Discussing Home Care with Your Loved Ones

When we see our loved ones aging or experiencing health challenges, it’s only natural to want the best care for them. Home care is one of the most viable options, as it allows our loved ones to receive the aid they need while staying in their familiar environment. However, discussing home care can be tricky, as it involves acknowledging certain realities that might be hard to accept for all parties involved. Here are some steps to make this significant life decision painless. 

1. Create a Safe and Comfortable Atmosphere:

Ensure the location you have chosen is familiar and private. You are preparing to delve into a new chapter of life with your loved one; it’s a significant conversation that can substantially impact your loved one’s life. 

2. Include All Key Players:

While discussing home care, it is important to involve all relevant parties. Depending on your loved one’s social circle, this includes siblings, spouses, and even close friends. Doing so ensures different perspectives and reduces the chances of misunderstanding or feelings of exclusion. 

3. Communicate with Empathy and Respect:

Approach the idea of homecare with empathy and respect. Ground your conversation in concern for your loved one’s well-being, and ensure that home care is not a means to strip them of their independence. Active listening is vital. Talk through your loved one’s concerns. 

4. Provide Clear Information and Reassurance:

Do your homework and be prepared to answer questions and concerns about home care. At Private Home Care, we know that one-size-fits-all plans leave room for shortcomings or unnecessary services; we aim to tailor our care plans to your loved one’s needs and support them with the best caregivers. 

5. Involve Them in the Decision-Making Process:

This step is crucial. Remember, this is about your loved one’s care, so their input should be the deciding factor. Please encourage them to weigh in on the decision and ensure they feel heard.

6. Take Your Time:

Lastly, do not rush this process. Allow your loved one time to absorb the information, ask questions, express their feelings, and eventually make a decision. Patience and understanding are paramount during this time.

Approaching your loved ones about home care is a delicate process. However, it’s possible to navigate this conversation effectively with empathy, respect, clear communication, and ample time. And remember, seeking professional advice can also be very helpful in this process. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that your loved ones receive the best possible care in a setting that offers them comfort, familiarity, and a sense of dignity.

The Transformative Power of Project Present Improv Training

A Day in the Life of a Caregiver at Private Home Care

Power Up Your Diet with Lion’s Mane

The Advantages of Aging at Home

Many older adults who desire to maintain their independence and autonomy receive personalized, professional care from the comfort of their own homes. Let’s explore five reasons why aging at home with the help of a caregiver can be a valuable option for individuals:

1. Familiar surroundings

Aging at home allows individuals to continue living in their own homes, creating a sense of comfort and control. Moving to a long-term care facility may be intimidating for many older adults because it threatens their independence. Aging at home under the watchful eye of a caregiver maintains a client’s autonomy and dignity while still living independently. Additionally, aging at home allows them to remain in a familiar environment—a home that offers comfort and familiarity. This becomes particularly significant for those dealing with cognitive impairments. 

2. Tailored Care

Care should never be one size fits all. Aging at home enables individuals to receive care-tailored plans that optimize their quality of life, needs, and preferences. At PHC, we prioritize the perfect match for every client. We work closely with caregivers and families to develop care plans that accommodate a client’s personal, medical, and social needs, such as bathing, dressing, and grooming, as well as more specialized care like medication management and mobility support. 

3. Cost-effective 

For those requiring minimal assistance with daily activities, aging at home can be cost-effective compared to moving into a long-term care facility. In-home care arrangements offer flexibility on an as-needed basis. For instance, caregivers may provide support during specific times of the day or week to help with bathing needs or mobility assistance. A caregiver’s help reduces the burden on family members or loved ones. 

4. Flexibility

Aging at home provides greater flexibility when choosing the proper care provider for each unique situation. Each individual has distinctive needs and preferences to consider when making these decisions. The ability to select the most suitable caregiver allows for a more personalized care experience. 

Aging at home with the assistance of a caregiver offers numerous advantages for older adults. It promotes independence and autonomy, provides tailored care, maintains familiar surroundings, and is cost-effective. These reasons make aging at home a valuable and desirable option for many individuals seeking to maintain their independence as they age. The flexibility offered by receiving care at home should be noticed, as it allows adjustments based on individual needs. Notably, the availability and variety of options for aging at home have grown significantly over time. For those seeking a more comprehensive discussion, please contact us today. At PHC, we are prepared to go the extra mile to make this critical transition as easy and manageable as possible. 

The Transformative Power of Project Present Improv Training

A Day in the Life of a Caregiver at Private Home Care

Power Up Your Diet with Lion’s Mane

Now, More Than Ever, Senior Centers Are Integral To Our Communities

If you were looking for one word that defines Senior Centers in our country it would be this.  

Senior centers serve as a gateway to the nation’s aging network—connecting older adults to vital community services that can help them stay healthy and independent. Recognized by the Older Americans Act (OAA) as a community focal point, senior centers have become one of the most widely used services among America’s older adults. In fact, more than 60% of senior centers are designated focal points for the delivery of OAA services—allowing older adults to access multiple services in one place.

Key Statistics:

  • 75% of participants visit their center 1 to 3 times per week, spending an average of 3.3 hours per visit.
  • Approximately 70% of senior center participants are women; half of them live alone.
  • Compared with their peers, senior center participants have higher levels of health, social interaction, and life satisfaction and lower levels of income.
  • The average age of participants is 75.

PHC is proud to be a Gold-Level sponsor of one such center – the Frisbie Senior Center in Des Plaines, IL. In 1975, representatives from the City of Des Plaines and Des Plaines Park District recognized the need to provide dedicated services to the senior population living in that community. After convening with senior residents and discussing their wants and needs, a “senior center” program was established, catering mainly to the 70+ age group and offering the traditional Arts-Bingo-Crafts activities. Fast-forward to 2021, through the efforts of its members, it’s become a one-of-a-kind facility offering over 65 open programs in a 20,000-square foot, ADA-accessible facility. The mission is simple: Bring seniors together to find new friends and stay active.

Melissa Kalliantasis is the Program Director at Frisbie. Melissa has spent her entire career in the field of geriatrics – visiting lonely and isolated seniors early on, and now manages the day-to-day programming and services offered at the FSC. She recently became a SHIP Coordinator and helps older adults to navigate the complexities of Medicare, Medicaid, and everything in between. 

Frisbe Announcement Board
Announcements and resources are frequently updated by volunteers at the center.

What Types of Programs Do Senior Centers Like Frisbie Offer?

Senior centers offer a wide variety of programs and services, including:

  • Meal and nutrition programs
  • Information and assistance
  • Health, fitness, and wellness programs
  • Transportation services
  • Public benefits counseling
  • Employment assistance
  • Volunteer and civic engagement opportunities
  • Social and recreational activities
  • Educational and arts programs
  • Intergenerational programs

Frisbie’s calendar is always full! With activities as diverse as:

  • Ping Pong
  • Woodcarvers
  • Blood Pressure Screening
  • Line Dancing
  • Chair Yoga
  • Chair Beach Ball Volleyball
  • Tai Chi
  • And of course, Cash Bingo!

Many recipients of in home care services can benefit from participating in community based activities such as the above. Caregivers can accompany clients to activities and gatherings in local communities, so they continue to engage as much as possible. 

What About Covid?

On February 2nd, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced the transition of Region 10 (suburban Cook County) to “Phase 4” of the Restore Illinois effective immediately. As a result, the Frisbie Senior Center resumed a modified program schedule, whereby schedules in-facility activities and events can have 50 or fewer participants, dependent upon what designated space within the Center is being utilized. 

The foremost concern remains health and safety. As a result, they will continue to monitor and follow guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as well as various state agencies, which include social distancing as well as increased cleaning and disinfecting activities. Masks are required while anyone is in the facility for the protection of staff and visitors alike.

Bingo Tray
The infamous Bingo machine at the Frisbie Senior Center. 

Volunteers Are Crucial

We often think of volunteering as a “selfless” act. A one-way transfer of time and care. Anyone who has ever volunteered will likely set you straight on that. Volunteering enriches both the volunteer and the recipient. 

As social beings, it’s hard-wired in all of us to connect with each other. While COVID-19 has self-isolated billions of people, it has also prompted millions to volunteer in many innovative ways — from making face masks to helping elderly neighbors with shopping to virtual concerts and Pilates classes. 

It’s possible that COVID-19 has prompted you to think more deeply about the nature of social connectivity and isolation. Living a more isolated life has been tough on a lot of people. But perspective is a wonderful thing. 

Many seniors live with some kind of isolation. Isolation should be avoided.

We all have things to share with our most vulnerable seniors. Whether it’s crafting, woodworking, or just your time or donations. You know that rich life experiences are indispensable. They’ve helped make up everything you are today. So just imagine how many valuable stories, lessons, and experiences your elders can share with you. When you spend time volunteering with seniors, you’ll benefit just as much as they do—and you can learn a lot too!

As a not-for-profit, Frisbie Senior Center – and all senior centers – thrive because of the time and effort put in over the years by wonderful volunteers. At its core, volunteerism is at the core of the Frisbie Senior Center’s mission, highlighting the importance of engaging older persons in socially, intellectually, and physically enriching ways. 

Now, more than ever, we have to take care of each other. Volunteering at your local senior center is an amazing gift for seniors, the senior center – and YOU. The Frisbie Senior Center, for instance, will be offering volunteer opportunities responsibly available after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. 

Three Poole Tables
Spearheaded by President and CEO Steven Samuelson, Frisbie Senior Center was the site of mass COVID-19 vaccinations for members and the community in early 2020. This tremendous undertaking resulted in thousands of vaccines in one of the first such efforts in Chicagoland. ​​​​

Get Involved

During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans are uniting to help each other. Not only that, new research in the Journal of Happiness Studies suggests that volunteers not only help their communities, they also experience a positive bump in mental health. At a time when some 33% of Americans are experiencing symptoms of pandemic-related anxiety or depression, that intrinsic reward or “warm glow” feeling provides both a buffer and a sense of control. Also, volunteering is likely to help boost one’s sense of social connection – particularly for older adults who may be feeling isolated.

And that’s not all. In study after study, researchers have found that people who volunteer lead longer, healthier, happier lives. Volunteerism correlates positively to stronger self-confidence, a better quality of friendships, and improved job prospects. 

Chances are there are seniors right in your own neighborhood who could use your help.

If you are in the Chicagoland area, you can contact the Frisbie Senior Center here: https://www.frisbieseniorcenter.org/volunteer

If you are located elsewhere a quick Google search of “senior centers near me volunteer” in your area should produce a wealth of options to explore. You can always start with just volunteering at a few places to dip your toe in the water and decide which one suits you best – and needs you the most.


If you don’t have a parent or grandparent of your own that needs some extra caring for, there are plenty of seniors out there who could use some company! Volunteering builds more robust social networks and because volunteering often helps people discover their passions, the ability to tell one’s own story. Together, we can write wonderful new stories.

The Transformative Power of Project Present Improv Training

A Day in the Life of a Caregiver at Private Home Care

Power Up Your Diet with Lion’s Mane

What Is Age-Related Macular Degeneration? Types, Symptoms, and Risk Factors

What Is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration or AMD occurs when the macula of your eye starts wearing down because of age. The macula is the central part of the retina, which is a light-sensing nerve tissue present at the back of our eyes, and it helps us have clearer, straighter vision.

AMD impacts close to 5% of Americans who are 65 years old and older and is the leading cause of vision loss in America. Although there is no cure, intervention from an ophthalmologist can aid in slowing down the condition in the diagnosed. The pest way to screen for and in some cases prevent degenerative eye diseases similar to ADM, such as glaucoma and cataracts, is to have eye exams on a yearly basis which will include dilation. Any change in sight is alarming and a cause to make an appointment for comprehensive testing. 

AMD usually doesn’t result in blindness unless it’s the rare kind of AMD, called Wet AMD. However, it does get progressively worse and can result in severe, in some cases, cause debilitating damage.  Below are some main points about AMD as well as some information on prevention, diagnosis and treatment options. 

There are two types of AMD affecting adults over 65: 

  • Wet AMD
  • Dry AMD

Between 85 and 90 percent of people with AMD have dry form, with wet AMD is rare. Dry AMD can lead to wet AMD.

Dry Macular Degeneration

Everyone’s retinas contain a yellow deposit called drusen which are largely comprised of fatty proteins, located in the macula. As we age, the deposits increase in quantity and size. Initially, they don’t cause any changes to sight, but over time, and especially with age, you might start exhibiting distorted vision and blind spots. Consequently, as we age, the drusen deposits coupled with macular thinning can make the condition worse, with the loss of vision depending on the amount of thinning of the retina. Many with dry AMD experience some difficulty reading smaller print, almost always have trouble seeing at night and may experience reduced vision quality overall. Dry AMD develops slowly and overtime. 

Wet Macular Degeneration 

This kind of AMD is caused when the blood vessels start leaking fluid and blood into the retina. This leakage distorts your vision, creates blind spots, forms scars and eventually leads to permanent loss of central vision. Wet AMD develops quickly and is rare.

Stargardt Disease or Juvenile Macular Degeneration

Stargardt muscular degeneration is an eye disorder that results in progressive vision loss. The condition is genetic, but onset typically occurs before late adolescence. The retina breaks down prematurely in Juvenile Macular Degeneration, and the person may exhibit symptoms like color distortion and blurry vision. Both conditions get progressively worse but early intervention and therapies can often prevent blindness.

The Signs and Symptoms 

The challenge with AMD is that it’s hard to catch it – until it gets worse. That’s why regular examinations are so necessary as we age. Usually, AMD gets diagnosed when it has already affected both eyes and the person is exhibiting the following symptoms:

  • Vision blurry enough to deter them from reading or driving
  • Dark edges in the center of your vision
  • Altered color perception

The Causes and Risk Factors for AMD

Age-related macular degeneration is one of the major causes of vision loss in people over 60. This risk increases exponentially when there’s a genetic, gender-specific, and physiological factor involved. 

  1. Age

As the namesake suggests, age is the most significant factor that contributes to AMD. Over 2% of older adults and a third of seniors develop AMD.

  1. Smoking

Smokers have a four times higher risk of AMD because smoke reduces the oxygen absorption abilities of the eye.

  1. Heart Problems

High cholesterol levels, beta-blocker usage, a history of stroke, and a higher BMI contribute towards a higher risk of developing AMD.

If you think that you or your loved one is at a higher risk of AMD, you can still prevent the onset of the disease by quitting smoking, getting regular physical exercise, maintaining a nutritious diet of seafood and leafy greens, and managing your blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol levels.

Diagnosing AMD

Dilated Eye Exam

The earliest sign of AMD is the yellow drusen under your retina clumping together. This can be diagnosed by a painless but comprehensive dilated eye exam. A regular visit to the ophthalmologist might pre-emptively catch AMD before it gets worse. 

Amsler Grid Test

Another way to diagnose AMD is by the Amsler Grid Test, a pattern of straight lines that look like a checkerboard. The doctor might ask you to look at those lines, and if they seem irregular or distorted, it might be a sign of AMD.

Angiography or OCT

The Angiography or OCT as a diagnosis for AMD only happens when the doctor has conducted the physical exam on your eye and suspects macular degeneration. 

In an angiography, your doctor will insert a dye into your veins and take pictures of the leakage of the blood vessels in your retina, which will be more apparent due to the color of the dye. On the other hand, an OCT will be able to see the fluid underneath your retina without using a dye.  

Treatment can start once the diagnosis has been confirmed by physical exam and diagnostic tests

Treatments for AMD

Some studies have shown that Vitamin C and E, zeaxanthin, zinc and copper can help prevent AMD; unfortunately, there is no cure. However, some treatments slow down the degeneration:

  • Anti-angiogenesis drugs which block the fluid leakage into your retina, in case of wet AMD
  • Laser therapy destroys excess or abnormal blood vessels in your eye
  • Photodynamic laser therapy, where a light-sensitive drug is injected into your bloodstream, and a laser is used to trigger the medicine into damaging the abnormal blood vessels
  • Visual aids that create larger images of nearby objects help cope the older adults or seniors with the vision loss

There are also surgical treatments such as retinal translocation for AMD. 

At Private Home Care, we offer hourly and live-in services with caregivers familiar with AMD and other vision conditions. We also understand the importance of consistency with following vision medication routines. 

The Transformative Power of Project Present Improv Training

A Day in the Life of a Caregiver at Private Home Care

Power Up Your Diet with Lion’s Mane