How To Celebrate The Holidays While Social Distancing

Elderly on Christmas

As Covid-19 cases continue to spike and stricter guidelines for social distancing are being put back into place. The holiday season is looking very different this year. Under the current circumstances, it’s advised that families stay home for the holidays and continue to practice social distancing. 

This is an especially hard time to be separated from family and friends and so we have put together a list of 5 ways to celebrate the holidays this year while social distancing.

Take Advantage Of Technology

Even though you are not able to meet in person, take advantage of platforms such as Zoom or Facetime. You could send a Zoom invitation to everyone and celebrate all together – virtually! This will help everyone feel together. 

Remember that it might be overwhelming for your senior loved ones to attend a virtual call. Be sure to be mindful and not to speak over one another. Allow your elderly loved one(s) a chance to speak and listen carefully to what they have to say. You can also decide on activities to participate in before the call.

Include Those Who Can’t Be With You

Even though we can’t all be together in person, be sure to keep family traditions alive and also to include your loved one(s) in activities. For example, bake your grandmother’s famous Christmas recipes (Remember to send her some pictures). Keeping holiday traditions alive this year is extra important. Another way to include those who can’t be with you in person is by doing the things you normally do with your loved one(s) over zoom or FaceTime such as opening presents on Christmas day or singing Christmas carols together. Celebrations aren’t complete without family traditions.

Enroll of Acts of Service 

This time of year can be especially stressful and hard for many people. A way in which you can connect with your loved ones is through acts of service. Along with your loved ones, you can take some time this holiday season to volunteer for a cause that means a lot to you. Donate or volunteer in organizations in need such as hospitals, food banks, community organizations, toy drives for children etcetera.

Host Holiday Movie Nights

A fun activity the whole family can enjoy is a virtual movie night! Streaming platforms such as Netflix and Hulu allows watchers to host a watch party. Which means that you and your friends/family can all watch the same movie at the same tile while chatting with one another. Here is a helpful article on how to set up a watch party.

Send Holiday Cards

Sending holiday cards might be a tradition in your family. If not, maybe this year could be a first for your loved ones. While we’re all social distancing, make this year extra special for your older loved ones  by sending an extra special holiday card. You could include some extra warm wishes and pictures from this year. 

This will be a great way to reconnect with your loved ones from afar and remind them just how much you care.

5 Reasons To Attend

Elderly watching virtual summit online

Are you ready to break the quarantine blues and join a fun event? We have the perfect event for you! FREE Entertainment and Surprise Giveaways to bring our communities some much-needed light and joy. Here are our top 5 reasons to sign up and attend.

5 Reasons to attend: For Seniors in Quarantine.

Successful communication with a person who has Alzheimer’s Disease

Elderly Couple Drinking Coffee

Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia diminish a person’s ability to communicate day by day. This can be frustrating for both the patient and their family members, which often leads to unnecessary conflict and miscommunication. When speaking to a person with Alzheimer’s disease, it’s important to be very aware of one’s listening and speaking strategies. This requires a certain level of patience, understanding, and exceptional listening skills. 

Babette Home Care has a specialized program in Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care. We have specialized caregivers who are skilled in caring for Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients. In honor of November being National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, we’ve put together helpful tips on how to effectively communicate with a person who has early-stage to late-stage symptoms.  

What to expect when speaking to someone with symptoms? 

There are a few changes in the communication to pay attention to when you are speaking to the patient, these can occur if you are visiting in-person or if you are a call/facetime. Some changes you can expect include; 

  • Problems finding the right words 
  • Continuously using familiar words
  • Frequently losing a train of thought 
  • Describing object other than calling them by name 
  • Speaking less often 
  • Relying on gestures to communicate
  • Reverting to speaking a native language 

Tips on what you can do

Early-Stage Communication

In the early stages of Alzheimer’s or Dementia, the person will still be able to have a meaningful conversation and still participate in various social events. The person might start repeating past conversations or stories and experience anxiety when having difficulty remembering words. Tips on how you can help communication. 

  • Be Patient. 
  • Don’t make assumptions based on the person’s diagnosis. The disease affects each person differently at each stage. 
  • Speak directly to the person and not to the caregiver/companion. 
  • Avoid criticizing, correcting, or arguing. 
  • Practice good listening by allowing the person to share their thoughts and feelings as this is a confusing and stressful time. 
  • Find out what the person is comfortable doing in terms of social activities or interactions. 
  • Discuss which form of communication the person prefers (face-to-face, email, or phone)

Mid-Stage Communication

If a person is in the mid-stages of Alzheimer’s or Dementia, that means their ability to communicate has already deteriorated. The symptoms during this stage usually last longer than in the early or late stages. Tips on how you can help communication during mid-stages. 

  • Have more one-on-one conversations instead of being in group settings.
  • Be in a quiet space that has minimal distractions so that the person won’t feel overwhelmed. 
  • Practice patience and reassure the person. 
  • Ask yes or no questions instead of open-ended questions. For example, “Would you like to eat soup?” rather than “What do you want to eat?”
  • Avoid arguing with the person. 
  • Keep written notes around the house. These could be reminders or certain words they have trouble remembering. 

Late-stage Communication

Late-stage is when the disease has affected the person severely. This could last for weeks or years and around the clock care is needed. In this stage, the person will use more non-verbal styles of communication. Tips on how you can help communication during the late-stages. 

  • Identify yourself to the person and approach the person from the front. 
  • Encourage nonverbal communication, this will help the person get his/her point across easier. 
  • Use different senses such as touch, sights, sounds, smells, and tastes as an alternative form of communication. 
  • This is the stage in which you need the most patience and understanding. 
  • Always treat the person with proper dignity and respect. 
  • Offer comfort when you notice the person is having a hard time expressing themselves. 

Our hope is that these tips will help you and your loved one. When the time comes that your loved one needs home care services, Babette Home Care is here to help and offer professional Alzheimer’s and Dementia programs to support you.

For more information please contact us at https://www.babettehomecare.com/homecare-consultation/ 

For information on our upcoming events please visit: https://www.babettehomecare.com/home/virtualsummit/

This is a FREE online event for all to enjoy. 

Source: https://www.alz.org/help-support/caregiving/daily-care/communications

 

 

Tech Savvy Tips For Seniors: How To Attend Virtual (Zoom) Meetings –

Virtual Summit

As days of quarantine and isolation have stretched into months and in-person events have been canceled, virtual meetings and events have become the new normal. For most people, this switch to a more virtual way of interacting has not been a big learning curve. Navigating through Zoom and other online meeting platforms has been pretty simple and easy to do. However, navigating online resources is challenging and frustrating for millions of older adults. 

Social isolation has been a hidden health risk among seniors during the lockdown. We want to decrease the feelings of loneliness and isolation by providing some helpful tips on how to attend virtual meetings. That way, you or your loved one can start attending virtual events, book clubs, hobby clubs, and catch up with friends. 

How To Attend a Virtual Meeting? 

Zoom is currently one of the most popular platforms used to attend virtual events or meetings. You can use it on your phone, laptop, tablet, or desktop (a device that has a camera, microphone, and speakers). Zoom may seem a little intimidating at first, but it’s actually quick to set up and easy to use application. Click this link to follow a step by step guide on how to join a Zoom meeting. 

Another popular application to join online conferences and events is GoToWebinar. This platform can also be used on your phone, laptop, tablet or desktop. It is just as easy to set up and use. Click this link to read a step by step guide on how to sign up and join a GoToWebinar event. 

The final virtual meeting platform we’d like to discuss is Google Hangouts. The great thing about google hangouts is that if you already have a Google account (Gmail address and password), you already have a Google Hangouts account. Click this link to read how to join a Google Hangouts meeting with friends. 

Why Virtual Meetings? 

This pandemic has had psychological impacts on most people due to the increased levels of anxiety, panic, adjustment, and chronic stress. The elderly, who are aware that they are the most vulnerable group, continue to face chronic stress, loneliness, social isolation, fear, and anxiety caused by the uncertainty of when this will all come to an end and the continuing threat that this virus holds for them. Therefore, improving mental health is critically important. Virtual events/meetings allow older adults to reconnect with the world around them, from the safety and comfort of their own homes. 

Now that you have all the tools needed to set up your accounts, go out and enjoy the virtual world. You can always ask a loved one to help get you set up. And speaking of virtual events, we’d like to invite you to our upcoming Summit For Seniors in Quarantine where we are breaking the isolation through entertainment. Be the first to get a sneak peek of our upcoming fan-favorite guests for the summit and more information. 

Sign Up for 4-days of FREE Entertainment

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What to do when your parents refuse help but need it.

You start noticing changes in your elderly loved one’s behavior. They’re struggling with activities of daily living or there has been a decline in their hygiene. These are common signs that indicate your loved one needs additional care. Other signs include rapid weight loss, a cluttered or disorganized house, forgetfulness, loss of interest in activities they enjoy, or frequent injuries or bruises. When you notice that your loved one is struggling to take care of their health and home, it’s important to know which options of care are available. Once you’ve narrowed down your options, it’s time to start having the difficult conversations with your loved one.

We call these difficult conversations for a reason. Aging loved ones usually feel hesitant about the idea of having a caregiver come into their home. Reasons as to why your loved one feels concerned or hesitant are often caused by a communication gap or misunderstanding. The fear of losing independence, feeling incompetent, or needing to change their daily lives is scary for most people, especially the elderly. Excluding your loved one in the conversations you and the rest of the family are having regarding their care, increases the communication gap, and increases the chance of misunderstandings. Another cause of resistance is caused by emotional distress that they experience. A rapid decline in health and the ability to do daily tasks can cause anger and frustration.

It is important to acknowledge and understand your loved one’s fears and frustrations to have more meaningful and easier conversations. Carefully listen to their concerns and how they feel about the idea so they know their voice is heard. Here are some important tips on how to approach your aging loved one when they resist care.

  1. Start Conversations Early

It is important to start having conversations with your loved one as soon as you start to see signs of decline in their health and conditions, especially if they have already ended up in the hospital. Remember to approach the topic from a place of love and compassion. Keep a calm tone and neutral expressions while talking, to help your loved one feel safe and confident. In the case of increasing cognitive impairment, the longer you wait to have the conversation, the more difficult it will be to explain and convince them that they need help!

  1. Listen And Acknowledge Their Emotions And Feelings

To have the best outcome, acknowledge your loved one’s emotions and concerns. Showing empathy for the situation will make a big difference in how they react. Once you can understand why your loved one is resistant, you can develop an action plan which is more in alignment with what your loved one will be comfortable with. 

  1. Share Your Concerns With Them

Again, when talking about your specific concerns, always remember to address things calmly and lovingly. You could mention specific instances or differences you’ve been noticing in their behavior. By pointing out certain situations, your loved one will more likely be open to listening and learning about care options. If your loved one happens to become defensive, avoid a potential argument. Instead, acknowledge that you understand how difficult this is for them. Be sure to include facts about the consequences of not getting help. 

  1. Establish Common Goals

Establishing common goals is the most important step in having these conversations. Ask your loved one that their goals are. Would they like to remain at home? Would they be comfortable with a caregiver in the home? By realizing what their goals are and aligning those goals with you and your family’s goals. You can adjust and organize the level of care. 

  1. Include A Professional 

Set up a call with a professional to answer any questions you and your loved one may have. It is important to include your loved one in the conversation to make sure that their fears/concerns are being heard. The feeling of inclusivity will help empower them to feel like they have some control in the decision making process. A professional will also be able to explain the current situation to your loved one perhaps in a more clear, concise, and unbiased perspective. 

  1. Avoid Putting Too Much Pressure

Once again, it is important to introduce the conversion early. As the situation worsens the more pressure you and your loved one will feel. If your loved one continues to refuse any type of care, bring someone else, someone who they trust like a close friend or a sibling, into the conversations. 

  1. Keep Notes Of Conversations 

Your loved one might not be able to recall certain conversations or details about the conversations previously discussed. Keeping notes of conversations will help your loved one more easily recall and understand the situation at hand. 

We hope that these tips help you get the care your loved one deserves. If you have any questions regarding our caregivers or services, sign up for our complimentary consultation and we will happily help you with getting services in place. 

Meet Marlene Martin: Caregiver of the month, September 2020

Caregiver of the month, Babette Home Care

We would like to introduce you to our first official Caregiver of the Month, Marlene Martin. Her love and passion for caregiving is evident in her work and she has been a great asset to the Babette Home Care team. We got together with Marlene, eager to know why she decided to become a caregiver and what has been the driving force to her passion and success.

Interviewer: Why did you decide to become a caregiver?

Marlene: I decided to become a caregiver because I love taking care of the elderly. I grew up with my grand-mom and when I began to notice that she could no longer do certain things like she used to, I remember rushing to get things done for her before she even got the chance to do them so I could save her the hardship. This is where my passion started for the elderly.

Interviewer: What is your favorite thing about working with Babette Home Care?

Marlene: My favorite thing about working for Babette Home Care is the genuine love, care, and friendly environment that I get to be a part of. The company is so welcoming, and I feel cared for by the team.

Interviewer What would you say is your superpower as a caregiver?

Marlene: My superpower is my ability to bring a smile and joy to my clients when they see me. This lets me know that my presence makes a positive impact on their lives.

Interviewer: What would you like to do when you retire?

Marlene: When I retire, I am going to become a full-time minister. However, I still want to be a part of the elderly’s lives so I plan on visiting them and providing moral support.

A breakdown of Senior Home Care

Home is where the heart is.

When it comes to Senior Care, there are a variety of options available for your loved one to choose from including; Home Care Agencies, Skilled Nursing Facilities, Independent Living Facilities, Assisted Living Facilities and Continuing Care Retirement Communities. Each of these facilities include their own sets of pro’s and con’s and different ways in which they serve the elderly community.

We created this infographic which breaks down the basics of home care and our hope is that this breakdown will help you make a more informed decision about what kind of care is right for you.

This image is a breakdown of the impact of Home Care on individuals, families and the healthcare industry.
What is Senior Home Care.

 For additional questions on the different types of home care please visit our services.

Why Home Care is more important now than ever before.

Elderly washing vegetables

Home care is growing at a rate like never before, according to an article published by Business Insider, the home healthcare market is growing at an annual compound rate of 7% and will reach an estimated 173 billion USD by 2026. The rapid growth is caused by not only the changes in societal and demographics in the United States but, also due to the increase in the demand for home-based care consequently by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The pandemic has caused a rapid acceptance of telemedicine and home healthcare to be more widely used and accepted throughout the healthcare industry. Remote monitoring technologies have also become a more popular way in which to take care of loved ones at home. We could say that Covid-19 is a catalyst for health care innovation. Home care combined with virtual care is now more popular and therefore, increased safety procedures and training has been put into place to ensure that caregivers are equipped to handle the drastic changes which we are currently experiencing.

According to a recent article by Mednews, over 40% of Covid-19 related deaths have occurred in nursing homes or long-term care facilities. Taking into consideration this shocking statistic, it’s easier to understand why our elderly loved ones are trying to avoid being placed in long-term care facilities to stay at home, and family members are removing their loved ones from them and bringing them back at home.

Breaking down the importance of home-care 

Security and Safety 

Our homes are considered a crucial place for security and safety. Allowing your loved one to be taken care of in the comfort of their own homes will have multiple benefits not only on their physical health by reducing the risk of being infected but also on their mental health. Financial security is also important as home care helps minimize healthcare costs and readmission rates.

Separation from loved ones

Families being separated and not knowing when they will be able to visit or see loved ones is another reason why home health care is beneficial. Eliminating the hard time being separated from loved ones is a great weight taken off families’ shoulders.

Longevity

The isolation and fear that elders have been facing being the most vulnerable group during this pandemic has caused a major increase in mental health issues including depression, anxiety etc. Individualized care provided with home care could have a positive effect and reduce the feeling of isolation and loneliness. Companionship and care will help your loved one feel at ease and reduce the risks of mental-health related problems. The ease of mind can extend their health and life span.

Navigating concerns

Home caregivers are able to meet the needs of clients in an extremely personal and individualized manner. All concerns that loved ones may have are able to be more easily navigated with great compassion and care, attributing to the ease of mind.

Freedom and Independence

Elders receiving in-home care are able to live their lives happy and independently in the comfort of their own homes. Having the option to eat the meals that they love and enjoy can make a huge difference in their overall happiness and quality of life. They even get to build a connection with their caregiver which gives them so much joy and freedom. They feel heard and are seen completely with one on one care.


As Covid-19 has allowed the world to look at home care for seniors in a more holistic way, the industry will continue to grow and develop. Caregivers will be more trained and ready to assist as new healthcare models will continue to develop. It’s important to keep educating families on the effects and benefits that home care can provide. To learn more about home care services read here.

How COVID-19 has impacted Elder’s mental health

COVID-19 Mental Health

As lockdown rules and restrictions ease in most states and we enter into a new normal way of life, most of us are now able to go back into the office or visit our favorite restaurant, whilst using a mask and following social distance guidelines. The months of isolation and lockdown are slowly but surely coming to an end. Unfortunately, this is not the case for most of the older population who are still under threat of being infected by COVID-19. Older adults who may have a weaker immune system or suffer from underlying health conditions have had the highest COVID-19 risk and mortality rate.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8 out of 10 COVID-19-related deaths reported in the United States have been among adults aged 65 years and older. As seen on the graph below, the older you get, the higher the risk of hospitalization caused by COVID-19. 

Source

In most cases, this is why elders are still being advised to remain in isolation and shelter in place whilst the rest of us re-enter society. This pandemic has had psychological impacts on most people due to the increased levels of anxiety, panic, adjustment and chronic stress. The elderly, who are aware that they are the most vulnerable group, continue to face the chronic stress, loneliness, social isolation, fear and anxiety caused by the uncertainty of when this will all come to an end and the continuing threat that this virus holds for them. 

It’s important for family members  and caregivers to understand how they can help improve their loved ones’ mental state during this time. Here are some great resources and tips we have put together in hopes that it will be most beneficial to you and your loved one. 

Activities to help elder’s well-being during extended isolation:

  • Physical activity such as stretching or yoga. 
  • Cognitive activities such as crossword puzzles, wordsearch, art. 
  • Connecting with loved ones online via Facebook, email and facetime.
  • Reading books or magazines. 
  • Relaxation activities including meditation, breathing exercises. 
  • In-room or in-home gardening.
  • Going on a virtual trip. 

How to help manage the stress and uncertainty:

  • Educate your loved one, without scaring, on the facts and updates about the COVID-19 pandemic, by sharing simple facts so that they will be less likely to believe false rumors or constantly watch the tv for updates and therefore, will have less stress. 
  • Share positive stories with them about other elders and high risk individuals who have contracted and successfully beat Covid-19.
  • Communicate all instructions on precautionary activities in a clear, calm and respectful way. 
  • Make sure you are staying in contact with your loved one and encourage other family members to reach out. 
  • Help your loved one navigate and use devices to help stay in touch easily. 

Additional Resources: 

National Mental Health Services Administration Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990. Call or Text.

The Institute on Aging Friendship Line:  1-800-971-0016. If you need a friendly voice or support, The Institute on Aging Friendship Line is available 24/7 year-round in English, Spanish, Mandarin and Cantonese. 


By continuing to offer support and communication to your loved one, you can help them significantly improve their mental health during these uncertain times. It is important for us all to stand together and take care of those around us. If you would like to learn more on how Babette Home Care is taking action measures to help our elder community during these hard times read more here

12 Easy Gift Ideas For Your Elderly Loved One

Gifts

If you don’t know what to get your elderly loved one for the holiday season, here are some gifts ideas we put together to help you get started. It’s the simple things in life that make the biggest impact.

1. A Gift Card To Their Favorite Restaurant

Sometimes your loved one wants to get out of the house to add some flavor to their day. A gift card to one of their favorite restaurants is a great way to encourage them to get out the house and relive old times with their friends and family.

2. A Family Photo Album

Description: mage result for pictures of family photo albums

This is a great gift for a loved one who may be suffering from Dementia, Alzheimer’s or any kind of memory loss. It helps them reconnect with the special memories you once shared with them and reminds them of the beautiful family and support system they have.

3. Board Games

Description: mage result for pictures of board games

No matter the age; who doesn’t love a board game? You can choose classics like Bingo, Checkers, Dominos, or a deck of cards, or you can go with strategy games like Risk or Chess. For word nerds, consider games like Scrabble or Bananagrams.

Not only are board games fun but they also keep seniors exercising their brains, engaging in life, and happy. It allows them to interact with their friends and family in a fun activity, and it helps with mental illnesses like anxiety and depression which are common among seniors.

4. A Skin Care Kit For The Winter

The horrors of winter are manifold—frigid temps, bone-chilling wind, the radiator that slowly leaches any and all moisture from the skin. Give a gift that will protect your loved one from the worst of winter’s physiological terrors: Lip balm, hand lotion, cuticle oil, and a facial moisturizer or shaving lotion. The elderly’s skin tends to be very fragile which makes the winter a lot more harsh for them.

5. A Decorative Coffee Mug

Description: mage result for pictures of christmas coffee mugs

There is no such thing as having too many mugs. A fun mug is a great way to encourage seniors to stay hydrated and enjoy their favorite warm beverages in the colder months. Get a mug that your loved one will love to use daily.

6. A Tote Bag

Description: mage result for pictures of cute tote bags

Tote bags can be useful for grocery shopping, spending the night out, storage and lots more! Seniors love them and its also a great way to protect the environment.

7. A Cozy Blanket

Description: mage result for pictures of winter blankets

Everyone likes to feel warm in the winter time; so why not get a warm cozy blanket to keep them warm during winter!?

8. A Photograph In A Picture Frame

Description: mage result for pictures of holiday picture frames

Do you love your parents? Do they love you? (Of course, they do.) Do you know what they’ll love almost as much? A nice picture of you and your family in a beautiful frame that they can place in their home.

9. A Personal Journal

Description: mage result for pictures of journals

A journal is one of the most underrated gifts for a senior. It can help increase focus, promote mindfulness, and boost memory. Journaling allows seniors to keep their mind laser sharp, express themselves freely, and share their thoughts and memories with future generations.

10. Winter Accessories

Description: elated image

If your loved one is anywhere in New England, it’s probably very cold where they’re located. Cold weather accessories are, at the very least, always the first things that go missing when they’re most needed. It is important to keep your loved one warm since they’re at risk for the cold and flu. Mittens, scarves, sweaters, hats and coats are a few must-haves articles of clothing for seniors living in cold climates.

11. A Kindle With Built In Front Lights

This the the perfect gift for your elderly loved one for many reasons. Who doesn’t love to read? Not only are there endless books available to download but the Kindle allows the reader to customize the font size as well as bookmark pages. This is an absolute favorite!

12. The Gift Of Your Time

There is nothing more valuable than spending quality time with your elderly loved ones. Spending time is the most precious thing that we can give to anyone that we love, regardless of their age. Be sure to visit your loved ones during the holiday season to show them that you love them and that they matter to you. Don’t let the busyness of life and shopping make you forgot what’s important. Presence is the best present.