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Hats Off to Dr. Judith Maher

Posted on March 23, 2014 at 6:09 PM Comments comments (0)


As you know at SCS when we come across an exceptional professional, caregiver, service, or organization we like to shout it from the rooftops. This is the case with Dr. Judith Maher, a neurologist within the Cleveland Clinic Health System.

I recently joined a client on a visit to Dr. Maher’s Avon office. Dr. Maher and her entire team demonstrated their compassion and dedication to patients right from the start of our visit. What a joy to observe this fine physician take her time with her patients. Yes, she was concerned about her patient’s health, but, she was also concerned about his quality of life. She asked about his golf game and if he had time to practice since she knew the courses would be opening soon. Dr. Maher even gave him information about a golf clinic that specializes in rehabilitation after someone has experienced a brain injury such as a stroke. I assure you, not every physician would make this extra effort.

Should you or a friend ever require a neurologist, may I suggest that you consider Dr. Judith Maher. I certainly know where I’ll go should I ever need a neurological consult. I am confident that I would be in good and caring hands.

With appreciation,
Jane Amata

Heartfelt Moments - Preparing for Valentine's Day

Posted on January 17, 2014 at 11:49 AM Comments comments (182)

Heartfelt Moments – Preparing for Valentine’s Day

Ah…Valentine’s Day, it happens once a year. It’s a time for roses, chocolates and romance. A time to celebrate a one-of-a-kind love with your sweetheart. A time to lavish that special someone with hearts, flowers, and lacey “Be My Valentine” cards.

But, true love is celebrated 365 days a year. For this, there is no greeting card, no heart shaped box of chocolates or pink and red roses. This celebration is a time of caregiving, compassion, and patience even in the most stressful of circumstances. It is seeing beyond the dementia and recalling treasured memories. Memories that spur you on to care and love for another day and beyond.

In my time as a professional caregiver, I have had the privilege of being in the presence of true love. I have observed couples who after 60+ years of marriage remain deeply in love and committed to one another. I’ve observed true love in the light kiss of a hand or the loving and reassuring stroke of a loved one’s hair. The deep loving, heartfelt link that transcends memory impairment and overcomes day-to-day heartbreaks.

Valentine’s Day is a few weeks away. I encourage you to have fun with the traditional holiday festivities. This year, also show your gratefulness to those individuals who have been a shining example of love and light in your life. Those with whom you have shared tender, heartfelt moments.

What will you pursue in 2014?

Posted on December 30, 2013 at 1:09 PM Comments comments (0)

Did you happen to read the article; What Makes Olga Run, lessons from a 94-year-old athlete featured in Parade, Sunday Plain Dealer’s supplement 12/29/13. In a nutshell, it’s an inspiring, must read about an older woman whose health rivals that of a fit 50 year-old because of six simple lessons which she shares with readers. These important insights are just in time for the new year.

In some cultures, tradition dictates that nothing from the old year goes into the New Year. This means that before the  New Year begins, Christmas decorations are packed away, soiled clothes washed and the home completely cleaned. I agree, it's important to determine what is still worthy of moving forward into the New Year. Will you pursue a new hobby, join a choir or begin writing a book? How about focusing on a healthier life, running a marathon, or sharing your time by volunteering and serving others?  

In the days ahead, I hope to post some success stories from our SCS family. So please, keep me informed of your 2014 pursuits so that we may celebrate these positive changes with you and shine a bright spotlight on your good news!  

As we look forward to a New Year, let us toast to the good life, full of independence, purpose and joy! 


P.S. Watch a video of Olga in action at:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

The Purpose of Ms. Kitty

Posted on September 29, 2013 at 10:12 PM Comments comments (102)
At SCS, we just picked up a client who was recently discharged from the hospital. Although she is delighted to be home, she has come to the realization that she still has a long road to full recovery. As a result, at 80+ she feels she has no purpose which makes her feel as though she no longer has value. Because of her depressed state she rarely smiles or initiates conversation.
This afternoon, her cat who has always been hiding during our visits, decided to venture out and investigate these new people who invaded her home. Once she determined that she would tolerate us, she ambled over to her owner, purring lovingly and jumping into her lap. Almost instantly the Mrs. came alive, talking softly to her furry friend and petting Ms. Kitty while smiling from ear to ear. This was the most animated our client had been in the almost two weeks we have assisted her. She told us about the many animals she and her husband helped. Because they lived on a farm, they took in many strays. "We always had the space, well someone had to care for them."  Then a light bulb moment... she realized she was still very needed by Ms. Kitty and others. Her spirits were lifted for the rest of the day.
This story illustrates what we already know...We All Need A Purpose! In this case, Ms. Kitty's is to show love to her owner, to brighten her day and keep her company. Our client's purpose is to care for Ms. Kitty, and to care for her son, daughter-in-law and grandson, for members of her extended family, for her church, for the hospital in which she volunteered for approximately 30 years, for her many friends and neighbors.
Animals can be therapuetic and bring so much joy into our lives. Sometimes a pet can be the catalyst for recovery, for rehabilitation and more. If you are considering bringing a pet home or giving one to a friend or loved one, please check out your local animal shelters. Perhaps rescuing animals can be part of your purpose!

Celebrate National Grandparent's Day

Posted on August 16, 2013 at 9:44 AM Comments comments (0)
September 8, 2013 marks National Grandparent’s Day. The origin of this special time can be traced back to 1973 and Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade. She wanted this holiday to:

  • honor grandparents
  • give grandparents an opportunity to shower their love on their children's children
  • help children become aware of the strength, information, and guidance older people can offer.
She painstakingly sought acceptance for this celebration and on August 3, 1978 President Jimmy Carter signed the proclamation to make the  first Sunday of September after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day.

Today the legacy of Marian McQuade is carried on by her children and grandchildren with some of them working on the National Grandparents Day Council.   

What will you do to commemorate this special time?

Adding Aromatherapy to Your Caregiver’s Toolbox

Posted on July 24, 2013 at 12:28 PM Comments comments (169)

Thanks to Registered Dietician, Barbara Bauer, Clinical Nutrition Program Manager at Sharp Coronado Hospital, SCS incorporates aromatherapy into our clients’ personal plan, especially for common health challenges in the elderly such as:                                                            - decreasing weight                                                                                                                           - immobility and,                                                                                                                           - sleeplessness

When used correctly, aromatherapy is a simple, non medical, effective tool for caregivers. At SCS we use aromatherapy to stimulate eating, energize and promote relaxation in our clients. We believe in this approach and thought we’d share the article that first sparked our interest. The following are excerpts from the article, Seven Ways To Use Aromatherapy To Care For The Elderly At Home.  Registered dietician Barbara Bauer, Clinical Nutrition Program Manager at Sharp Coronado Hospital offers the following seven tips in her commentary.                                                                                                                                                 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Located in San Diego, Sharp Coronado Hospital and Villa Coronado Skilled Nursing Facility have documented many successful aromatherapy cases. Elderly patients improved to the point where they no longer required appetite stimulants and their sleep medications were decreased. This method gained national attention.

If you wish to include aromatherapy in your caregiver’s toolbox, Bauer suggests the following: “use quality essential oils which are modestly priced and long-lasting. To promote alertness, put a drop of peppermint oil on a cotton ball and place nearby. Peppermint is known for its energizing properties. To stimulate appetite, apply a dab of Citrus Bliss, cardamom, bergamot or ginger essential oil with a cotton swab onto clothing or protective covering at mealtime; near the nose. In Bauer’s 2010 study, staff applied Citrus Bliss to patients’ coverings during two meals each day, and most of the 50 patients tracked stopped losing weight. Six of the seven patients who were taking steroidal appetite stimulants transitioned off the medication, maintaining their weight without unpleasant side effects."

"Put a drop of lavender oil onto a cotton ball and place inside a pillow case at bedtime to encourage sleep. The scent of lavender induces relaxation, and many Sharp Coronado staff members place lavender behind their computers on particularly stressful days, Bauer said. Run a bath before bedtime and sprinkle a few drops of lavender oil into the water. Baby-care companies have been touting the relaxing effect of lavender-scented bath soap for decades, and the same principle applies to adults, " Bauer added.  

"Use a few drops of any essential oil — depending upon the desired effect — in a diffuser or humidifier. Mix essential oil with unscented lotion and massage onto the skin. Peppermint lotion will energize, lavender lotion will relax, and citrus lotion will stimulate appetite. Softer, more moisturized skin is an added benefit. Bauer recommends starting with one drop of oil per 4 ounces of lotion and adding from there. Burn a candle scented with the desired essential oil. Alternatively, place a candle (in a glass jar) onto an electric cup warmer. Bauer occasionally uses this option in her office, where open flames are not allowed. Essential oils are derived from nature and are chemical-free. Bauer has never seen a patient experience an allergic reaction to essential oils, she said. However, some patients may dislike the scent of certain oils, and she advises caretakers to let their loved ones smell the oils before use. She also warns that essential oils in their pure form shouldn’t be applied directly to the skin, as they have the potential to cause irritation.”

Seven Ways To Use Aromatherapy To Care For The Elderly At Home                                 Eagle & Times, News, July 12, 2012  

Hats Off To Mahle's Restaurant

Posted on May 25, 2013 at 10:50 PM Comments comments (101)
It always gives me great pleasure to write about a buiness that goes out of their way for seniors. Just today, two of my clients told me about their wonderful experience at Mahle's Restaurant in Westlake. They waxed on and on about the wonderful food, the reasonable prices, the warm and comfy ambiance and then they told me the best part of the story.
They were so very grateful for the friendliness of the waitress. How despite a very busy night, the owner made a table for them and seated them almost immediately  because they were exhausted from a day that hadn't worked out as planned.
By the time they were ready to leave, it was pouring rain and their car was parked far away from the restaurant. That was no problem for the Mahle's team. They grabbed an umbrella and walked the happy couple behind the scenes to a back door with an easily navigated ramp and helped them into their car. Now that's service!
So, the next time you're thinking about going out for a bite to eat, be sure to support this terrific establishment.
Mahle's Restaurant and Lounge
(440) 899-6602
24945 Detroit Rd, Westlake, OH 44145

Seniors Dig Gardening

Posted on May 16, 2013 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)
Spring is the time of year when green thumbs appear along with violas, pansies, daffodils, crocus and other colorful plantings. 
Research conducted by Texas A&M and Texas State Universities, suggests that, gardening is a healthy hobby.  “A combination of moderate physical activity and increased consumption of fruit and vegetables has been reported to dramatically reduce an adult’s risk for many chronic diseases.” Besides walking, gardening has been reported as “the second most common leisure activity” among the 65 and up crowd.
If you’d like to exercise your “green thumb” but, find the idea of tilling a portion of your backyard a bit daunting, try creating a window box, planting a mini herb garden or nurturing vegetable plants in containers made from old tires, flower pots, coffee cans and other common household items. Frankly almost anything can be turned into a container for gardening, just be sure to make drainage holes in the bottom of the container.
These simple ideas will brighten your day and your environment.
Here's to living lively, Jane

A Must Read

Posted on April 17, 2013 at 8:26 AM Comments comments (0)
A client shared a wonderful book with me and I thought I would pass it along. Although it is specific to caring for someone with Alzheimer's or a related dementia, it has heartfelt tips for anyone who is caring for a loved one.
Playbook for Alzheimer's Caregivers
by Frank Boyles, University of Arkansas Razorback Athletic Director Emeritus
A Quote from the book:"My best advice to you is to treasure each day and to live it to the fullest. Cherish the time you spend together and, perhaps most important, love each other. I hope you find peace in knowing that it is still possible to live and love when someone you love is living with Alzheimer's disease."

Creating special moments

Posted on April 11, 2013 at 11:08 AM Comments comments (0)
Every day we see couples longing to rekindle some of their past, such as times when they:
•Went out to dinner
•Enjoyed going to the movies
•Danced to Glen Miller
•Saw Danny O'Donnell in concert
•Played pinochle with friends
•Went shopping together

Instead, during the winter of their lives, they have become Alzheimer’s experts, aides, housekeepers, cooks and so much more.

Today, non-medical home care providers offer life enriching breaks in the day for their clients and families. At Senior Concierge Services, we strive to meet these needs by:

•Having movie nights at home, with popcorn and movie sized candies
•Staging an Italian dinner for two, complete with candlelight and music
•Renting a Danny O'Donnell concert on Netflix
•Planning an 85th birthday party for a family who has a member with Stage II Alzheimer’s.
These very simple, special moments can mean so much to everyone involved.  I am always amazed at the joy we are able to create.  Families & caregivers may create these lovely moments too. Or they can partener with a non medical home care provider to "make it happen." 
With spring in the air, make it happen for someone you love by creating a simple indoor picnic, planting a small indoor garden with herbs or other veggies that are sure to flourish inside or installling bird houses to attract cardinals, robins and other signs of spring life.
Here's to creating special moments,