Category Archives: Seniors and Exercise

Pets and Senior Health

Do pets actually help improve ‘health’?

Experts say YES…Pet ownership can be good for your health both physically and psychologically…

Research indicates owning a pet helps reduce stress and blood pressure in owners, they increase longevity in those who’ve had heart attacks, and even relax and improve the appetites of Alzheimer’s patients…according to many psychologists owning a pet provides attention to something other than the patient themselves…

And we all know how difficult it can be to get some seniors (and others) exercising during the day…problem solved if you have a pet. Dogs insist on getting out and about, hence they have a strong tendency to get their owners moving…VOILA, instant daily exercise. In turn, studies continue to show that exercise helps improve your spirits…so instead of a vicious cycle of prompting your loved one to get up and moving without the slightest result…the pet has helped to create a positive one…and that’s a win win solution!

Pets have also been known to stave off loneliness.  Some seniors (and others) may actually consider their pets their “companion of choice”.

However, please remember, if you are considering introducing a live animal to a senior household to make sure you do plenty of research…choose a pet whose personality, size and requirements fit your senior’s needs, abilities and living situation…and don’t opt for more than ONE…more animals do not mean more health, just more responsibilities.

Lastly, even though pets bring many psychological benefits it’s important not to let your loved ones become too dependent on those animal companions…in the end pets should NOT be a substitute for human friends and family.

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What She Has To Offer

I’m in the kitchen starting the coffee when Mom comes in. “What can I do to help?” she asks before she even clears the door.

It is very important to Mom to feel useful. She doesn’t like others doing things for her. I try to make sure there is always a job she is able to do. Sometimes that is difficult, but this morning I am prepared.

“There’s Windex and paper towels on the table there,” I say. “Can you just wipe the table off for me?” She cleaned it last night, but she won’t remember that.

“K.O., I’ll do it!” she says, tearing off several paper towels with alacrity. “Is this the Windex?” She motions toward the blue spray bottle.

I turn from the coffeemaker. “Yep, that’s it.”

But before she can start, Mom sits abruptly in the large kitchen armchair, wincing. “Oooh,” she murmurs, rubbing her legs, the paper towels still in one hand.

Mom does not show pain often, so I’m alarmed. “What?”

“Well, it’s just …” She pulls both soft cotton pant legs up to her thighs. Her lower legs are puffy above her tight ankle socks and around her knees.

For the full article

Thanks to the NY Post Blog for this article!

Seniors Falling Is All Too Common

Do you remember your parents telling you to stand up straight, don’t slouch at the dinner table, balance a book on your head while walking? Did they also send you out to play at the first sign of light with a reminder to get yourself home by dinner? If so, you, like many in the Baby Boomer group is no stranger to realizing now why that advice was important and why we need to continue to impart the same to our children and grandchildren. Fitness and good posture are preventative measures to falling.

Every day hundreds of seniors over the age of 65 fall down and cannot get themselves up. They end up with serious or at least temporary injuries from these falls.

The main reason seniors fall is a loss of balance, changes and shifts in the body’s center of gravity and the loss of bone density and muscles happening at the same time make these ‘changes’ ones that need our full attention.

Falls can and do decrease mobility and many times cause seniors to reduce their activity. They may become less independent and less socially active. In essence, the fall changes their lifestyle. Compounding the problem is the fact that many seniors do not ‘share their fall’ with their doctor or family members because they fear losing their independence. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happens, because they stifle the chance for rehabilitative care and/or supportive preventive measures. So in the long run they actually hasten the loss of their independence.

Read the FULL article here

Time To Stay Hydrated!

Heat waves are upon us and summer has yet to be officially announced so be sure to alert the seniors around you (as well as others) to stay hydrated! Dehydration is dangerous and specifically more so in the summer months when seniors are most vulnerable. Seniors often forget to drink enough fluids and now when the temperatures are soaring it is even more crucial to their good health to be well hydrated…

Dehydration impacts our senior population frequently because
· Those with dementia often ignore the body’s cue for thirst
· Chronic illness, such as diabetes, and taking certain medications are risk factors.
· Even those seniors in good health tend to underestimate how much water they need
· Seniors may be weak and/or tired and may not have the energy to get up and get a glass of water.
· Seniors many times suffer from incontinence and hence limit their water intake to prevent ‘accidents’

Dehydration may cause:
· Confusion, fatigue, fainting, and unconsciousness.
· Kidney, bladder and bowel problems
· Muscle cramping
· (Depending on illnesses and medications being taken) toxin build up

To stay hydrated in it is best to:
· Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption
· Encourage seniors (and others) to keep a glass or bottle of water handy
· Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, as they are high in water content.

Seniors and Social Networking

Social media is ‘booming’ in all markets so when I hear talk about social media use by “seniors”, I would ask what is a ‘senior’. It used to be that people aged 65 and older were automatically classified as seniors because that was the age at which most people retired. Today, not all people over age 65 want to be called seniors…heck most of us cringe when we receive the AARP card at 50! (anyway I did)

According to a Pew Research Center article Older Adults and Social Media, social networking use among people age 50 and older nearly doubled in the last year, up to 42% in 2010.

The point to this article is that recently someone said (to me) that persons in their 50’s (seniors) are not very tech savvy. I was floored, first because I fell into that age category and secondly because I do not think of myself as a senior.

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Home Instead Senior Care Is On Cable!

Finally, we are ON AIR! Just wanted to let our BLOG, TWITTER and FACEBOOK friends and readers know that the Home Instead Senior Care cable show is on! Hope you enjoy watching and hearing from those business’ and people who offer additional support and help to the growing population of seniors. It is my hope that the cable show will offer insight into better managing our families as we all enter into the ‘golden years.’ Here’s the cable station internet, AACS link where you may view the shows that have previously aired. Each week additional shows will be added. Lots more to come…guests are already booked through August. Any ideas for what you may want to know more about, your comments and/or input is always appreciated!

Boomers Turn 65!

In 2011, the baby boomer generation turns 65. So what can the Boomers expect in their retirement years? This week CNN will bring you special coverage of this generation.

What plagues baby boomers?

Sex, drugs and a rocky road, said Jim Bacon, author of “Boomergeddon.”

Boomers are less healthy and heavier than their parents were at their age. And they pop far more pills than the previous generation; an average 50-year-old man takes four prescription medications daily, according to AARP.

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Helping Mom and Dad Regain Their Mobility

It’s not unusual for us here at Home Instead Senior Care to hear stories of elderly parents having fallen or having been laid up for several weeks…Many times we are asked about seniors regaining their strength and suggestions on how best to assist that recovery by family caregivers…

In a nutshell, help get your parents moving. A study has shown that hospitalized elderly patients who work to get back on their feet even by taking short walks around a hospital unit tend to leave the hospital sooner than their more sedentary peers.

The research, conducted at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, draws on data collected from 162 hospitalized patients over age 65. Each patient was fitted with a pager-sized “step activity monitor” attached to his or her ankle – an electronic device capable of counting every step the patient took.

“Using these monitors, we were able to see a correlation between even relatively small amounts of increased mobility and shorter lengths of stay in the hospital,” said Steve Fisher, a UTMB Health assistant professor and lead author on the paper. “We still found this effect after we used a statistical model to adjust for the differing severities of the patients’ illnesses.”

Talk to your parents doctor or health care team about ways that you can get your mom or dad up and around. Most hospitals are eager to help their patients recover and will assist them in daily walks. If you want to supplement that care by assisting your parent, I am fairly certain they would welcome that encouragement. Or, if you are unavailable, consider hiring a caregiver companion who could help your parent in the hospital and/or after they return home as a way to keep your loved one motivated to move as well as to lend a helping hand with household chores such as meal preparation, light housekeeping and medication reminders.

Home Instead CAREGiversSM are screened, trained, bonded and insured, and capable of assisting your parents with several activities of daily living until they regain their strength. Home Instead Senior Care® also makes every effort to match CAREGivers with seniors of similar interests, which is a bonus for many older adults.

For more tips on how you can help your parents realize the important benefits of exercise, click here

Yes Virginia, We Are Aging

Baby boomers do not want to believe they are aging. We are the quintessential ‘hippies’ and rebels. Alas we have come to realize the process cannot be stopped and the topic has become the ‘in’ thing to write and read about. If you find yourself obsessed about weight gain, sex drive or chronic diseases, remember ONE thing… the key to healthy aging is a healthy lifestyle. And as simplified as that may sound…eating a variety of healthy foods, practicing portion control and including physical activity in your day-to-day routine can go a long way toward increasing your chances of aging well. If you haven’t given the process much though it’s never too late to begin making lifestyle changes in order to feel better…

However, I cannot stress enough that anti-aging therapies — such as restrictive diets, supplements or expensive treatments claiming to postpone or even reverse the aging process — may not be fully vetted, so you should tread cautiously. There’s no quick fix for healthy aging. You need to KNOW what it is you’re buying, and fully understand exactly what the treatment entails and WHAT it will deliver…

Tackling Care as Chronic Ailments Pile Up

No one said it was going to be easy and with the most recent figures coming to light, all will have to agree that it isn’t going to be an easy task…but clearly our older seniors are requiring care that ‘someone’ is going to have to pay for; ‘looking away’ is not an option.

Anyone seriously interested in improving the health of Americans and reducing the costs of health care must be willing to tackle a growing and under-appreciated problem: the vast number of patients with more than one chronic illness.

The problem is actually two problems: delivering more efficient care to these patients and helping them not to get sick in the first place.

Both tasks require the cooperation of patients and caregivers, as well as the providers of health care and the agencies that pay for it — and, at least as important, a public willing to take proven steps to reduce the risk of chronic disease.

The statistics, as reported in December in a strategy report from the Department of Health and Human Services, say it all. More than 25 percent of Americans have two or more chronic conditions — which, by definition, require continuing medical care, and often limit their ability to perform activities of daily living. (The conditions include heart disease, diabetes, obstructive lung disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, asthma, H.I.V., mental illness and dementia, among others.)

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