Respite Care Benefits

A Valuable Break

It can be a joy and a privilege to care for an aging family member, providing them assistance with daily tasks. You have the opportunity to get to know them better and spend precious time with them every day. But this can be very taxing and stressful on you and on your family. Sometimes you just need a break: that’s where Comfort Keepers can help.

What is respite care? Good question. It is caregiving for a senior with the understanding that this care is temporary. this care can be by a professional home care service, a relative or even a close friend. This care allows the primary caregiver of the senior to take time off, giving them the opportunity to take a break, reenergizing and resting. They also are able to focus their attention and energy on getting other important things done such as housework and house hold chores. Many times when caring for a senior, the other tasks get pushed back and end up never getting done.

How Does It Work?

You can choose from a variety of respite care service options. A Comfort Keepers caregiver can stop by every once in a while, or more regularly, depending on what you and your family needs. These service visits typically last a few hours, giving you and your family a break. You can use your time off to do many things, including:

  • Napping
  • Going out
  • Grocery shopping
  • Exercising
  • Reading
  • Paying bills
  • And more

You can also schedule a respite care service program that lasts longer periods. Say you want to take a vacation:  a Comfort Keepers caregiver can stay with your senior for several days, giving you a chance to enjoy yourself and revitalize, returning refreshed with more energy. If you don’t get help from others, caring for a senior can be very draining and continue to bring you emotional, physical, and mental stress.

Comfort Keepers caregivers are professional and compassionate, providing high quality senior care to your elderly loved one. Each of our caregivers is specially trained to meet the physical, mental and emotional needs of seniors through excellent and compassionate care.

– See more at:

Advice for Seniors: Get a Flu Shot

Get a Flu ShotAs with any medical treatment and prevention, your doctor is the only one who should advise you or your loved one to obtain a flu shot. However, information from both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) indicate the best way to prevent the flu and stop it from spreading is a flu shot, especially for senior adults. This is because the flu can be especially dangerous to seniors above the age of 65.

What is influenza and why is it more dangerous for seniors?
Influenza, also known as the flu, is caused by a virus, also commonly known as a germ. More specifically, influenza is a respiratory infection. While most people recover in one to two weeks from the flu, for others, influenza develops into a more serious lung infection. This type of flu complication can land one in the hospital, and also lead to Pneumonia, Bronchitis, and other serious infections. At worst, the flu can cause death, and is the fourth leading cause of death among seniors 65 and older.

The specific numbers are scary: More than 60 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations occur in people 65 years and older, the CDC reports on About 90 percent of deaths that occur from influenza happen to seniors.

The flu is a greater concern for the elderly, because as we get older, our immune system becomes weaker. This makes it easier for seniors to not only get the flu, but also to fight off complications that might develop from it.

What is a flu shot and when should I get it?
As with any vaccine, a flu shot contains a weakened or killed part of the germ that causes the illness. Because this germ is so weak, it helps your body develop antibodies, which are substances that boost your immune systems. According to the CDC, once you develop antibodies against the flu, cells that have “learned” to fight the virus remain ready to combat it when you are exposed, or come down with the flu.

Because it takes a bit of time before your body is fully ready to fight off the flu virus, most medical experts recommend you get a flu shot in October or November. In general the “flu season” begins in December and can last until the spring. If you wait until the midst of flu season to get a shot, these antibodies won’t have enough time to develop immunity from the flu.

Many pharmacies, such as CVS, are now offering the flu shot. Even though these flu shots must be administered by qualified professionals, talk to you doctor first to let them know you plan to get a vaccination and where. According to the National Institution on Aging, Medicare will pay for a flu shot.

Are caregivers more susceptible to the flu?
Although younger adults are more likely to successfully fight off the flu, if you are caring for a loved one, you might be exposed to the flu before your loved one shows symptoms.

The flu virus is contagious and can spread to someone only six feet away. An article, written by Anthony Cirillo for’s Assisted Living page, states one can infect another person one day before symptoms begin and up to five to seven days after. Some studies show children may pass the virus to others for a longer duration.

The flu typically spreads when someone sneezes, coughs, or talks. It can also be spread when someone touches a surface then their own mouth, nose, or eyes.

Because the flu is so easily spread, caregivers should take extra precautions when near a loved one who has the flu. They should also take precautions to avoid getting the flu themselves, because a senior in their care is more susceptible to the virus.

In addition to a vaccine, how do I prevent the flu?
Everyday precautions are you or your loved one’s best defense against the flu. Some basic ways to prevent the virus are to wash your hands carefully and often; avoid touching your eyes; and stay inside and away from others if you don’t feel well.

Your doctor may prescribe anti-viral drugs for you or your loved that can be beneficial within 48 hours of the onset of the flu. However, some physicians and other medical professionals advise against the elderly using these prescriptions.

There is a fair amount of evidence that a healthy diet and some supplements can prevent the flu and lessen its severity. According to Simin N. Meydani, Ph.D., a researcher at Tufts University, studies conducted in nursing homes indicated that zinc plays a role in fighting the flu. In nearly 600 nursing facilities, the residents who had normal zinc concentration were less susceptible to the flu, and had a shorter duration of it than those with low zinc levels.

How do I know if I should call my doctor about the flu?
The common symptoms of the minor flu are: muscle aches, dry cough, sore throat, and a runny or stuffy nose.

If you suspect your or your loved one’s symptoms have grown worse over one or two days, always call the doctor. Here are some signs that indicate the flu has reached a severity that requires hospitalization or additional treatment:

  • shaking chills
  • pain in the chest or abdomen or shortness of breath
  • confusion and abrupt dizziness
  • high-fever or sweating
  • diarrhea
  • coughing up phlegm that is yellow, green, or white.

For assistance or more info please contact Comfort Keepers at 979.764.3076 or online at

article courtesy of Tricia Von Gonten, Comfort Keepers


The editors of the National Institute on Aging’s website:
The editors of
Consumer Reports News, ‘Should I take Tamiflu to treat the flu? January, 2013
‘Adequate Zinc Levels Help Quell Pneumonia in Elderly,’ by Tufts University’s Simin N. Meydani, Ph.D, via Med Page Today.
The editors of WebMD
‘What You Should Know and Do this Flu Season if You are 65 Years and Older,’ by the editors of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) via

Alzheimer’s Disease: Communication Tips

Alzheimer’s Disease: Comfort Keepers

Alzheimer’s disease can cause instances of confusion, fright and frustration for the person with Alzheimer’s disease as well as for loved ones and caregivers. Here is a list of tips to achieve better communication.

The most debilitative and indicative symptom of Alzheimer’s disease is the gradual loss of words and understanding that are crucial to even the most basic communication that most of us take for granted. Alzheimer’s patients realize there is a problem, even though they may not have the capacity to understand what is happening. This can cause instances of confusion, fright and frustration for the person with Alzheimer’s disease as well as for loved ones and caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s.

In an effort to help those dealing with seniors with Alzheimer’s, the Alzheimer’s Association suggests the following tips to achieve better communication in spite of the disease.

First, it is important to learn to recognize the changes in communication and behavior in those with Alzheimer’s. Second, caregivers and family members need to learn how to assist in communication and to identify and adapt their own communication styles to those of the individual Alzheimer’s sufferer.

It is important to not only be patient but also supportive when trying to communicate. Take the time to listen with no interruptions or criticisms. Offer encouragement and reassurance that he or she can take the time needed to try to form thoughts into proper words and try to resist correcting misused words. Many times there is meaning behind those words and if you take the time you may discover the intended meaning. Focus on the emotion that may lie within the words. Nuances in voice tone as well as hand gestures and facial expressions can all be critical in fully understanding the senior.

At times you may become angry or frustrated, yourself, but understand that criticizing or arguing only serves to increase levels of discomfort and agitation for those with Alzheimer’s. Instead, practice patience and offer occasional suggestions for words they are trying to speak. When appropriate, retreat to a quiet place to communicate. Noise and crowds may intimidate the Alzheimer’s patient, resulting in increased frustration and anxiety as well as decreased verbalization. Sometimes, all the person needs is a bit of quiet to organize their thoughts and correctly verbalize them.

If the sufferer is in late stages of Alzheimer’s there are other measures you can take to improve communication efforts. Let the person know who you are to create a sense of familiarity. Use simple words and sentences and speak slowly in a lowered tone of voice. Be prepared to repeat your questions or information you are imparting, and also be prepared for those with Alzheimer’s to repeat themselves. Be respectful, calm and caring in your actions and tone of voice. Using signals or written words to communicate or as reminders can be extremely helpful.

Above all, try to remain positive even in the face of this difficult condition. Alzheimer’s disease is extremely trying for the patient and the caregiver, family members and friends who are dealing with a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. Remember, the challenges are neither your fault nor theirs. Patience, understanding and compassion on your part can mean the difference between failure and success in effective communication.

For assistance or more info please contact Comfort Keepers at 979.764.3076 or online at

See more at:
References: Alzheimer’s Association. Communication and alzheimer’s. Retrieved on November 8, 2010 from

article courtesy of Tricia Von Gonten, Comfort Keepers