CareNotes: The Home Care Newsletter Vol 6. Issue 2 | Home Care Assistance CareNotes: The Home Care Newsletter Vol 6. Issue 2 | Home Care Assistance

CareNotes: The Home Care Newsletter Vol 6. Issue 2

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Letter From the Editor:

It’s hard to believe the first day of Spring was just two days ago! As we welcome more hours of sunlight and warmer temperatures, we start to think about losing the winter layers, getting in better shape, and stepping out in our spring attire. Our Balanced Care Method emphasizes the importance of healthy diet and regular exercise in promoting overall wellbeing and healthy longevity. In this issue I will address important exercise tips to ensure you receive the most physical and mental benefits from your workout.  Along the same vein, I will discuss the importance of starting each day with a nutritious, balanced breakfast and offer four delicious, nutrient-packed options for you to try. I will also share an article on the benefits of aging—all too often focus is placed on the physical and mental struggles that can be associated with aging, forgetting the upside that also comes with more birthdays under one’s belt.
Lastly, I would like to congratulate Brenda Cuartero from Home Care Assistance of Los Gatos for being selected for this month’s Caregiver Spotlight. Brenda’s vibrant personality and client-centered approach are precisely the characteristics we seek when hiring caregivers. We are very lucky to have her on our team!


The Upside of Aging


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An unfortunately large percentage of people tend to think of aging as a progressive process of loss—of loved ones, memory, flexibility, hair etc. However, while age may certainly bring challenges to the body and brain, it also brings a number of noteworthy benefits—gains we believe should be addressed when discussing aging. As you age, you can expect to see improvements in:


  • Mental health. Throughout our lives, we generally become more focused on the positive, and better at regulating our emotional health—we stop “sweating the small stuff” and start cherishing simple pleasures. In addition, as time becomes more finite, we begin to focus on what is most important and meaningful, tailoring our experiences and choices to increase well-being. Stanford psychologist Laura Carstensen has termed this phenomenon the “socioemotional selectivity theory”.
  • Happiness. More effective emotion regulation strategies and a positivity bias naturally result in a decrease in the frequency and duration of negative emotions. A longitudinal study conducted by Carstensen followed participants aged 18-94 for 10 years and found that those in their 70s and early 80s were the happiest. Additional studies have replicated these findings.
  •  Wisdom. Experience affords an abundance of social and emotional knowledge that allow older people to make more sound life decisions. According to a study led by social psychologist Igor Grossman, older people tend to demonstrate more “wisdom-related thinking,” as evaluated by six categories including allowing for compromise, seeking multiple perspectives, and admitting uncertainty.
  •  Migraines. According to a study by the Headache Center of Atlanta, those aged 50 and over get less severe migraine attacks and symptoms than their younger counterparts.
  • So the next time you start focusing on some of the more negative aspects of aging, remember there are many more positives that come with added years and added wisdom. To learn about some of the secrets to a long and happy life, read our book, Happy to 102, available on

Four Healthy Ways to Start Your Day


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Many nutritionists say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day; starting your morning with a healthy, balanced meal jumpstarts your metabolism, helps you maintain your energy level, and reduces cravings and binging. The key word here is balanced. If you eat a sugary, carb-laden breakfast, it’s likely that you will be hungry for lunch earlier than you would if you had consumed a protein-packed meal. Here we list four delicious, balanced breakfast choices that are sure to power you through your day:
  • Greek Yogurt with Fruit: Plain, nonfat Greek yogurt is low in calories and packed with calcium and probiotics. With almost double the protein and half the sugar content of regular yogurt, Greek yogurt will leave you feeling fuller longer. Mix in your favorite fruits. Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries are packed with antioxidants, high in fiber and low in calories.
  • Oatmeal with Almonds: Oatmeal has been shown to lower cholesterol, boost the immune system, protect the heart, and stabilize blood sugar, a property that promotes consistent energy levels. Oatmeal is also known for helping you feel full longer. Almonds have many health benefits and experts say they can aid in weight loss.
  • Vegetable Scramble: To make this incredibly easy dish, cut up your favorite vegetables, sauté them in olive oil over medium heat, add eggs and scramble.  Vegetables help prevent spikes and lulls in blood sugar levels, which keeps your appetite in check. Further, eggs are packed with protein to keep you full. Skip the cheese and butter, but feel free to add a side of salsa for an extra kick.
  • Bagel with Tomato and Avocado: For a twist on the classic bagel and cream cheese breakfast, choose a whole wheat version and top it with tomato and avocado instead. Avocados are a great source of protein and “good” fat, and tomatoes are packed with carotenoids, which have potent antioxidant properties.
Maintaining a healthy diet is an important part of healthy longevity. At Home Care Assistance, our professional caregivers are trained in a holistic approach to in-home care with culinary training in healthy meal preparation based on our Comfort Foods Cookbook.

Four Exercise Mistakes You Might Be Making


Home Care Assistance is a major proponent of healthy aging; our proprietary Balanced Care Method promotes lifestyle factors that have been correlated with longevity including healthy diet, exercise, mental stimulation, social ties, a sense of purpose and calm. Exercise has been shown to help people maintain a balanced weight, fight diabetes, and improve overall brain health. Most of us know that working out is important, but the question is, are we doing it properly?
Below is a list of four common mistakes that people make while exercising: 
  •  Not Stretching – Stretching before a workout is very important, especially for older adults. As we age, we develop a higher risk for muscle and tendon injuries. Stretching helps to get the blood flowing and to increase range of motion. Be careful not to stretch too far too quickly, though, as doing so can result in injuries.
  • Not Warming Up – Similar to stretching, warming up becomes even more important as we age. A light jog or other warm-up exercise can increase the flow of blood and oxygen.   Increasing the blood and oxygen flow throughout our bodies helps us perform at a higher level as well as helps us to avoid injury.   Be careful of your warm-up exercises being too vigorous; you want to put forth the most energy into your primary exercise routine.   y                            
  • Not Drinking Enough Water – Mild dehydration can lead to a significant reduction in physical performance. It’s important to stay hydrated before, during and after a workout. Keep in mind that it’s possible to be dehydrated without feeling thirsty, so make sure to sip on water even when you feel fine. One relatively unknown fact is that cold water takes longer to hydrate the body than room temperature water.
  • Not Adding Enough Variety – A common mistake people make is getting into an exercise routine that lacks diversity. While consistency is important for maintaining fitness, it can sometimes result in boredom and decreased motivation. If you enjoy jogging or walking, try exploring somewhere new every week. If you’re the type of person who prefers the gym, try mixing in new exercises and machines to keep your workout interesting.

If you notice that you are making one or more of these common mistakes while exercising, address it immediately and you will likely start noticing a change for the better.

Caregiver of the Month Spotlight: Brenda Cuartero


This month’s Caregiver Spotlight honors Brenda Cuartero from Home Care Assistance of Los Gatos. Her compassion toward those around her and dedication to her job allow her to build strong, lasting relationships with her clients while providing exceptional care.

Brenda joined Home Care Assistance over two years ago and since then has consistently been a valuable asset to the Los Gatos care team. In August of 2011, Brenda started working with her client, May, a 96-year-old with Alzheimer’s disease. May’s daughter had been filling the role of primary caregiver for both her mother and an aging aunt and was beginning to experience burnout.

Brenda instantly formed a bond with May during the first few days of services, giving May’s daughter the support and respite she needed. With her vibrant personality, Brenda easily engages May in lively conversations, promoting mental acuity. She also helps May get up and ready for the day, prepares nutritious meals, and makes sure she gets at least a few minutes of exercise each day to maintain physical mobility.

Today, May is as strong as ever and will soon be celebrating her 98th birthday. We believe Brenda’s attention to detail and genuine compassion have helped promote both May’s and her daughter’s quality of life. May and Brenda continue to enjoy one another’s company and May’s daughter continues to enjoy her time with her mother without having to worry about the added responsibility of being the primary caregiver.

Brenda’s work ethic is exactly what we look for when interviewing potential candidates to join our care team.  She is in constant communication with our staff regarding all aspects of care for her clients, always presents herself professionally and is a joy to be around.

Thank you, Brenda, for all of the contributions you’ve made and continue to make to ensure our company’s success.  You bring joy and satisfaction to our clients and we are truly fortunate to have you on our team.