Shedding a Light on Memory Loss

Divine Home Care, Inc. is a proud supporter and member of the Benson Area Memory Loss Network group.

Mark your calendars! Join us for this free event, Shedding a light on Memory Loss. Jenelle Mitteness will share her wealth of knowledge about memory loss and talk about community support and resources available. The event is free and open to the public. Contact Sue Zaic with questions: 320.843.1349.

Event: The Basics: Memory Loss, Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease
Date: Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Location: McKinney’s Restaurant, 300 14th Street South | Benson, MN 56215
Speaker: Jenelle Mitteness, RN, MSN, CNP, ACMC-Willmar Neurology

Schedule of event:

  • 5:30 – 6 p.m.: Build your own Sundae and browse displays (free will donation)
  • 6 – 6:45 p.m.: The Basics: Memory Loss, Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
  • 6:45 – 7 p.m.: Question and answer session

Jenelle will offer her wealth of experience to attendees by discussing:

  • Early signs and symptoms of disease, what is normal aging and what is abnormal.
  • What to do if you have a concern and how to talk with family members honestly about symptoms they are seeing.
  • Navigation through the process of diagnosis and treatment.
  • What you can expect at your appointment.
  • What tests are performed.
  • Different types of Neurocognitive Disorders and how they are treated.

Submitted by: Lindsey Nichols, RN Branch Manager, Divine Home Care – Benson Office

Why Gardening is Good for Your Health

Gardening gets you out in the fresh air and sunshine.  It also gets your blood moving and circulating. Gardening is considered moderate to high intensity exercise.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention you can burn up to 330 calories during one hour of gardening. Just 30 minutes of gardening a few times a week can help control high blood pressure. On the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s recommendation list is gardening to help battle hypertension. While your outdoors you will also be soaking up plenty of Vitamin D in the sunshine. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium which in turn keeps your bones strong and immune system healthy.


Gardening can help people with dementia. Many residential homes for people with dementia now have gardens on their grounds. The sights, smells, and sounds of the garden are said to promote relaxation and reduce stress. According to Thrive, which helps people with a range of mental health problems, our elderly population with dementia is going to just increase which will put more strain on the health care system. Doing a small garden which has shown to improve a dementia person’s mood and sociability with others is well worth the effort.

Gardeners eat more fruits and vegetables than their peers. Food you grow at home is the freshest food you can eat.  Homegrown food is not chemically altered and has more nutritional value. It’s proven that if you work hard to grow the food you will eat it. Food in your own garden is easier to access then driving to the store. The best perk of all is homegrown foods simply taste better.


You don’t need a big backyard or a green thumb to benefit from gardening. If you have little space or experience, start with a few houseplants or gardening containers. You can grow many things in pots. For example tomatoes, herbs, peppers, potatoes, green beans, zucchini, and cucumbers all grow very well in large or little pots. Many gardeners believe gardening is a way out of the “modern” world. A way to reclaim the lives we have lost in busy schedules.  Working in a garden can ease stress, keep you limber, and improve your mood.


Thank you Crystal Lawver, RN Case Manager, Divine Home Care – Litchfield for contributing this blog post.


Tips for Staying Healthy During Cold & Flu Season

Cold and flu season generally peaks in the winter months, but the timing and duration of flu symptoms vary.  In general, the cold/flu season starts in November and goes through March.  Here are some easy tips to keep you and your loved ones healthy during cold and flu season.

Girl in winter clothing sneezing

  1. Exercise daily. It helps boost your immune system. In fact, studies show moderate exercise can help reduce the number of colds you get in a year by up to 25 to 50 percent.

  2. Keep your hands away from your face. The average person touches their face two to four times in a given minute. When germs are running rampant, that’s a fast-track to a cold or other viruses. These viruses enter your body through your mouth, nose and eyes. So it’s a good idea to keep your face hands free.

  3. Wash your hands. Often. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says the number one thing you can do to prevent a cold is to wash your hands. getty_rf_photo_of_soapy_handsDuring cold and flu season we’re constantly in contact with all kinds of viruses—on door knobs, stair rails, and even other people. Remember to wash with regular soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds—that’s how long it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” two times. Scrub your palms, between your fingers and underneath your nails. And it’s just as important to dry your hands on a clean towel.

  4. Eat a healthy diet. Getting a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of living a healthy life, but it can also help boost your immune system. Look for foods rich in vitamin C (think broccoli, strawberries and oranges) and D (like tuna, fortified milk and cereals). Foods with quercetin, which is found in red apples, broccoli and green tea, can also give you an immunity boost.

  5. Get your vitamins. Though it’s a myth that vitamin C prevents the common cold, getting enough vitamin C and other vitamins can help build a stronger immune system. Fresh fruits and vegetables are a great source of many different vitamins to boost your immunity.

  6. Get plenty of rest.  Sleep is one of the best ways to help you stay healthy. A good night’s rest will help improve your immunity.keep-calm-and-get-your-flu-shot-15

  7. Don’t skip your flu shot. The Center for Disease Control maintains that getting your flu vaccine is the best way to prevent the spread of flu. It’s true even in a year where the vaccine may not be the best match to the strain of flu going around.

Cold and Flu Medication.

Thank you Lindsey Nichols, RN Branch Manager, Divine Home Care – Benson for contributing this blog post.

National Home Care Month ~ Celebrating Caregivers!

Every year, the month of November is recognized as National Home Care & Hospice Month. For the past three weeks, we have been celebrating home care month by celebrating our employees! Their hard work and dedication to our company and our clients deserves a special thanks!

The job of a caretaker in any capacity is so important but can be incredibly difficult. Some of our clients require a lot of physical care, some require overnight shifts and some clients wouldn’t be able to get out of bed in the morning if it weren’t for their home health aide or PCA. That means getting to the client’s house no matter what the circumstance, even in a snow storm. The care our staff provide every day allows our clients to remain living in their own home. If you know a caregiver, whether they work in a hospital, clinic, skilled care facility or in home health care, take a minute to thank them for the work they do. And don’t forget the caretakers who don’t get paid – the family and friends who dedicate their lives to care for a loved one.

Happy Home Care Month and a HUGE thank you to all of our employees for everything you do for our clients! Our company wouldn’t exist without you!

Celebrate Home Care!

10 Simple Ways to Increase your Physical Activity

Regardless of your shape or size, physical activity has been shown to add years to your life and life to your years. But believe it or not, the benefits of physical activity are not restricted to exercise performed in the gym. In fact, one of the easiest ways to improve your health may be through increasing the amount of low intensity physical activity you perform throughout the day. For example, simply increasing the number of steps that you take each day is very likely to reduce your risk for diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Below are some practical ways that you can incorporate physical activity into your daily life. Try one or two of the options and once they’ve become part of your routine, try a couple more.

1. Take the stairs as often as possible.

This one is as simple as it sounds. If you have to go up two floors or less, opt for the stairs. The same goes if you have to go down three floors or less. Remember, every time you take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, you are making a decision that will positively affect your long term health.

2. Drink plenty of water.

If you are constantly sipping water throughout the day, you are going to have to use the restroom at least once an hour. Every time you have to go to the bathroom, you have a guilt-free excuse to go for a 5-minute walk to the restroom and back. It’s easy to forget to take a 5-minute walk-break every hour, but it’s impossible to forget to go bathroom!

*Added bonus – staying well hydrated may also reduce feelings of hunger so this is really a win-win.

3. Park as far from the front door as possible.

Another simple but effective tactic. Whether you’re at the mall, work or school, parking the car at the edge of the parking lot forces you to walk just a little bit further than you are used to. It will only add a few seconds to your trip, but if you do it everyday it could add years to your life.

*Added bonus – less chance of getting dinged by shopping carts and bad drivers.

4. Clean your home regularly.

Most people don’t realize what a good workout cleaning can be, especially if you have a large home. Cleaning involves plenty of walking, lifting, and stretching – all of which are very good for your body. Washing dishes by hand can also be an easy way to burn a few extra calories.

5. Gardening and yard work.

Yard work is great because not only does it increase your physical activity, it also gives you an excuse to be outside. Pulling weeds, mowing the lawn, trimming the hedge and raking leaves are all very physically taxing and like cleaning, they use a range of muscle groups.

6. Disconnect your cable for the summer.

Time spent watching TV is an independent predictor of disease, especially for kids. It’s not surprising when you think about it – the only time that most kids aren’t moving around is when they’re sitting in front of the TV. Get rid of the cable and suddenly you’ve got one less reason to spend your days sitting on the couch.

7. Buy a pedometer.

Pedometers are beeper-sized gadgets that count the number of steps that you take each day. They are a terrific way to measure the amount of physical activity you are getting and can also serve as a great motivator to make the decision to walk whenever possible. Aim for at least 10,000 steps each day. However, any increase you make is likely to bring health benefits, so don’t feel bad if you can’t get up to 10,000 right away.

8. Use active transportation.

Walking, roller blading, and biking are all great ways to get around, and they often take a lot less time than you’d expect.

9. Take a walk during lunch.

In an ideal world, we would all have 45 minutes for a relaxed lunch. If you happen to enjoy this luxury, consider taking half your lunch break to go for a walk either alone or with someone else you work with. It will help wake you up for the afternoon as well as giving you a chance to chat with your co-workers.

10. Go for a family walk after dinner.

It’s a great chance to spend some time together, enjoy the outdoors and get some exercise all at the same time.

Disclaimer: While the activities suggested are all low to moderate intensity, speak to your physician if you have any health concerns before increasing your physical activity levels. The information here should be used as a general guide only, and should not be construed as specific medical advice.

Dress in Layers to Survive (& Enjoy) MN Winters

The wind is whipping and the forecast says the “polar vortex” is looming again. Days like today it would be nice to stay in my pajamas and slippers and never leave the house. For most of us, staying indoors all day is just not possible and I do like to get outside and embrace our winter season. I am going to give you a few tips about how to dress in layers to keep warm outside while enjoying the winter weather. Most of these apply to when you will be outside for an extended period of time.

My daughter enjoying winter at Powder Ridge.

My daughter enjoying winter at Powder Ridge.

To be outside on those really cold days you do need to dress warm. Buying a few pieces of warm clothing can make all the difference. I have found base layers to be a must. Your base layer is your next to skin layer. Many are made to “wick” or transfer sweat away from your body to your outer layers where it can evaporate. I have found this out the hard way. When I dress too warm and am not wearing a base layer with wicking ability I sometimes sweat and now that sweat is making me very cold! Once you get cold it can cause a misery so deep that you may never want to leave the comfort of the indoors again. With your base layers you can remove your heavier outer layers as you get warm. There are different ratings to base layers which depend on the level of activity you are doing and the outdoor temperatures. I find it best to be too warm, rather than too cold! 

After your base layer you have you mid layer. These are your everyday items such as tee-shirts and lightweight pants. These provide insulation and protection. You can also find mid layer clothing with wicking ability. I usually put on a tank top and long sleeve tee shirt (or two!) 

You can then move to your insulating layer. The purpose of this is to retain your body heat and provide warmth. I usually wear a larger loose sweatshirt or fleece sweatshirt as my insulating layer. You can buy pieces of clothing made specifically to be used as an insulating layer. 

Your last layer is your outerwear or shell layer. This is your jacket and snow pants. The purpose of this layer is to protect your whole body from wind and precipitation. There are so many of options to choose from in this category.  Ultimately, I find that if wind or water (especially wind!) can get through this layer, you will be miserable! It also needs proper ventilation, otherwise moisture (your sweat) will not be able to evaporate. I finally invested in a down parka which I love.   Although not very fashionable, it is very warm! Good gloves are also important and those little disposable hand warmers are amazing too. Throw one in your pocket and when your hands start to get cold put one inside your glove. I found I only need to use one and just alternate between hands to warm them up. I like to wear two pairs of socks as well. I wear a thinner pair of socks with warmer wool ones over that. I have had the same pair of black snowmobile boots for years and my feet hardly ever get cold. Again, they are not very fashionable, but they are warm! 

If you are starting from scratch you could be spending more money than you would like on these warm clothes. However, most of us Minnesotans have some of these pieces that we can add to. (Sporting Goods stores like REI, Cabela’s, and Scheels have a great selection of winter clothing.) I believe myself to be a true Minnesotan and love all four seasons. Winter is my least favorite season, but I have found many things to love about it. We all live here for a reason so let’s quit the complaining and get outside!  Well… you can complain a little bit!

This blog post was written by Stephanie Swanson, RN, Hospice Director at Divine Hospice Care.


What is Glaucoma?

(This blog post was written by Sarah Johnson, Marketing Director for Divine Home Care.)

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month and I wanted to take the opportunity to touch on this serious topic. Glaucoma is caused by damage to the eye’s optic nerve and will cause vision loss or blindness. There is no cure for this disease once vision is lost. However, by getting regular eye exams, you can help protect your eye sight and slow the progression of glaucoma if you’re already affected by it. It is the leading cause of preventable blindness, according to the Glaucoma Research Foundation.

This is me after my first surgery to remove the cataract.

This is me after my first surgery to remove the cataract.

Glaucoma is a really important topic to me personally because I am monitored regularly for the disease. I was born with a congenital cataract (a clouding of the lens) in my right eye. I had the cataract removed when I was two years old, wore a bright blue contact for five years and spent a few years wearing a patch over my “good” eye to strengthen my “bad” eye. The patch was the hardest part for both my parents and myself. When I was seven, I had a lens implant surgery and have regular eye exams to make sure the implant is where it should be and more importantly, to monitor the inner pressure of my eye (IOP).

Preparation for my lens implant surgery.

Preparation for my lens implant surgery.

A brief overview of our eye anatomy (stay with me):

The front part of our eye has fluid that flows through the pupil and absorbs in the bloodstream. The eye’s drainage system helps this process. When it is working properly, we have normal eye pressure, but when the drainage system becomes clogged, fluid builds up in the eye and the pressure increases. Normal eye pressure is different for everyone. When eye pressure is at a level that is higher than the individual can tolerate, the optic nerve can be damaged, causing glaucoma. Therefore, high eye pressure can be a serious risk factor for glaucoma. Another risk factor is high blood pressure. Divine Home Care works hard to educate people on the importance of heart health and this is another reason why. Other risk factors of glaucoma include:

  • African Americans: glaucoma is six to eight times more common in African Americans than Caucasians
  • People over the age of 60, especially if you are Hispanic
  • Family history of glaucoma
  • Trauma to the eye: most common cause is sports-related injuries

What you can do:

Know the risk factors – do you fit into one of the categories above? If so, schedule an eye exam right away. Because glaucoma usually doesn’t have any symptoms, early detection by your eye doctor is critical. There are many different tests that can be done to diagnose the disease. Whenever I visit my eye doctor, she measures my inner eye pressure – it is a totally painless test. Make your eye health a priority in 2014 and schedule an appointment with your eye doctor today!

Make Happiness a Priority in 2014

What brings you happiness and joy? Are you able to easily name a few things or do you Happinessreally have to stop and think about that question? Do you feel like you are just too busy to enjoy the little things life has to offer? In my opinion, being able to relax and enjoy life should be a priority.  Without occasionally taking a break from the stressors of life, we don’t give our minds and bodies time to relax.  We run down easier and this can can lead to illnesses and emotional instability.  [Read more…]

Nursing Scholarship Winners

This was a very exciting spring for us at Divine Home Care! It was the first year that we gave away $1,000 scholarships to five seniors going to college in the fall to pursue a degree in nursing. In order to be considered for the Divine Home Care Nursing Scholarship, students had to meet the following criteria: 1. Plan to pursue a degree in nursing 2. Graduating with a GPA of 3.0 or better and 3. Be passionate about caring for others in the healthcare field. We were absolutely blown away by the talented, involved and caring seniors that applied. Below are our scholarship winners! [Read more…]

May is National Stroke Awareness Month

With June 1st right around the corner, I wanted to make sure to squeeze this blog in before then. May is National Stroke Awareness month and it’s an incredibly important issue to bring awareness to. If you take only one thing from this post, take this: call 911 immediately if you or someone else is having a stroke. Early treatment will save lives and help prevent extensive damage caused by the stroke. [Read more…]