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As we prepare to enter into the fall season, staying well and healthy is definitely on the forefront of all our thoughts. Thankfully, Chattanooga is home to many great experts to help make sure we all stay at our best.

It can be difficult enough for anyone to stay on track in everyday life, but basic tasks are especially challenging for a loved one lost in the haze of dementia. Kenny Higdon, Owner of 5 Star Home Care, said there are some strategies for restoring familiarity and establishing a routine. The company provides assistance to those living with a disability or recovering from an injury, illness or age-related need.

"Our company provides high quality, personal assistance so people can maintain the independence that comes from living at home," Higdon said. "It's important to be patient and compassionate with someone who has difficulty remembering things."

Repetitive suggestions can be more effective than explaining things over and over logically.

Higdon said that encouraging someone with dementia to exercise, whether indoors or outside, is thought to slow the progression of Alzheimer's symptoms.

"Some other things that are thought to help are reading, doing crossword puzzles, playing board games such as chess, working puzzles, and other activities that stimulate the brain. Encourage them if they bring pleasure."

Higdon started 5 Star Home Care in 2007 after his own mother took on the responsibility to care for his grandmother. 5 Star carefully screens caregivers before hiring them and connects them with clients across Tennessee. For families who are concerned about the health and safety of their loved one, reach out to 5 Star Home Care at 423-893-8181.

Realizing how precious our seniors are, 5 Star employs the most qualified caregivers who are hired only after undergoing careful background checks and drug screens.  The company's procedures are tailored to work towards constant monitoring, care management and never placing the senior at risk of being left without care.

If you're facing kidney disease of any kind, especially during this pandemic, it can be difficult knowing where to turn and what to expect, but Chattanooga Kidney Centers offers a variety of services and strives to help ease patients' minds and meet their needs.

"We are committed to providing excellent care and support to all our patients through the latest patient care technology and continuous quality improvement with a focus on superior customer service in a safe, affirming environment," reads the company's mission statement on their website, and once you step inside of their six locations you can see it's true.

Services provided by all of the Chattanooga Kidney Centers located in Chattanooga, Cleveland, and North Georgia include:

         Staff assisted in center hemodialysis.

         Transient dialysis services.

         Evaluation, teaching, and support for home peritoneal dialysis (KCMR and KCC facilities only).

         Back-Up dialysis for home dialysis patients.

         Ongoing patient education in all aspects of ESRD therapy and treatment options.

         Ongoing social services and referrals to appropriate community resources.

         Dietary evaluations and counseling.

         Referrals to transplant programs for those patients interested and considered medically suitable by the medical director.

For those who are new to dialysis, Chattanooga Kidney Center also offers a host of resources to help you on your journey with any additional questions you and your family may have. To learn more, visit to read on or set up a consultation.

Chronic vein problems are very common and often unrecognized as a threat to health. When the valves in your veins stop working, blood pools in the lower leg area and pressure builds up in the vein. This is known as chronic venous insufficiency or CVI. Left untreated, CVI can significantly impact a person's quality of life and threaten the loss of life and limb. The most costly and debilitating features of CVI are ulcers on the ankle and lower leg that generally heal slowly and have a high risk of returning again and again. More than 2 million people worldwide have advanced CVI with skin changes or ulcers, with more than 20,000 new patients in the U.S. diagnosed this year alone. For people with CVI in the Tennessee Valley, relief could be right around the corner at USA Vascular, a division of University Surgical Associates.

"Like the diabetic foot ulcer, many people with chronic vein problems that include skin changes and ulcerations don't realize what's wrong in the early stages. It's a sign of increasing venous hypertension in our society that goes under-recognized and under-diagnosed," said Michael Greer, MD, vascular surgeon with USA. "Our goal is to identify vein problems earlier – before ulcers form – and when they're most easily and effectively treated."  

USA Vascular specializes in the treatment of diseases of the arteries and veins including PAD, carotid artery disease, aneurysms, CVI, varicose veins, and more. We offer multiple office locations with easy parking, and surgical services at most local hospitals – so you choose what works best for you. Visit or call 423-267-0466 to learn more.

Navigating a newly diagnosed or chronic cardiac disease can be a daunting task, especially in these days of global pandemic, but thankfully there's a program right here in Chattanooga that can help ease the burden for patients.

Heart Touch Journey, by Alleo Health System, is designed to help hospice and palliative care cardiac disease patients stay in their home setting and includes a specialty designed cardiac medication kit to keep in the home, according to Dr. Greg Phelps, Chief Medical Director, Alleo Health System.

"We are available 24/7 to walk you through the situation, how to use the medications, reducing lengthy and uncomfortable visits to the emergency room and hospital re-admissions," he shared. "We send providers to the home."

According to the program guidelines, Heart Touch Journey is for Palliative Care Services (PCS) and hospice patients with a cardiac diagnosis. The difference between the two programs is that under hospice, all equipment and medication are paid for under Medicare part A Benefit.

To learn more about Heart Touch Journey, contact Hospice of Chattanooga referral intake at 423-892-1533 or Palliative Care Services at 423-553- 1823 or visit or heart-touch-journey.

From the youngest toddler to the oldest grandparent, it's no secret that oral health is important for each individual. However, many families may not realize that what one person does in the household regarding their mouth can affect another.

Drs. Mandy and Robert Shearer at Soddy Daisy Smiles share that many parents often admit to neglecting their own dental care to help care for their children and are actually unknowingly passing on harmful habits and germs.

"I think one common thing that people do not realize is that children are not born with decay," Dr. Mandy shared. "The bacteria is spread to them by their caregivers. So basically, healthy parent mouth, healthy kid mouth."

She went on to explain that the bacteria they have in their mouth that causes decay can spread to their kids. So, not knowingly they spread the bacteria and kids still get cavities.

If you're wondering how it's possible for a caregiver to spread said bacteria to their children and other family members, there are actually several ways it can and does happen. Kissing, sharing eating utensils like a spoon or cup, sharing food, and more are all venues for the bacteria to travel.

"Children are most susceptible to the decay-causing bacteria for a very short time in their early years,  beginning as early as six months through around thirty-one months," Dr. Mandy added. "So practicing good oral hygiene for you and them during this time is very important."

Just like with anything in our world, bad routines and practices breed bad habits across the board, so setting good dental routines in place for everyone will save you from additional trouble down the road as well.

For more information about Soddy Daisy Smiles and their services, call the office at 423-332-5275 or visit

Finally, if hearing loss is an ailment you or a loved one are facing, there are new advances on the field of cochlear implants.

What are cochlear implants? Cochlear implants, which were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) more than 40 years ago, are surgically implanted devices that provide sound representation to people who cannot benefit from hearing aids. The implants do not cure hearing impairment; rather, the device directly stimulates the auditory pathway. Cochlear implants replace the function of the damaged inner ear to provide sound signals to the brain for processing.

Cochlear implants have come a long way since the first recipient of the earliest version of the technology received an implant in 1977. In the more than 40 years since that revolutionary milestone, the precision of this technology and process has been fine-tuned, and more than 500,000 people with hearing loss have benefited from cochlear implants worldwide. As is often the case when technology advances, the devices are now smaller and smarter.

Cochlear implants are a hearing loss solution for those with moderate to profound sensorineural hearing loss—also referred to as nerve hearing loss—who are receiving limited benefit from hearing aids, such as those who only hear half of what is said in a conversation. Cochlear implantation has become the established treatment for children as young as 12 months who have severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss.

Cochlear implants are covered by Medicare, many insurance plans, and typically by Medicaid. However, those interested in cochlear implantation need to be aware that the FDA has set specific guidelines that audiologists and ENT surgeons must follow to determine a person's candidacy. 

For more information about cochlear implantation, contact Johnson Audiology's Gunbarrel Road location in Chattanooga at 423-710-1432 or Associates in ENT at 423-267-6738.