6+.  There are quite a few steps that younger kids (Age 2+) can help with, but they won’t be able to do the craft independently.  This is a good family project!


Wire coat hanger

14 to 16 toilet paper rolls

Optional:  Winter color paint like silver or blue

white paper (you could also use craft foam, gift wrap or Aluminum foil)




Easy Fold and Cut Star of David
(as many as you want for decorating the wreath)


ADULT:  Take each toilet paper roll and cut a slit HALFWAY through

Paint the toilet paper rolls blue.

Let dry.


ADULT:  Bend the coat hanger to form a circle.

Using the slits cut halfway through the rolls, slide each of your toilet paper rolls onto the hanger to form a big circle of toilet paper rolls.

Optional:  Take a bit of masking or scotch tape and tape the toilet paper rolls together.  (tape the openings of the toilet paper rolls on the inside of the circle together).  This will keep the rolls from spinning around while you’re working.  If you choose not to do this, the paper stars will keep everything from spinning on the finished craft.


Prepare many stars.  (Easy Fold and Cut Star of David)

One person can be doing this part while another (daddy *grin*) is assembling the toilet paper roll wreath base.

Glue all the stars onto the toilet paper roll base.  You can use as many as you want and overlap them if you like so it’s nice and full.

Tie a bow on the top if you want to.


Easy Kwanzaa Kleenex Box Cover

thin cardboard (old cereal boxes work well!)
something to color with (if using B&W template)

Print out the templates of choice (you can use all the same template so you have the same picture on all sides, or you can mix and match!)  — you need 4 templates to make one kleenex box.
Color pieces, as necessary.
Glue the pieces onto squares of thin cardboard (old cereal boxes).  Using a glue stick instead of white glue keeps the paper from wrinkling.  If you are using white glue, put the glue onto the cardboard, not the template and then spread it around so it’s a very thin layer.
Cut out the pieces.  This step may require adult assistance.
Optional:  cover with clear contact paper (this makes it water proof).  Contact paper can be purchased in rolls at your local office supply store.
Optional:  Score the tabs — to do this, flip the template over so the cardboard is up.  Put a ruler down to help you keep a straight line.  Using scissors or a butter knife, run along the ruler pressing hard to make it easier to fold the edges.  This step may require adult assistance.
Fold the tabs.
Use glue or tape to attach the tabs of one template to the untabbed side of the next to form a box.
Slip it over top a square kleenex box!  (it squashes flat for easy storage so you can pull it out next Kwanzaa)

Gingerbread Reindeer Cookies


1 (3.5 ounce) package cook and serve butterscotch pudding mix
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


In a medium bowl, cream together the dry butterscotch pudding mix, butter, and brown sugar until smooth. Stir in the egg. Combine the flour, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon; stir into the pudding mixture. Cover, and chill dough until firm, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease baking sheets. On a floured board, roll dough out to about 1/8 inch thickness, and cut into man shapes using a cookie cutter. Place cookies 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until cookies are golden at the edges. Cool on wire racks.

If you or an aging loved one are considering HOME CARE IN FAIRFAX, VA, please call the friendly staff at Philia Care today at 202-607-2525.

Fall Events and Festivals in DC, VA, and MD Areas

Home Care in Fairfax VA


Maryland Renaissance Festival

Where: Revel Grove in Crownsville, Md.
When: Weekends through October 20
Admission: Thru 9/17: $17/ages 16 and up, $8/ages 7-15. 9/22-10/21: $22/ages 16 and up, $10/ages 7-15. Free for ages 6 and under.
Take a day trip back to medieval times at Renn Fest. Besides the amazing variety of entertainment — jousting matches, cheeky comedy shows, fire eaters and sword swallowers, juggling acts, Celtic music, and much more — walking among knights, maidens, pirates, and villagers in puffy shirts in a 16th-century village as you chomp on turkey legs and down cups of mead is an interesting little jaunt back in time that any age can enjoy (well, maybe not the mead). Get a little more background on the event here and here, both previous posts about my love of Ren Fest.


Montpelier Farms Fall Festival

Where: Upper Marlboro, Md
When: September 7 – November 3, Fridays 5-11pm, Saturdays 10am – 11pm, Sundays 11am – 7pm
Admission: $10/ages 13 and up, $8/ages 3-12, free for 2 and under
Enjoy all of the staples of a fall festival on the farm — pumpkins, hayrides, animals, hill slides, and more. A tip based on our experience last year: Do not, I repeat, do not miss the corn maze. It’s EPIC.



Adams Morgan Day Festival

Where: 18th Street NW, between Columbia and Florida Avenues
When: September 8
Admission: Free
Celebrate one of the city’s most diverse community. The 35th Annual Adams Morgan Day Festival offers a day full of music, art, culture, dancing, and more. Arts on Belmont will feature original artisans and a variety of art mediums. And various stages throughout the neighborhood will showcase local live entertainment that all ages can enjoy. Details and the schedule of performances are available on the festival website.



Hartland Orchard Fall Festival Weekends

Where: Markham, VA
When: September 2 – October 22
Admission: $10/ages 3 and up, free for ages 2 and under
The website promises a wonderful farm experience, and from the looks of it, they’ll make good on it. The long list of amusement includes hayrides, pumpkin patches, a 60-foot slide, a corn maze, duck and pig races, and pony rides (some activities cost extra). The apple picking also comes highly recommended.



Fall Weekends at Clark’s Elioak Farm

Where: Ellicott City, Md.
When: Ongoing; Pumpkin patch open September 21 – November 3, 10am – 5pm daily
Admission: $5, babies 1 and under are free
This fairytale of a farm doesn’t have a special fall festival per se, but with so many activities, including seasonal delights like pumpkins, cider, and Halloween fun, it’s like a celebration all the time. And it all takes place on the sprawling grounds spattered with installations practically straight out of a storybook (they were actually salvaged from The Enchanted Forest, an old Ellicott City amusement park). Kids can sit on a wall with Humpty, Peek in the Three Bears’ windows, climb aboard Cinderella’s pumpkin coach, explore the Old Woman’s shoe. If that’s not enough, there are hayrides, cow train rides, slides, farm animals to pet, a pumpkin patch, the pine tree maze, and more. On fall weekends, guests can also enjoy special activities like pumpkin coloring and crafts, a teddy bear visit, a reptile show, and gem mining. Face painting and pit beef are also available on Saturdays and Sundays.


Ticonderoga Farm Fall Pumpkin Festival

Where: Chantilly, VA
When: September 21 – November 3, 9am – 6pm daily
Admission: $8.95/weekdays, $14.95 or $16.95/holiday and weekends
This festival has all the trappings for a fun on the farm: hayrides, swings, Noah’s Ark playground, hillside slides, s’mores roasting, cornshucking demos, a petting farm, a maze, antique tractors and firetruck, a pumpkin patch, and much, much more (seriously, see the entire list here). The Cow Pow Train, Jump and Bounce Pillow, face painting, and some children’s games are available weekends only, but there’s obviously plenty to keep kids entertained any day of the week. For a peek at it all, see this post about their Winter Festival.



H Street Festival

Where: H Street NE
When: September 21, 12-7pm
Admission: Free
The annual festival on northeast DC’s thriving corridor is always a big one. If you don’t mind crowds, there is a lot to see and do. The event features lots of live entertainment, including a kids stage; art exhibits; food trucks; crafts for sale by local vendors; fashion shows; dancin’ in the street; and kids’ activities, including face painting, story telling, and moon bounces. Public transportation is recommended, as parking is guaranteed to be difficult.

Celebrate 17th Street

Where: 17th Street NW, from Riggs Place to P Street
When: September 14, 12-6pm
Admission: Free
This free event celebrates the 17th Street Corridor and surrounding community with musical performances throughout the afternoon, artist vendors, a pet zone, a kids zone, exposure for non-profit groups, and appearances by city officials to celebrate the community and businesses.


Cox Farms Fall Festival

Where: Centreville, VA
When: September 28 – November 5, 9am – 6pm daily
Admission: $9/weekdays, $14/weekends, $17 prime weekend for ages 2 and up
This festival is huge. So big that they actually have a Tips & Resources page on the website to help guests prepare and navigate their way around the sprawling venue that contains five slides, swings, games, mazes, pumpkins, picnics, live entertainment, farm animals, and more. It’s a blast, especially the giant slide that takes you swooping down several humps over a hillside. (I know firsthand because parents can enjoy many of the festival activities just as much as kids.) There is also a Kiddie Zone, especially for little ones aged 5 and under.


Barracks Row Fall Festival

Where: 8th Street SE, Capitol Hill
When: September 28, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free
Showcasing the marine barracks and commerce on 8th Street SE in Capitol Hill, this annual festival is fun for all ages. Enjoy tours of the historic barracks, live entertainment, a petting zoo, food and art vendors, and tons of fun for kids (clowns, magicians, face painting, and more). The DC State Fair joins Barracks Row Fall Festival again, this year showcasing unique categories: Funkiest-Looking Vegetable Grown in DC, Best Home Brew, Best Bike Accessory, Best Pie, and more.


Butler’s Orchards 32nd Annual Pumpkin Festival

Where: Germantown, Md
When: Saturdays & Sundays September 28 – October 26, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $10, free for children 2 and under
Kids will love jumping in the hayloft, hayrides, the tube slide, a rubber ducky derby, animal petting area, pony rides, pumpkin picking, corn maze, face painting, and much more. Some activities and food costs extra. Purchase there or bring along a picnic, but be sure to treat the kids – and yourself – to a yummy caramel apple!

SW ArtsFest

Where: Southwest DC (several venues)
When: September 28
Admission: Free
This annual celebration will highlight art and culture in Washington’s smallest quadrant, Southwest. The lineup of festivities will include a central art market, music, dance, film screenings, walking tours, and more.


Fall Pumpkin Harvest Festival

Where: Great Country Farms
When: September 28 – October 31, 9am – 6pm daily
Admission: $10/adults $8/kids weekdays, $12/adult $10/kids weekends, ages 2 and under are free
Great Country is known for it’s awesome festivals, and the Pumpkion Harvest is sure to be no exception. Thrills for little people (okay, us grown-ups, too) include P-Rex, the pumpkin eating dinosaur; Rubber Ridge, the tractor tire mountain; the Pumpkin Princess in the pumpkin patch, a giant Pumpkin’ Jumpin’ Pillow; five mazes; 60-foot slides, rope swings, tractor rides, and even more fun in the country. Find a future jack o’ lantern in the pumpkin patch, the largest u-pick patch in the area.


Marker-Miller Orchards – Multiple Festivals

Where: Winchester, VA
When: Several weekends in September and October
Admission: Free
There’s a variety of fun to be had throughout the season with three different festivals taking place. It starts with the Fall Farm Fun Festival September 28-29, which will include apple-picking, wagon rides, a cow train, and music. Next is the Apple Harvest Festival October 12-13 offering a weekend of, well, everything apples: 20 varieties of apples, apple cobbler, apple caramel sundaes, plus the wagon rides and cow train for kids. Finally, October 26 is the Pumpkin Festival, when you can find your own Great Pumpkin and enjoy all the usual festivities at the orchard.


20th Annual Fall For Fairfax KidFest

Where: Fairfax County Government Center
When: October 5, 10am – 7pm & October 6, 10am – 5pm
Admission: Free
This annual event by Celebrate Fairfax, Inc. includes exciting, interactive, and educational programs, entertainment and activities. Especially designed for families with elementary and pre-K aged children, activities include scarecrow making, pumpkin painting, public safety and recycling-themed exhibits, pony rides, a petting zoo, hay rides, model trains, and the KidWay MidWay with more than a dozen rides, bounces, and attractions. And that’s just for the kids. Adults can enjoy more than 75 exhibits, live entertainment, activities, and great festival food. While admission is free, some rides and concessions will require a fee.


Frederick’s Oktoberfest

Where: Great Frederick Fairgrounds
When: September 28, 11am – 10pm & September 29, 11am – 6pm
Admission: $5, free for ages 2 and under
The Frederick Fairgrounds are transformed into a German village where dancing, live music, children’s events, bratwurst, Oktoberfest bier, German wines, and much more will make for a fun time for all ages. Especially for kids: face painting, pumpkin decorating, scarecrow making, musical entertainment, and they claim they have a few more tricks up their sleeves just to keep everyone surprised. (See a schedule of kids activities here. This all benefits Frederick County charities.


Columbia Heights Day Festival

Where: Harriet Tubman Elementary School Field
When: October 5, 10am – 6pm
Admission: Free
The neighborhood’s 7th annual festival will celebrate the season and the community. There will family activities, live entertainment, local artists and vendors, food, and fun.


Homestead Farm Fall Festival

Where: Poolesville, MD
When: October – exact dates TBD
Admission: Free, but there are fees for some activities
While Homestead doesn’t have an official festival, the farm embraces the spirit of autumn every year. Tractor rides out to the pumpkin patches, apple picking, hot cider, farm animals, and scarecrows make it a great place to spend a few hours enjoying the season with the family. And the good thing about the lack of a festival, admission is free! Of course, you still pay for pumpkins and cider. And can’t-miss caramel apples.


If you or an aging loved one are considering HOME CARE IN FAIRFAX, VA, please call the friendly staff at Philia Care today at 202-607-2525.



Interesting Articles

Home Care in Fairfax VA


The Balancing Act of Fostering IndependenceHome-Care-in-Fairfax-VA


Many parents struggle with providing the right balance of support while teaching their child independence. Some parents feel like they are neglecting their child’s needs while others feel they are spending too much time “hand holding”. Teaching children independence as early as possible is crucial

for optimal development. Many children lack various skills because they were not provided with opportunities to hone them. Research shows that independence is linked with higher self-esteem, self-efficacy and intrinsic motivation. As children get older they begin to spend more time away from parents requiring them to be more self-reliant. Overall, it is essential for parents to begin to teach children independence as early in their development to prepare them to be self-reliant.




Self-esteem is one of the most important pillars of childhood development. Recent research underscores the importance of the early childhood years as a critically important for establishing self-esteem. Many children lack self-esteem and have anxiety around separation from caregivers due to their lack of confidence in their own ability to care for themselves in unfamiliar environments. When children learn to complete task and care for themselves without parental assistance, they feel accomplished. Additionally, children become more cognizant of their own strengths and abilities. When children are able to do more without assistance, they feel better about themselves. Healthy self-esteem is correlated with academic achievement and emotional well-being.




Many children struggle in different arenas because they lack confidence in their ability to be successful in various tasks. Parents typically struggle with choosing which tasks are appropriate for their child to do on their own without much assistance. Additionally, not interfering when it appears their child is not

completing the task up to standard. When parents allow their children to practice completing task independently they gain more confidence in their own ability and feel less concerned about making mistakes. Children build self-efficacy when they have practiced completing a task until they are successful. When in doubt, remember the old saying “practice makes perfect”.


Intrinsic Motivation


In early childhood parents tend to play the role of personal cheerleader to encourage their children to reach major milestones. Parents are a major source of extrinsic motivation for children. Children learn typically to look for appraisal from their parents when they accomplish a goal. However, it is essential for children to learn to develop motivation to be accomplished even when they are not appraised. As children become school-aged they receive less individualized encouragement. It is important for children to develop the ability to be “self-starters” and motivated by their own realistic expectations. The standards that parents have are likely to be internalized by the child. It is essential for parents to encourage their children to focus on their feelings after accomplishing a task to help them become less reliant upon external appraisal. Developing intrinsic motivation equips children in adulthood to be motivated to put forth their best effort even without recognition.


Independence In Children:


From an early age, a child’s search for their independence is fueled by the desire to make things happen and to feel competent in themselves. A young child’s opinion about their capabilities is, to a large extent, based on their parent’s or caregiver’s response to them. As an adult, your role in fostering independence is to provide love and support, encourage exploration and curiosity, teach skills, and allow the child to make appropriate choices. Your enthusiasm for a child’s exploration sends a message that these activities are valued by you.

Sometimes the desire to make things happen takes young children down paths that require limit setting, or they may become frustrated while trying to master a certain task. While it is appropriate to allow for small doses of frustration, caregivers should be prepared to step in to prevent overwhelming frustration, and also to expect mistakes. The key is to provide an emotional safety net when trial and error results in more error than immediate success.

Like other developmental milestones for young children, successful accomplishment of self-care tasks are age-specific. An infant’s efforts to lift his head, roll over, or sit up are significant steps toward independence. Love, affection, and nurturing will help him reach that goal.

A safe environment is paramount once children are mobile. Curious and daring toddlers have little or no judgment concerning their safety, so it’s up to you to ensure that they can explore and experiment in safe surroundings. Independence at this stage can be encouraged by giving the child small choices as a way to exercise a measure of control over his life. These choices might include which story to read, song to sing, or which shirt to wear.

Preschoolers are verbally capable of expressing many thoughts, feelings and needs, and they are ready to take bigger steps toward independence. Encourage preschool children to do for themselves on a daily basis by allowing them to put away clothes and toys, for example. Establishing family chores–setting the table, folding towels, or helping with meal preparation–builds a sense of competence and teaches children how to do for others.

Once children reach school age, there are many opportunities to facilitate independence. Decisions about friends, school projects, and play are all a part of their daily life choices. Financial decision-making skills can be bolstered by giving older children responsibility with money, for example providing an allowance or designating a child as class treasurer.

Although it is necessary to establish limits and maintain firm rules about important issues, it is equally important to honor children’s choices whenever possible. By showing your genuine enthusiasm and recognizing the many small tasks a young child accomplishes, you are helping her gain control over her world and preparing her for a healthy, independent life.


Helping Seniors Enhance Their Well-being By Basking in the Sun


During the summer season, it is common for families to get over excited about the warm weather and forget about their elder loved ones that may need a little encouragement to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather. The sun is a primary source of Vitamin D, which helps support bone health, muscle functioning, and brain activity. The geriatric population is largely at risk of declining bone health, cognitive functioning, and depression. Vitamin D deficiency is has been found to be linked to weak muscle, weak bones, and depression.  Unfortunately, as seniors age, they are forced to take a multitude of medications to maintain adequate functioning. Many of these medications can have extremely aversive side effects that may further catalyze physical decline.  Natural sunlight can be a natural and more enjoyable means for seniors to enhance their well-being.


Bone & Muscle Health


According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vitamin D deficiency is associated with muscle weakness and common among elderly people. Muscles are a crucial organ in the body that serves a multitude of functions. It is believed by health professionals that strong muscles are the fountain of youth. Sufficient muscle functioning supports a healthy metabolism. As seniors age, they engage in less physical activities and become sedentary. The decline in physical activity increases the risk of weak muscles. The weakened muscles can increase the risk of falls leading to broken bones and fractures.  According to the International Society for Clinical Densitometry, Vitamin D deficiency is linked to fragility fractures and bone pain. Bone weakness increases the risk of broken bones, fractures, and long-term pain. These incidents can increase medical cost and result in seniors taking more medication to treat injuries and manage pain. Bones and muscles work together to maintain the health of the body. Regular engagement in aerobics, running and walking can help build bone mass. Utilizing Vitamin D from direct sunlight can support the health of bones and muscles concurrently.  The optimal functioning of both can enable them to best work together to maintain the health of the body.


Brain Functioning & Depression


It is no secret that the sun can quickly brighten anyone’s day. However, there is scientific evidence for the positive effects of Vitamin D from the sun and its impact on brain functioning. Research has shown that lower vitamin D blood levels are linked to higher risk of cognitive impairment.  In a study conducted by the Human Research Center on Aging, higher vitamin D levels were found to be associated with better executive functioning performance. The elderly population is at higher risk for developing depression linked to medical issues and life transitions. Vitamin D from the sun has been shown to increase serotonin levels, a neurotransmitter responsible for keeping depression at bay. Depression is commonly treated with psychotropic medications. However, regular exposure to natural sunlight can increase serotonin in the brain. It is common for elderly people to become complacent in “shutting in”, or staying inside and avoiding activities outdoors. Consequentially, this behavior increases the risk of developing and maintaining symptoms of depression. It is essential for relatives and caregivers of elderly persons to prompt and encourage them to do more activities outdoors during daylight hours. The summertime is the best time to assist elderly people with planning activities outdoors. As serotonin levels increase, depressive symptoms begin to subside, and this increases the likelihood that elderly persons will discontinue “shut in” behaviors.


Getting Elders Out the Door


To successfully get elderly loved ones out of their hermit habits, it can be beneficial to plan their favorite activities and encourage them to go outdoors. These activities include; reading, puzzles, bingo, and coffee/tea. Additionally, it could be beneficial to encourage clients to do light gardening or repotting plants. Higher temperatures in the summer time can increase the risk of dehydration. It is important that you ensure that elder persons are adequately hydrated prior and during activities in the summertime. Additionally, encourage activities after the sun has passed its zenith point. Make sure loved ones have an adequate amount of sunscreen to prevent sun damage from ultra-violet rays. Sun damage can also be avoided by encouraging protective gear such as hats and sunglasses. Initially, it may be challenging getting loved ones outside of their isolation routine. However, getting the loved one outside is half the battle. Once they begin experience enhancements in they physical health and mental health they may initiate outdoor activities without prompting.


If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in Fairfax, VA, please call the friendly staff at Philia Care today at 202-607-2525.

The Role of Mothers

Home Care in Fairfax VA

Research continues to provide evidence for women’s unique contribution to the lives of their children. Mothers are the first reference point Home-Care-in-Fairfax-VAand means for socializing their children. Beginning at birth, attachment starts the process of cognitive, emotional and social molding. Many empirical studies have supported the strong impact of attachment on personality and later relationships. Mothers, provide the first message from the world that conveys nurturance and safety.  Due to a multitude of socio-economic pressures, mothers tend to spend less time with children than women in previous decades. Consequently, many mothers experience guilt for not spending as much quality time with their children than they believe they should. Many parenting guides suggest that communicating, spending quality time, loving and rearing techniques have a more profound impact on their child’s development. However, there are a host of ways to make an remarkable impact on your child’s well-being. A mother’s way of being in the world can have a chief impact on the development and overall well-being of their children.


The Anatomy of Woman-Being

According to Gregory L Jantz, Ph.D, women have scientifically proven social, psychological and physiological differences than their male counterparts that contribute to major differences in ways of being. These differences include: chemistry, brain anatomy and multitasking. According to Jantz, women produce higher levels of oxytocin, a bonding chemical that supports the process of attachment with children. The production of higher levels of oxytocin allows for women to bond to children and others with ease. Studies have shown that women and males can engage in behaviors that increase levels of oxytocin. These behaviors include; hugging, rubbing, kissing and hand holding. Essentially, women have the ability to model the process of organic bonding with others and their children . Researchers have also found that women tend to have a larger hippocampus than males. The hippocampus is responsible for memory and sensory input in both males and females. A larger hippocampus has been found to be correlated with more input of sensory and emotive information.  The ability to receive high sensory input allows for women to be more sensitive and attentive to their environment. In result, women tend to be more hypervigilant to the emotional shifts in their children. The ability for children to have their emotional needs recognized by their mother, provides a sense of security and can be a signal for women to assist their children with having a emotionally corrective experience. These unique abilities serve as ways for children to recognize their own emotional shifts and ways to cope with negative feelings before they become permanently internalized. The mother’s way of coping and self-care can teach their offspring ways to cope and deal with a multitude of stress. However, today mothers tend to sacrifice and neglect their own emotions in efforts to meet the needs of their children. It is essential for women to maintain mindfulness of their own emotional shifts and utilize healthy ways to maintain an emotional equilibrium.


Balance & Bonding

A major concern for many mothers is maintaining a deep bond with their children throughout each stage of their life. However, this can particularly difficult when mothers are emotionally and physically burnt out. It essential for women to maintain emotional and physical balance in order to make healthy investments in relationships with their children. In a time sensitive world it can challenging for women to maintain self-care. Unfortunately, many women rely on quarterly or yearly vacations to fit self-care into their lives. However, year and quarterly decompression can be too much of a gap in time to maintain emotional and physical well-being. It is essential for self-care to be a regular practice each day as stress can carry-over for weeks if it is not immediately released. Some valuable ways to decompress and regulate emotions include: early morning nature walks, cardio exercise, mindfulness activities, meditation/prayer and guided journaling.  Many women believe that in order to truly decompress, children must not be apart of their stress release activities. However, including children in some of the stress release activities can provide children with practical knowledge on ways to cope and recognize first-hand effectiveness. Additionally, it teaches the child good habits on incorporating routine self-care into their lives. Many women feel the need to hide their stress or negative emotions from  children. However, being transparent with children about their shifts in emotions and stress without externally blaming can teach children to communicate their emotions which can be cathartic. Finally, showing children the importance of utilizing self-care to maintain emotional balance and release stress can be help prevent them from internalizing and neglecting their psychological needs as adults.


If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in Fairfax, VA, please call the friendly staff at Philia Care today at 202-607-2525.


How to Help Your Parent with Alzheimer’s Disease Feel More Comfortable with a Home Care Provider

Home Care in Fairfax VA

There are currently more than 5 million people throughout the United States who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and another Home-Care-in-Fairfax-VAdevelops the disease every 66 seconds. If your parent has recently received such a diagnosis, or you have noticed that their symptoms have gotten worse over time you may be considering starting a home care arrangement for them. This type of care relationship can be incredibly beneficial for a senior with Alzheimer’s disease. The care provider can create a custom care plan designed to address the specific needs, limitations, and challenges that your aging parent is facing. As they progress through the disease, however, your parent might find it difficult to feel comfortable with a home care provider. Confusion, memory loss, and other issues can make it so that your parent does not remember the care provider or understand the purpose of that provider’s role in their life. This can make it difficult for them to gain the most benefit from the relationship. Helping your parent get and remain comfortable with the care provider is vital to ensuring that your loved one can enjoy the highest quality of life possible throughout the progression of their disease.


Use these tips to help your parent with Alzheimer’s disease feel more comfortable with a home care provider:

  • Talk about them frequently. Take the time to talk about your parent’s care provider frequently. Bring them up in conversation and encourage your parent to tell you about them. This will keep this person at the forefront of their minds. Though they may still not remember the care provider immediately, talking about them will make them seem less strange when they see them.
  • Use nametags. Ask your parent’s in home health care services provider to wear a nametag when they come to care for them. This can help to make the care provider look more “official”, which can put your parent’s mind at ease, and can remind your parent of their name and position.
  • Have a specific greeting. Encourage your parent and their care provider to establish a special greeting for the beginning of the care session. Simply saying the same things or even having a special song that they share at the beginning of the day can help to trigger your parent’s memory and make them feel more comfortable.
  • Walk them through it. If your elderly parent is just starting a care relationship, it can be extremely helpful for you to be around for the first session or two. Walking your parent through the care arrangement and telling them each step of the care can help them to feel safer, more secure, and more at ease about the new routine. Be sure to call the care provider by name and explain what they are going to do next. The care provider can then follow the same routine for each session, establishing predictable patterns that will reduce anxiety and keep your parent feeling more in control.


If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in Fairfax, VA, please call the friendly staff at Philia Care today at 202-607-2525.