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2014 │ Edition 5

Kit Whittington

Dear Clients of SHC,

Welcome to our fall newsletter, highlighting SHC’s fourth core value – OPENNESS. The first time I remember embracing the concept of openness was as a young adult when I became “open” to the idea of leaving my full-time corporate job in advertising to care for my grandmother with stage four cancer. The decision was far from the traditional path I had planned on. However, if it had not been for that defining shift in my life, I may not have had the last wonderful moments that I did with my grandmother. Also, I would not have been lead to start Seniors Home Care in her honor and continue my passion to care and advocate for those in need.
As the years have progressed, I have learned a lot about openness to new ideas, concepts and experiences. An example of this is the concept of using computers for office tasks like bookkeeping       and scheduling. I was quite comfortable with ledger cards and paper schedules until I was convinced by my staff to be receptive to modern technology.
I am now more quickly open to new ideas that may be different from how I was raised or what is familiar. I am convinced that without having an open mind and the help of our wonderful team of families, caregivers, nurses and office staff, I may hold up the progress for myself and others. A sincere thank you to my “life teachers.”

Kit Whittington  
RN, BSN, Founder

The FOURTH of Seniors Home Care’s 10 Core Values


Share information and solicit new ideas
I strive to share my ideas appropriately and listen to others’ ideas with an open mind.
Openness begins with an accommodating attitude or opinion, as in being receptive to new ideas, behaviors, cultures, peoples, environments and experiences, different from the familiar, conventional, traditional, or one's own belief.

Halloween Senior Safety is No Joke

For many families, Halloween is an evening to enjoy time with the kids; but what about the other end of the spectrum. For seniors, the holiday can be scary in a very real sense. This is particularly true for individuals with dementia, physical limitations or living alone.

For someone with dementia, the stimulation from doorbells, knocks and other outside noise can be very distressing and cause confusion or anger. Similarly, elderly individuals living alone or with physical limitations may feel vulnerable.

Luckily, this doesn’t have to be the case. Below are a few tips for a positive Halloween experience:

  • Make sure that someone is there to give assistance and reassurance.

  • Turn out porch lights if you wish to avoid trick-or-treaters. If this presents a security risk, make a sign that says, “Sorry, no more candy.”

  • If trying to ignore outside activity, be prepared with distractions, such as movies, music, photo albums and crafts.

Having someone to provide support can turn a potentially bad night into a safe and enjoyable evening.

SHC Director of Operations, Ryan Whittington, recalls a Halloween shift from his caregiving days, “I answered the door and invited trick-or-treaters to step inside. From there, my client - who was in the living room with her oxygen tank - was able to see their costumes and hear their jokes. She couldn’t have done that alone, but with help, we both had a great time.”

If you’re unable to be with a loved one on Halloween and feel they could use a companion, contact SHC. We’d love to help.       
Source: SHC Blog

Shhh…A Great Library Service Few People Know About

St. Louis libraries are taking measures to make their catalog available to seniors who are no longer able to visit them. Through Homebound Services, libraries deliver material to district residents who are unable to get to the library due to illness or physical limitations.
Materials available for delivery include: Books (including large print), Audiobooks, Movies, Television shows, and Music CDs.
Libraries can deliver specific items or make suggestions based on an individual’s preferences. Contact your local library to find out if such services are offered.
If your library does not offer homebound services, there are still ways to enjoy their collection. Seniors Home Care caregivers would be happy to help you or a loved one enjoy a favorite classic. An SHC caregiver can pick material up or provide transportation and assistance getting to and from the library with someone unable to do so independently. To learn more, please contact us.      
Source: SHC Blog


 I would like to thank you and your stellar staff members, most particularly Dennis, Diane, Kathy, Lee and Linda for the tender care, patience, concern and many kindnesses that they showed to my step dad during his final illness.  They were, without fail, professional while at the same time being warm and caring individuals.
I, and my family, so appreciate their efforts and caring presence. Thank you all, for all you do.
The Berry family.

Age-Related Changes In Memory

Forgetfulness can be a normal part of aging. As people get older, changes occur in all parts of the body, including the brain. As a result, some people may notice that it takes longer to learn new things, they don't remember information as well as they did, or they lose things like their glasses. These usually are signs of mild forgetfulness, not serious memory problems.

Some older adults also find that they don't do as well as younger people on complex memory or learning tests. Scientists have found, though, that given enough time, healthy older people can do as well as younger people do on these tests. In fact, as they age, healthy adults usually improve in areas of mental ability such as vocabulary.

Keeping Your Memory Sharp
People with some forgetfulness can use a variety of techniques that may help them stay healthy and maintain their memory and mental skills. Here are some tips that can help:

  • Plan tasks, make "to do" lists, and use memory aids like notes and calendars. Some people find they remember things better if they mentally connect them to other meaningful things, such as a familiar name, song, book, or TV show.
  • Develop interests or hobbies and stay involved in activities that can help both the mind and body.
  • Engage in physical activity and exercise. Several studies have associated exercise (such as walking) with better brain function, although more research is needed to say for sure whether exercise can help to maintain brain function or prevent or delay symptoms of Alzheimer's.
  • Limit alcohol use. Although some studies suggest that moderate alcohol use has health benefits, heavy or binge drinking over time can cause memory loss and permanent brain damage.
  • Find activities, such as exercise or a hobby, to relieve feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression. If these feelings last for a long time, talk with your doctor.


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is breast cancer awareness month. It's particularly important for seniors to be informed because, like all cancers, the risk of breast cancer increases with age. Treatment is most successful when detected early, so it's important to be proactive – get screened (once a year for women over 40) and perform monthly breast self-exams. Have anything new or unusual checked by a doctor.
For some seniors, just getting to a doctor’s appointment can be a challenge. Neglecting an appointment may affect the chances that cancer is detected early or properly treated. At SHC, transportation is one of the many services that we offer. If you know someone who would benefit from such a service, let us know. We’re here to help.   
Source: SHC Blog

 Happy Thanksgiving!

All year, especially around Thanksgiving, we at Seniors Home Care focus on giving. Personally, I feel giving is a powerful and profitable act. When I give and don’t expect anything in return, it helps me remember those who have given to me in the past. The profit I gain is realized through more meaningful relationships with others and greater clarity about myself. Giving to others helps us to recognize everything we have to be thankful for. Here is what others in the SHC office are thankful for: A safe home, Co-workers, Family, Friends, Opportunity, Health and Work. We’re proud to offer a service that provides a safe home to people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to continue living as they wish. We’re thankful for our clients and their families who invite us into their lives and trust us with their loved ones.

We also give thanks to our incredible caregivers who work hard to provide some of the highest quality home care services in the St. Louis area.
From the SHC family to yours, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Ryan Whittington