Autism Prevalence, Challenges, and Supports: Understanding the Complexities of this Neurodevelopmental Disorder

Autism is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that affects communication, social interaction, and behavior. It is estimated that 1 in 36 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to 2020 data reported by the CDC. Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.

Although autism can be reliably diagnosed as early as age 2, most children are still being diagnosed after age 4. This highlights the importance of early intervention, which has been shown to improve learning, communication, and social skills, as well as underlying brain development. Applied behavior analysis (ABA) and therapies based on its principles are the most researched and commonly used behavioral interventions for autism. Many children affected by autism also benefit from other interventions such as speech and occupational therapy.

While autism affects all ethnic and socioeconomic groups, minority groups tend to be diagnosed later and less often. This delay in diagnosis can affect access to appropriate interventions and supports. Therefore, it is essential to raise awareness and understanding of autism in all communities to ensure timely diagnosis and access to services.

The causes of autism are not fully understood, but research indicates that genetics are involved in the vast majority of cases. Children born to older parents are at a higher risk for having autism, and parents who have a child with ASD have a 2 to 18 percent chance of having a second child who is also affected. Studies have also shown that among identical twins, if one child has autism, the other will be affected about 36 to 95 percent of the time. In non-identical twins, if one child has autism, then the other is affected about 31 percent of the time.

Over the last two decades, extensive research has asked whether there is any link between childhood vaccinations and autism. The results of this research are clear: vaccines do not cause autism.

Autism can also be associated with a range of medical and mental health conditions. For instance, as many as one-third of people with autism have epilepsy, and more than half of children with autism have one or more chronic sleep problems. Anxiety disorders affect an estimated 11 to 40 percent of children and teens on the autism spectrum, and depression affects an estimated 7% of children and 26% of adults with autism.

Autism is also associated with challenges in daily function, such as developmental regression, where the child loses previously acquired skills, and wandering or bolting, which affects nearly half of those with autism. Nearly two-thirds of children with autism between the ages of 6 and 15 have been bullied, and nearly 28 percent of 8-year-olds with ASD have self-injurious behaviors such as head banging, arm biting, and skin scratching.

Caregivers and families of individuals with autism face significant challenges as well. On average, autism costs an estimated $60,000 a year through childhood, with the bulk of the costs in special services and lost wages related to increased demands on one or both parents. Mothers of children with ASD, who tend to serve as the child’s case manager and advocate, are less likely to work outside the home and earn significantly less than mothers of children with no health limitations or other disabilities.

In adulthood, many young adults with autism face significant challenges in finding employment and accessing healthcare transition services. More than half of young adults with autism remain unemployed and unenrolled in higher education in the two years after high school. Furthermore, the cost of caring for Americans with autism had reached $268 billion in 2015 and would rise to $461 billion by 2025 in the absence of more-effective interventions and support across the life span.

In conclusion, autism is a significant public health concern that affects many individuals and families.

5 Benefits of Exercise for Seniors and Aging Adults

You’ve probably heard it before: physical activity and exercise are healthy for you, and you should try to incorporate them into your daily routine. Numerous studies have shown the major health benefits of exercise, which get more important as we age. Seniors who engage in regular physical activity and exercise improve their mental and physical health, which will help them preserve their independence as they get older. We’ve listed five advantages of fitness for elderly and aging adults below.

1. Prevent Disease

Studies have shown that keeping regular physical activity can help decrease the likelihood of heart disease and diabetes. Exercise can boost the immune system, which is significant for seniors as their immune systems are often impaired. Even light activity, such as walking, can help prevent avoidable diseases.

2. Improved Mental Health

Exercising has several mental health benefits. Endorphins (the “feel good” hormones) are released during exercise and work as a stress reliever, leaving you feeling pleased, satisfied and energized. In addition, exercise is known to help enhance sleep, which can help prevent sleepless nights and irregular sleep patterns.

3. Decreased Risks of Falls

Falls can happen more often as you get older, which can reduce maintaining independence. Exercise increases strength and flexibility, which helps with balance and coordination, lowering the chance of falling. It takes older adults longer to recover from falls, so exercises like yoga can help build strength to prevent falls.

4. Social Engagement

Whether you join a walking group, join a group fitness class or visit a gardening club, exercise can become an enjoyable social event. For aging folks, having a scheduled activity can help create a sense of purpose, and something to look forward to. Above all, choose an activity that you enjoy, and it will never feel like a chore again.

5. Improved Cognitive Function

Cognitive function is strengthened by regular physical activity and fine motor skills. Numerous studies show that physically active people have a lower risk of dementia, regardless of when they start a habit.

In Conclusion
Exercise is beneficial to your health; all you have to do is make it a priority and a part of your everyday life. Exercise has been demonstrated to prevent disease, reduce the chance of falls, promote mental health and well-being, strengthen social bonds, and improve cognitive performance in the elderly population. We hope that, regardless of your age, this will inspire you to incorporate fitness into your daily routine.

Get in touch with Rivers of Hope, if you or an aging loved one are considering hiring a Home Care Services in Fall River, MA. Call the caring staff at Rivers of Hope today at 508-857-0629. We provide Independent, Dependent, and Companion Care Services in Brockton, Boston, Braintree, Avon Randolph, Abington, and the surrounding areas. Visit to learn more about us

Home Care Services in Braintree MA: Friendship After Retirement

The Benefits of Friendship After Retirement

Once you retire, your social circle may dwindle.

You’re not having daily conversations with your co-workers and clients. Retirement is also a time when people opt to downsize and move to new areas for a lower cost of living, new cultural experience, better weather, or closer proximity to grandchildren.

It’s easy to drop your typical social activities at this stage. You’re home more. Does this sound like your parents? They’re not alone. It’s also important that they find new friends and social circles. Socialization benefits your mental and physical health.


Home Care Services in Braintree MA: Friendship After Retirement
Home Care Services in Braintree MA: Friendship After Retirement


Friendship Supports You on the Tough Days

Your mom and dad will have good days. They’ll have bad days, too. A friend can help them deal with those rough spots and celebrate the highs.

Friends are there to listen to their frustrations. They’ll offer advice and be honest and tell your parents when they’re wrong. That can help your parents make decisions regarding their care, their family situation, or whether it’s time to make a change.

Tough days are easier to ignore if your parents are active. Their friends can get them out of the house and going to a museum or out for a picnic on the beach.


Studies Show Friendship Lowers the Risk of Several Health Conditions

Several studies have found that friends are important if a person wants to avoid depression, diabetes, and heart disease. When your parents have friends, they’re going to be happier. Joy boosts hormones like serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine that are known as the “happy chemicals.”

These happy chemicals help ease stress and reduce inflammation that’s linked to stress. They help stabilize the mood and help the body and mind perform at their best.

Depression is one of the key concerns in older adults. It happens and it can be hard to identify. While friendship isn’t a guaranteed way to prevent depression, it does help stabilize the mood and that can lower the chance.

If your parent is depressed, it may help to have friends to lean on for support. Most doctors will start with therapies and medications to try to overcome it. If your mom or dad has a supportive friend nearby, it will make the battle a little easier to fight.


Make Sure Your Parents Have Companionship Services

If your parents have a harder time going out and being active, you can’t let them give up all social activities. Elder care services are one of the best solutions. Your parents don’t have to stay home 24/7. They don’t have to give up hope of having lunch or dinner with a close friend.

Ask about companionship services. Elder care aides can stop by, join your parent for a meal, help them cook that meal, or take them out. They can watch movies together, play games, or go for walks. A home care specialist can help you arrange elder care for your mom and dad.


If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring a Home Care Services in Braintree, MA, call the caring staff at Rivers of Hope today at 508-857-0629. Providing Independent, Dependent, and Companion Care Services in Brockton, Boston, Braintree, Avon Randolph, Abington, and the surrounding areas.

Caregiver in Braintree MA: Warning Signs of Stroke

Warning Signs of a Stroke in Seniors

It is important to know the signs of a stroke, so your senior receiving elder care at home will have the best chance of recovery should they be stricken with one. Pay attention to visible signs as well as any suspicious reports from their caregivers, and know what to do if a stroke should occur.


Caregiver in Braintree MA: Warning Signs of Stroke
Caregiver in Braintree MA: Warning Signs of Stroke


What is a stroke?

When something changes how blood flows through the brain, it’s called a stroke, which is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and also leads to more serious long-term disabilities than any other disease.


There are two major types of stroke:

Ischemic- This is the most common type, which is caused by a blood clot or the narrowing of an artery that leads to the brain. Blockages for these kinds of strokes can be caused by the formation of a clot within a blood vessel of the brain or neck, movement of a clot from another area of the body, or the severe narrowing of an artery due to fatty deposits along the blood vessel walls.

Hemorrhagic- The second type of stroke occurs when a broken blood vessel causes bleeding in the brain, stopping oxygen and nutrients from reaching the brain cells.


Who is at risk?

Seniors are at higher risk of having a stroke. There are other factors, such as lifestyle and health that can also affect your risk for stroke.

Being obese, having an improper diet high in salt and saturated fats, substance or alcohol abuse, and smoking all increase your risk.

You are also at higher risk for having a stroke if you have high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, a family history of stroke, heart disease, certain circulation problems, or if you have previously had a stroke yourself.


What are the signs?

  • Numbness or weakness usually to one side of the body, including the face, arms, or legs
  • Vision problems in one or both eyes
  • Sudden confusion or inability to speak or to understand
  • Sudden loss of balance or trouble walking
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Sudden and severe headache
  • Double vision, drowsiness, and nausea or vomiting
  • Problems with swallowing

Sometimes the symptoms a person experiences only last a few minutes before disappearing, which could be called a mini-stroke, or a transient ischemic attack (TIA). If your senior receiving elder care at home describes signs or shows symptoms of a TIA, you need to get them medical help immediately. A TIA can be a precursor to a larger, more deadly stroke just hours or days away in some cases.

Some people make a full recovery soon after a stroke, while others take months or even years to recover. The part of the brain that is damaged as a result of the stroke determines how it affects the person afterward. Occupational and physical therapy, which can be added to your senior’s elder care routine at home, as well as certain medications,  are all options for treatment after a stroke has affected your loved one.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring a Caregiver in Braintree, MA, call the caring staff at Rivers of Hope today at 508-857-0629. Providing Independent, Dependent, and Companion Care Services in Brockton, Boston, Braintree, Avon Randolph, Abington, and the surrounding areas.




Senior Care in Braintree MA: Senior Loss of Mobility

Loss of Mobility- How To Ease This New Stage of Life

Loss of mobility, which is common among adults receiving elderly care, can have profound social, psychological, and physical consequences.


Senior Care in Braintree MA: Senior Loss of Mobility
Senior Care in Braintree MA: Senior Loss of Mobility


Whether it’s losing longtime driving privileges, the inability to walk for distances, or becoming unable to walk at all, it can be disconcerting, confusing, and sad for seniors to lose the independence they once had.

-Social: Many seniors, like the rest of us, enjoy leaving their homes for social occasions such as games, events, and visits with family and friends. When they no longer have the ability to decide when, where, and how they can leave their home, it can feel like a major loss of control and contribute to feelings of isolation and missing out.

-Psychological: Seniors, even those receiving elderly care, are used to doing certain activities by themselves, and the loss of independence on any level can be daunting. What used to be easy tasks done alone now require assistance, which is frustrating.

-Physical: Elderly care patients commonly have physical limitations, but complete loss of mobility can be distressing to the senior as well as family members and caregivers. It can complicate simple daily tasks such as getting out of bed, bathing and getting to and from places outside of their homes, such as doctor visits and other appointments.


What you can do to help:

Be present. Make sure the caregiver understands your concerns and develop a plan to be proactive and present with your loved one. Make some extra visits and offer to get them out of the house as much as their condition allows.

Car rides, visits with friends, and taking them outside of their home can do wonders for elderly care patients who are looking for a change of scenery. If wheelchair accessibility is an option, and the weather allows, ask their caregiver to take them on short trips even just down the street.


Make sure you have the tools you need:

-Wheelchair: Depending on the level of care needed for your loved one, wheelchairs are a great option to be able to keep them mobile with the help of their caregiver. Sometimes this isn’t always the easiest option for some seniors who have health limitations or for homes without ramp access.


-Walker or cane: There are many types of walkers to choose from, so make sure you find the right fit for your loved one. Also, be sure that their caregiver understands any limitations with their mobility and the use of the walker or cane and how much assistance is needed when they are using it.


-Have a backup: Schedule a visit with your loved one’s doctors to discuss any ways that you can help them retain any mobility they are able to, with things such as exercises, therapy, and supplements that might be useful. Secure a plan of action and make sure your caregiver is kept informed and can help facilitate any plan of action.


If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring Senior Care in Braintree, MA, call the caring staff at Rivers of Hope today at 508-857-0629. Providing Independent, Dependent, and Companion Care Services in Brockton, Boston, Braintree, Avon Randolph, Abington, and the surrounding areas.



Home Care in Braintree MA: Caregiver Assistance

Four Tips if You Get Nervous Talking to Your Senior’s Doctor

As experienced as you might be with your senior’s health, going to the doctor with her can still make you nervous. Talking with her doctor can be so intimidating that you might feel as if you’re forgetting important details. These tips can help you to feel more confident and prepared for your senior’s doctor’s appointments.


Take Notes and Make a List of Questions Before the Appointment

Before the appointment, you might know exactly what you need and want to cover with your senior’s doctor. It’s during the appointment that you’re more likely to blank out. Prepare for that by giving yourself some detailed notes and questions that you can refer to during the appointment itself. You might want to be as detailed as possible because that can help you to give that same level of detail to her doctor.


Make Sure You Mention All New Symptoms

If you’re noticing any symptoms that are new for your senior, you definitely need to bring those up. Symptoms are a part of how your senior’s doctor manages her health and discovers new potential issues. When you make notes of new symptoms, it helps to be able to include information about how long that symptom has been occurring.


If You Keep a Log, Bring It

One of the easiest ways to keep up with symptoms and new issues is to keep a health log for your senior. You can start one at any time, so don’t feel as if you’re doing anything wrong if you don’t already have one set up. If you’re already doing something like this, make sure you bring it with you to the appointment. A quick flip through the health journal might be all your senior’s doctor needs to spot issues for you.


Actively Take Notes or Record the Appointment

You may need to mull over some of this information afterward at home, too. Take notes during the appointment so that you don’t miss anything. If you’re really worried you’ll miss something, ask your senior’s doctor if you can record the appointment. Most smartphones have either a built-in app or the ability to download an app that allows you to record voice memos.


Being your senior’s caregiver means handling stuff like this, even when it’s scary. She needs you to be her advocate, so it’s important to find ways to make doctor’s appointments and other situations easier on you, too.


If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring Elderly Care in Randolph, MA, call the caring staff at Rivers of Hope today at 508-857-0629. Providing Independent, Dependent, and Companion Care Services in Brockton, Boston, Braintree, Avon Randolph, Abington, and the surrounding areas.

Elder Care in Braintree MA: Senior Living Situation

Is it Time for Your Senior’s Living Situation to Change?

Eventually, there is going to come a time in which you and your elderly family member need to talk about whether it’s time for her living situation to change at all. Most aging adults want to continue to age in place for as long as possible and you can help your senior to do just that. That involves looking at some of the variables in play.


Look at Safety Issues First

When you’re trying to determine if aging in place is even an option for your aging adult, you need to look at safety concerns first. Is she having trouble cooking? Is her vision changing? Does the house need updating or maintenance that would make it safer for your senior? Consider basic safety before you start looking at additional issues.


Consider Mobility Concerns

Mobility involves not just your senior’s personal mobility, such as whether she’s able to safely navigate in her home, but also whether she’s having issues getting around in other ways. Having problems driving is another example of mobility issues, especially if your elderly family member has always been someone who goes and does a great many different things.


Assess the Assistance She’s Got

You’re helping your aging family member, but she may have other assistance, too. Friends, neighbors and other family members may be helping out here and there and that definitely counts. Another option could be hiring elderly care providers. These professionals have a unique understanding of what your elderly family member needs and how to help her to age in place most effectively.


Gather Specific Information and Talk to Your Senior

Make sure that when you’re ready to talk to your senior, you’ve got specific examples and information to share. If you’re vague, that’s going to feel to your elderly family member as if you’re just trying to impose your will on her. Whatever you’ve noticed or made note of, share it with her in an open and loving manner. Express your concern and your willingness to help her to make changes that allow her to remain in her own home for as long as possible.


Your elderly family member’s living situation may need some adjustments, but you may not want to force the issue with her. Assess what she needs and then take steps to solve potential problems. That’s going to go a lot better than trying to make her move or do something else that she doesn’t want to do.


If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring Elder Care in Braintree, MA, call the caring staff at Rivers of Hope today at 508-857-0629. Providing Independent, Dependent, and Companion Care Services in Brockton, Boston, Braintree, Avon Randolph, Abington, and the surrounding areas.