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Getting the Most Out of Your Winter Holidays

No matter what winter holiday you observe, these ideas may help to get your dose of happiness for the season:

One of the most challenging facets of managing Christmas is our difficulty in "seeing the forest for the (Christmas) trees."

If the hustle and bustle of accomplishing Herculean tasks involved in tripling our social schedule don't get us, then the necessity of smiling while experiencing extra frustrations surely will.

A major roadblock to our letting our tinsel of happiness shine during the Yuletide is the myth that it must shine all the time.

Learn by Watching the Tinsel

Ever notice the tinsel on your tree?  It alternates between dull and shining phases.

It would be hard to really feel the shine if there weren't moments and spaces without the shine to provide contrast.

Because it's the holiday season, we suddenly quite allowing ourselves the much-needed full range of human emotion, and insist that joy and happiness are all that's allowed this month.

No wonder depression increases with the season.

This gunny-sacking of negative feelings can end up bursting and casting a shadow on a person's fun and self-image.

Guilt sets in because a person is not able to be happy all of the time, as the season seems to indicate.

Even the excitement and happiness takes a toll on seniors and caregivers alike.

Relief and calmness are often called for along with an acceptance of the possibility of disappointments.

These are at times part and parcel of the season's happenings, as they are a natural part of life the rest of the year.

Empower Negative Feelings Along With all the Joy

Discussion about negative feelings reduces guilt and tension and prepares us to cope with such occasions.

Perhaps attempting too much happiness for ourselves in a short time can cloud our perception of what happiness really is.

The accompanying tension brings behavior and feelings that make perceptive people wonder if all this Yule Gruel is worth the effort!

A step in the right direction would be to let the tinsel of feelings have freedom of movement in ourselves, then in our children.

Express the same range of feelings as you do the rest of the year.

Try saying no without guilt to the events, which may bring you too much pressure.

Continue the Calm Rhythm of Routine

Budget your time so you're not dragging yourself around at the expense of eating, resting or customary closeness to friends and loved ones.

If you usually sit a bit before going out for the evening, do it even if it makes you late for the engagement.  Such routines help us survive daily life.

In addition, alternate exciting and calming activities so excessive tension doesn't build up without the relief valve of restful moments now and then.

You'll know you've wrestled with the "Spirit of Christmas Too Fast" and won:

  • If you can encourage yourself and your family to continue being yourselves.
  • If you're listening to your own drummer and not that of the media, storefronts, or even neighbors and friends.
  • If you can realistically aim for more cozy times than hard times.

AT FINE MOMENTS, here and there, you'll be privileged to catch a glimmer of tinsel shining and realize you are shining that Christmas tinsel!

It would be worth considering ways to reduce stresses of the season.

One way would be to enlist the services of Papa.com and enjoy the many ways a college student could ease the pressures of the season, or just help fill the loneliness so many feel this time of year.


Papa Pal member and Papa Pal

Five Ways Your Loved One Can Benefit From a Papa Pal

You want to be sure your aging family member gets the care they need. But you might not be able to visit all the time and help out, especially if you have a full-time job or don’t live nearby.

A Papa Pal Caregiver can give you peace of mind and the social experiences your elderly loved one needs.

This could include help with grocery shopping and meal prep to ensure they’re eating properly.

Or maybe your loved one needs help with light housekeeping.

What if they enjoy going for walks but can’t get out without assistance? And if they live on their own, they may simply look forward to social interactions—conversation, crafts or card games, for example. Well, a senior Pal caregiver can provide these services!

Five Benefits of Senior Companion Caregivers

A Papa Pal provides services that add to the health and well-being of the senior in your life. This includes all of the following:

Prevents depression

As people age, they may feel isolated from the rest of society. This can be due to the loss of a spouse, decreased mobility or independence.

Through regular, caring contact with a Papa Pal, your loved one will receive the compassionate support and assistance that adds a ray of sunshine to each day.

Supports cognitive function

Activities such as games and art projects are fun, but that’s not all. They also provide a mental challenge that helps an older mind maintain concentration and focus.

Activities like playing cards, doing crossword puzzles, painting or knitting help your loved one’s mind stay active and engaged.

Provides technology support

Ours is quickly becoming a technology-driven world, and many seniors feel lost when it comes to smartphones, email, and the internet.

But these things are often a must when it comes to paying bills or staying in touch with family and friends.

Papa Pals can answer questions and help your loved one understand and use technology without frustration.

Assists in nutritional health

Older adults with limited mobility may find themselves eating poorly simply because they can’t access the foods they need for good health.

A Papa Pal can help your loved one get to the grocery store to purchase fresh, healthy foods and prepare well-balanced meals for them.

Adds to quality of life

Variety is the spice of life! Papa Pals help your loved one expand their social circle and include activities in their daily lives that may have once been present.

Papa Pals are like grandkids on-demand, providing the social experiences, transportation, and support that adds to a joyful existence.

Interested in Senior Caregiving Services?

Assistance and socialization services for seniors is a unique way to provide your elderly loved one with compassionate support and social experiences.

Papa is the first-ever provider that connects you to nursing and healthcare students specially trained to support your loved ones.

To sign up for a free trial or to learn more about the services our Papa Pals provide, please contact us today!


Miami Downtown

Activities in Miami Dade County for Seniors

Outdoor Activities in Miami Dade County for Seniors

Miami-Dade is one of the biggest urban counties in America, but it was built around many parks and nature trails making outdoor activities accessible to any age.

This county offers a number of options for senior citizens to explore the outdoors: walking, biking, meditation, yoga, golf, and tennis, just to name a few.

According to the National Institutes of Health, spending time outside can help lower the risk of some medical conditions we experience as we age like stress, depression, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease.

No matter where you are in Miami, there is a place for you to venture and explore.

In Miami Beach, you can take a 90-minute Art Deco walking tour with Miami Design Preservation League in the heart of the Architectural Historic District.

If you’re visiting North Miami, go on a nature walk at Oleta River State Park and look at the beautiful Mangroves and Wild Lantana flowers.

Afterwards head over to Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves look for alligators and finish your day with a picnic at Key Biscayne National Park.

If you’re in the Homestead area, visit Everglades National Park Bobcat Boardwalk and look at all the wildlife South Florida has to offer.

If you’re more of a social person and are looking for outdoor activities with a group visit Coral Gate Park, Kinloch Park, and Charles Hadley Park; they have multiple outdoor senior programs available.

Fun Activities in Miami Dade County for Seniors

Miami-Dade County focuses on having great senior centers and created the Active Older Adults Program.

If you’re over the age of 54 you can sign up for recreational programs like Zumba, sewing, adaptive aquatics, fitness, and much more.

Studies have shown that socialization can help with lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, lowering blood pressure, and lessening the risk of mental health issues.

Different classes and programs are held at:

  • Miami Gardens Senior Focal Point Center
  • South Dade Park, The Arcola Lakes Senior Center
  • Gwen Cherry Park
  • Continental Park, Goulds Park
  • Westwind Lakes Park, Deerwood Bonita Lakes
  • Gesu Senior Citizen Center
  • Senior Citizens Activities Center of Homestead
  • North Miami Foundation for Senior Citizens.

You can also visit our four most popular shopping areas: The Aventura Mall, Bal Harbour Shops, Lincoln Road in South Miami, and the Dolphin Mall in Miami.

If you’re looking to use your senior citizen discount visit Jungle Island, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, and Zoo Miami. Wear your walking shoes because there is a lot to see!

You can also enjoy a fun game of dominoes in Maximo Gomez Park in the famous Calle Ocho.

Restaurants and Bars in Miami Dade County for Seniors

The mouth-watering food in Miami-Dade is endless. From hole-in-the-wall restaurants to 5-star dining, this county has you covered. Make sure to eat at Miami’s staples, Versailles Restaurant and Joe’s Stone Crab.

If you consider yourself a foodie visit Eatery.com to stay up to date with new restaurants that are coming to Miami on a daily basis. Here are some food dishes you must try when you’re in Miami-Dade.

  • Cuban Hamburger in West Miami
  • Ceviche in South Miami
  • Peruvian and Korean cuisines in West Kendall
  • Tableside Ham carvings in Doralera
  • Croquetas in Coral Gables
  • Empanadas and Arepas in Miami Beach
  • Pastelitos and Tres Leches in Miami
  • Gator Bites in Homestead

Cultural Activities in Miami Dade County for Seniors

Miami-Dade has a unique culture that is different from all other counties in Florida. People are proud of the culture they created, which is why so many retirees are moving here.

If you live in Miami and you’re over the age of 61, make sure to sign up for the Golden Ticket program which allows you to go to all the cultural events for free, as well as get free rides on the transit system.

With the Golden Ticket Program, you can visit Miami-Dade’s many museums, which includes the Perez Art Museum, History Miami Museum, and the Frost Museum.

Perez Art Museum

You can also attend numerous plays and watch live music. Take a drive to Little Haiti and have lunch with new friends at the Haitian American Senior Center.

You can also check out the Jack Orr Senior Center and participate in many cultural activities they run on a daily basis.

Make sure to visit Freedom Tower, Miami’s most famous historical landmark, which is also a contemporary art museum.

If you need some help getting around Miami Dade County or if you're looking for an amazing social experience, visit joinpapa.com and request a college student to show you around town.

 


senior winter depression

Helping Seniors Deal with Winter's Seasonal Depression

Seniors may find themselves noticing they can't seem to get into the holiday spirit. This may be a good time to adjust expectations and allow negative feelings to exist.

Older adults may not feel so excited about winter holidays as they used to. It can be caused by a number of things but can be dealt with as part of the range of normal feelings.

Progress can come from accepting the negative feelings as well as taking proactive steps to get through the season.

Possible Causes of Holiday Blues Among Older Adults

It can be as simple as financial and social pressures or as complex as a lingering loneliness or grief, which is intensified by all the talk about family closeness and love.

When individuals have lost family members or friends the sadness is often intensified during this time of year.

There is also reason to believe the decreased exposure to light adds to the mix due to shorter days and the tendency to stay inside during the winter.

At times it is a combination of Christmas holiday stress and seasonal affective disorder commonly referred to as SAD, where less light and winter blues can coincide with the holiday season.

In addition, many seniors' diet often contains excessive sugar and carbs, thus contributing to holiday weight gain as well as holiday blues.

Although older women are more at risk, anyone can experience a light case of holiday blues or even full-blown depression.

Increased and unrealistic expectations, whether they are self-imposed or absorbed from the constant pressure from the media barrage, only add to the madness.

Strategies to Help Seniors Get Through the Season

We each have our own culture and religious traditions, but no matter what you celebrate, there will be more social events than usual.

Fortunately, there are practical methods to help older people face each day more positively during the holiday seasons.

One way to rewire a person's thinking is to remind herself that "It isn't about me." Look at each holiday stress and ask what it is about. Often this cognitive path helps a senior discover what is really important – whether it be a holiday gathering or a challenging day.

In addition, seniors can stop to remember that Christmas doesn't have to be about commercialism.

  • Keep a schedule. Write a routine down. Since there's so much emotion in the air, choose not to act on winter depression only, but rather go by a schedule. Make it loose enough for extra activities, yet structured enough to give the day some shape. For example, set a time for meals.
  • Do some physical activity in the morning. Read or watch a movie after lunch.
  • Email or call at least one person, or socialize on Facebook or similar social networking media. Sometimes just a short chat can provide holiday relief.
  • Consider walking outside, at a local mall, or another place with sights to see; enjoy nature or just go people watching.
  • Have a cup of tea or coffee at a certain time each day.
  • Take a shower and dress warmly.
  • Open the shades, blinds or curtains. Sunlight has often been shown to be helpful in relieving seasonal affective depression. Some people even use seasonal affective disorder light therapy.

Tips for Seniors Surviving Seasonal Depression

Try using some of the following tips to beat the blues:

  • Take a daily walk. This gives something to do that will get an older person up and going, and it's good for the body as well as for reducing seasonal depression.
  • Find TV programs or music to enjoy.
  • Tend a garden or even a plant.
  • Sit on the porch or in the yard, soaking up the daylight and fresh air.
  • Get to know neighbors. Talk briefly with them, but don't be offended when they have their own things to do. Short visits do both the senior and the neighbor good.
  • Go to a park and feed the duck or just enjoy nature there.
  • Smile even if no one is looking. In fact, force a smile upon awakening. It can become a habit.
  • Don’t hesitate to seek professional help from a doctor or counselor.

Older Adults Can Have a Stress-Free Holiday

There are self-care methods for seniors to help themselves survive the depression and holiday stress. If a senior or boomer has no place to go, attend a church or community holiday meal.

Look in the paper for activities in the community. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or food pantry. Go buy just part of the week's food to be sure and have additional personal interaction.

It is OK to get away from the frenzy of activity. Sometimes older adults have simply had enough of the holiday madness.

For whatever reason, be it finances, family or other stresses, it can be helpful to live like it's not holiday season for a day or so. Read a book. Listen to favorite non-holiday music. Watch a movie or two.

After a day or so of respite, there may be enjoyment, or at least more comfortable tolerance of much of the holiday's hustle and bustle.

A rest away from it can help seniors be empowered to design the holiday they desire.

And when you are ready, Papa can pitch in and help with errands, transportation, or companionship, which can mean so much this time of year.


Papa Pal member and Papa Pal

Do You Have an Elderly Parent Out of State?

Here’s How You Can Still Be a Great Caregiver

If you’re like many of us, you have a busy life. From work to household responsibilities, to family commitments and more, you may find yourself on the go much of the time.

So, what happens if you have an elderly parent that lives out of state?

It can be difficult and stressful to travel and help provide the care they need.

But there’s good news—if you’re looking for long-distance caregiving tips, why not consider the advantages of senior companion care services for your loved one?

Reliable companion care services

Hiring a skilled senior caregiver allows you to provide your parent with the services they need for daily functioning. And Papa offers just that.

With Papa, you can rest assured you’re working with reliable college students that want to provide an amazing social experience to seniors.

What services does Papa provide?

Maybe your parent has been having difficulty getting things done around the house and could use help with laundry and meal preparation.

Or maybe they’re fully independent, but feel lonely and would simply enjoy playing board games or reading a book with a young, new friend.

Either of these needs can be adequately met with Papa. Papa Pals can provide any or all the following for the care your loved one needs:

Papa Pals are healthcare and nursing students whose services will add to your elderly parent’s spirit of independence, as well as their physical and mental well-being.

That’s what senior assistance and socialization services are all about.

It’s easy and convenient

Do you know ahead of time when your parent will need services, or do you need to schedule a Papa Pal at the last minute? No problem! Simply schedule the tasks your loved ones need—either on demand or up to seven days in advance.

Check out Papa for reliable assistance

If you have a senior parent who could benefit from assistance senior care, reach out today to learn more about Papa.

Your parent will benefit from an amazing social experience. And you can rest easy knowing the services you’re providing to your loved one.

Contact Papa today to take advantage of our free trial offer!


Papa Pal member and Papa Pal

Top Reasons You Should Be A Papa Pal Caregiver

Giving back to others is good for you—mind, body and soul! And non-medical senior caregiving jobs are no exception. If you’re a nursing or healthcare student and you’re looking for a job you can feel good about, you should consider becoming a Papa Pal.

What is a Papa Pal?

With this unique job role, you’ll be providing an amazing experience to seniors in your community.

This includes assistance with daily tasks, as well as socialization. Your Papa Pal duties are specific non-medical tasks your elderly care companion needs help with, including laundry, transportation to medical appointments, cooking and light housework.

Papa Pals also “pal” around with their seniors, and often play games, go for walks or help them with arts and craft projects.

It’s a fun and engaging way to help another person while experiencing firsthand what senior assistance and care is all about!

How helping others helps you

Papa Pals

Rewarding work, like non-medical caregiving jobs, is beneficial to the seniors you’ll spend time with. But did you know they’re good for you, too? Here’s why:

Make new friends

As a Papa Pal, you’ll have a role in the life of your member and their family. To build social connections, it’s good to interact with all different people—both young and old.

You can make new friends while you experience the rewarding work of helping someone maintain a sense of well-being.

Stress less

Work that challenges you to give back to your community is good for your mental health—it can give you a sense of purpose, add to your happiness and even help combat depression. All of this can help you reduce stress and breathe a little easier.

Build your confidence

Maybe you’re heading towards graduation and feel you need to develop your “people skills” to be able to work with your future patients.

As a Papa Pal, you’ll have 1:1 interaction with your member, and as you gain experience, you’ll find your confidence increase!

Stay physically active

Helping out with daily activities will keep you on your toes. Senior caregiving jobs will help you keep moving and avoid being sedentary—a common problem for students who often find themselves behind a computer screen or buried in a book.

Learn something new

Though Papa Pals don’t fulfill any medical or home health tasks, you can still learn skills that will help you in your career.

Simply making time to be a good communicator through listening and sharing is an important skill for a professional in the healthcare field. What other skills will you gain?

Interested in joining us?

Papa offers senior caregiving opportunities in South Florida for nursing and healthcare students. If you’re interested in a rewarding, feel-good job, we’re looking for you! Register to be a Papa Pal today!


Papa Pals

Starting a Position as a Papa Pal?

Here’s How to Provide the Best Care Possible as a Papa Pal

Congratulations on your new position! As a Papa Pal, you’re taking a rewarding step in your career as you learn more about elderly care services.

Plus, you’re serving your community as a helper to a population that may find themselves lonely and in need of support.

As you embark on your new Papa Pal position, you may be wondering how to do your very best. Of course you’ll learn along the way, but you can hit the ground running with these top five tips.

Best-Ever Senior Care Assistance—Five Do’s

As you enter the life of your senior (also called member!), you’ll play a very special role as assistant and friend. Here’s how you can do your very best during your new role:

Get to know your member

As a Papa Pal, our members have hired you to provide a variety of help that may include meal prep, going with your senior on a walk, socialization such as playing a game of cards or even light housekeeping.

When you first meet your senior, open up the dialog with a conversation! What meals do they like, where do they prefer to go for a walk and what games do they love to play?

The more you learn about your elderly companion, the better equipped you’ll be to provide appropriate assistance and care.

Use GPS or Google Maps

Your responsibilities may include driving your senior to a doctor’s appointment or to the grocery store.

If you’re not familiar with the area, it always helps to use available technology such as GPS or a mapping app for your phone. Your member may be able to direct you; however, it never hurts to have back-up navigation ready, just in case.

Be patient

As people age, it may take them longer to express their thoughts or get their words out. Plus, your member may feel unsure and take a bit to warm up to you. That’s OK—be patient and kind, and always a good listener.

Be creative

Elderly people have well-developed likes and dislikes, but may be open to learning and trying new things.

As you get to know your member, don’t be afraid to make fun activity suggestions!

If you know your member likes a particular kind of food, you could search for new recipes together.

If you find a movie, game or craft you think your senior might like, why not bring it up during your next visit?

If they like conversation, ask them about their life and learn about the exciting adventures they may have taken.

Variety is the spice of life, and your contributions will make the difference in the quality of your new friend’s day!

Come prepared 

Your Papa Pal position will likely have you on your feet. Always dress appropriately with your Papa T-shirt, jeans and sneakers. And, remember to smile!

Your positive attitude will be contagious in the care you provide.

Looking for a Senior Caregiving Job?

Check out Papa, We’re a unique company that matches you with opportunities in your community.

If you’re a nursing or healthcare student interested in serving your community and earning extra money with a part-time job, we’re looking for you! Sign up to be a Papa Pal today!


alzheimer ribbon

Be Proactive for Awareness of Alzheimer’s

Due to the amazing growth of Boomers and number of patients with Alzheimer’s (AD), it has become even more important for both the medical professionals and families to be aware of the need for screening for this debilitating disease.

Some barriers, which may cause a delay in addressing symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s, include fear of getting involved, denial and avoidance of an unknown diagnosis, and simple lack of public awareness.

Doing the Numbers on Alzheimer’s

Over ninety percent of identified Alzheimer’s Disease patients are age 65 and older with late-onset AD. From that age, the risk doubles every five years.

One in eight are diagnosed at age 65 and it progresses to 1 in 2 at age 85!

In addition, the 85+ age group is the fastest growing – making the need to be proactive quite evident.

The others are early-onset patients, often genetic (meaning that 50% of their offspring will get it).

Symptoms surfaced any time from the 40s to the 60s, although it was present before it was medically recognized.

Reasons Seniors See a Doctor for Screening or Diagnosis

  • To receive proper treatment and medications
  • Safety (medicines, driving, and diet) issues
  • Family member observing something different
  • Patient repeating the same story over and over
  • Less often, one spouse brings the other in (but often the spouse gets used to changes little by little, thus not realizing how much memory issues have worsened)
  • Sometimes patient comes on his or her own self-awareness of cognitive changes
  • In response to a crisis

Yearly screening from age 65 on can be helpful in detecting changes in functioning.

Sometimes a patient is asked to remember three words, draw a clock, etc. in screening.

Seeing a medical professional can get a patient on the way to defining and addressing the problems along with researching the reasons via a proper diagnosis.

Medical professionals can address concerns of safety, finances, therapy, treatment, medications, and caregivers.

Why Older Adults with Alzheimer’s May Need Treatment

As mentioned above, the main reason is safety, of themselves and others in society (accidentally starting fires, driving hazards, etc.)

Everyday life activities involving cooking, use of tools, problems with finances, getting lost are issues, which need attention.

Even delusions and hallucinations may occur later. Treatment offers an opportunity to save thousands by delaying nursing home placement.

Early diagnosis allows for more effective treatment in order to slow the progression, stay connected to the family longer, improve or stabilize behavior which is the main reason for referral to nursing homes, and give more relief to symptoms.

Such early diagnosis and treatment also provide time to plan for the future. The sooner problems are addressed, the better off the patient and the family will be.

Differences Between Alzheimer’s and Normal Aging

Normal seniors may have memory issues. For AD patients, their issues involve problem-solving, executive functioning, judgment, and words that just don’t come.

For normal older adults, a word may not come at first, but then it appears “from the tip of the tongue” whereas Alzheimer’s patients never find the proper word, especially names.

Another litmus test is that normal people may have a memory problem (due to normal aging, chemo, stroke, etc.), which stays static or shows some improvement, whereas Alzheimer’s patients become progressively worse.

Need for Research in Field of Memory and Alzheimer’s

There is a vital need for further research, both for treatment options and prevention.

As the at-risk population will rise sharply in the next few years, some are opting to participate in clinical research studies.

To do so, they must have a caregiver and informed permission from both patient and caregiver. Such research may be crucial to the increasing numbers of older adults.

Today is a good day to consider the Biblical wisdom to “Honor your mother and father” by acting on your own doubts and/or concerns out of your love for them.

Instead of a parent, it may be a spouse, friend, or neighbor who needs your input to help them seek regular screening or medical help for memory and other related issues.

Since we often spend time with family members more on the holidays, that’s a fine time to observe whether more attention may be needed.

During the testing phase and after, go to Papa and discover how much help a spare college student can be for companionship, errands, or tasks around the house.

It’s never too late to be proactive about cognitive loss such as Alzheimer’s.

The Papa Team Walking to fight Alzheimer's Disease