Category Archives: General Health Care

Maggie Cares: American Heart Month


It’s February and love is in the air. Many stores are already full of chocolates and sweet Valentine’s Day cards. Personally, I can’t wait to get my paws on all the extra treats that will be in my bowl when Valentine’s Day arrives.

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Debunking the Myths of Older Adult Falls

Many people think falls are a normal part of aging. The truth is, they’re not.

Most falls can be prevented—and you have the power to reduce your risk.

Exercising, managing your medications, having your vision checked, and making your living environment safer are all steps you can take to prevent a fall.

Every year on the first day of fall, we celebrate National Falls Prevention Awareness Day to bring attention to this growing public health issue. To promote greater awareness and understanding here are 10 common myths—and the reality—about older adult falls: Continue reading

6 Steps to Prevent a Fall

NCOA-6-Steps-to-Prevent-a-Fall-1 NCOA-6-Steps-to-Prevent-a-Fall-2


THA Group‘s comprehensive balance program, Step Forward™, is designed to identify and treat risk factors for falls and improve independence and safety at home. Program features include a mobility evaluation with a home safety assessment, patient education and a customized exercise program for balance improvement. For more information about Step Forward™, call 888-842-4663. Download the Step Forward™ Home Safety Checklist.

6 Steps to Protect Your Older Loved One From a Fall

Did you know that 1 in 3 older Americans falls every year? Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for people aged 65+.

Falls can result in hip fractures, broken bones, and head injuries. And even falls without a major injury can cause an older adult to become fearful or depressed, making it difficult for them to stay active.

If you have an aging parent, grandparent, or neighbor in your life, helping them reduce their risk of falling is a great way to help them stay healthy and independent as long as possible.

The good news about falls is that most of them can be prevented. The key is to know where to look. Here are some common factors that can lead to a fall: Continue reading

Maggies Cares: Beat the Heat



Are you hot? I sure am! They don’t call these the “Dog Days of Summer” for no reason! When your body can’t cool itself enough to maintain a healthy temperature, heat stress may occur. As I get older, I find that I am more sensitive to heat and humidity. Similarly, older humans are more prone to heat stress for several reasons. According to the CDC:

  • They don’t adjust as well to sudden changes in temperature.
  • They are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that changes normal body responses to heat.
  • They are more likely to take prescription medicines that impair the body’s ability to regulate its temperature or that inhibit perspiration.

To protect yourself from heat-related stress, follow these tips: Continue reading

NAHC Celebrates 50th Birthday of Medicare and Medicaid: Enhancing Freedom

Washington, D.C. (July 30, 2015) – Val J. Halamandaris, President of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice, today hailed the 50th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid being signed into law.

“It is only appropriate that we thank Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and John F. Kennedy as well as Republican Leader C. Everett Dirksen, for their gift to the nation of Medicare and Medicaid,” Halamandaris said. “In simple terms, Medicare and Medicaid have enhanced the freedoms of our seniors and added years to life, and life to years.”

Before Medicare, U.S. seniors were at risk and unable to buy health insurance at a time when statistically they received only half of their pre-retirement income and were sick three times as often and hospitalized three times as long as their younger counterparts. Halamandaris states that Medicare helped assuage seniors’ worries by providing them with access to the best health care coverage at an affordable price.

“What price would we place on helping our elders achieve a longer and healthier life?” Halamandaris asked. “Surely we would be willing to do all in our power to give them freedom from worry, from the fear of going without care, and from the fear that they will lose all they worked for and wind up a ward of the state.” President John F. Kennedy thought there was no better investment than to provide health care for seniors. Referencing the historian, Arnold Toynbee, who had studied the survival of civilizations, Kennedy argued that it was important to venerate and care for our elders like the Ancient Greeks and Ancient Chinese, and that it was morally the right thing to do. What was at stake, Kennedy argued, was nothing less than the future of American Democracy and how we will be viewed through the prism of history.

The stakes have been high, but because of programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, America has earned a much better score over the past 50 years for its treatment of vulnerable populations. At the same time, any objective analysis will demonstrate changes must be made. Today, some 90 percent of Medicare costs relate to the management of chronic disease, and yet Medicare is still geared to acute illness. “We need to cancel the some $80 billion in cuts in home health care, and instead increase our investments in home and community-based care. Equally important is to increase the use of telehealth to help monitor health care of patients from a distance. Simply put, help is needed to keep even more seniors with multiple or chronic health care needs at home and independent, where they most want to be,” Halamandaris said. “Freedoms earned and realized have a way of pointing the way to still greater freedoms that are required by future generations.”

“Happy Birthday, Medicare and Medicaid,” Halamandaris said. “We are grateful for all you have done in your first 50 years, and for your continued support of the 78 million members of the Baby Boom generation which is just now coming of age.”

About NAHC
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) is a non-profit organization that represents the nation’s 33,000 home care and hospice organizations. NAHC also advocates for the more than two million nurses, therapists, aides and other caregivers employed by such organizations to provide in-home services to some 12 million Americans every year who are infirm, chronically ill, disabled and dying. Along with its advocacy, NAHC provides information to help its members provide the highest quality of care and is committed to excellence in every respect. To learn more about NAHC visit

Island Hospice Is the Talk of the Town


Tina Haney Scarborough and Tebow, who is in training to become a pet therapy dog, appeared on WHHI-TV‘s Talk of the Town to talk about Island Hospice and our focus on quality of life.

Maggie Cares: Unleash Your Independence


Unleash your independence!

Unleash your independence!

Let me tell you a secret: I HATE leashes. They’re so restrictive! There’s nothing like a long off-leash romp with my friends to make me feel free, happy and independent. Although you humans don’t wear leashes, I know that you like to feel free, happy and independent too. As you grow older, daily tasks can become challenges, which can lead to feelings of frustration and futility over the loss of independence.

One of my jobs as an experienced therapy dog is to help promote independence in aging humans. This provides a sense of purpose, achievement and self-worth; builds confidence and self-management; and lowers stress levels for caregivers. Here are a few of my tips for staying independent as you age: Continue reading

How to Help Elderly Loved Ones Fight Depression


Older individuals suffering from depression often have severe feelings of sadness, but these feelings frequently are not acknowledged or openly shown. Sometimes, when an older person is asked if he or she is depressed, the answer is “no.” Some general clues that an older person is experiencing depression include persistent and vague complaints, help-seeking, moving in a slower manner, and demanding behavior.

How can a caregiver help a loved one who has depression? Continue reading