Posts Tagged: Age in Place

Loneliness in the Elderly

As people age, loneliness and social isolation can become very real concerns and create health risks for dementia and other medical conditions. A report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) indicates that nearly one quarter of adults 65 and older are considered to be socially isolated. 

Aging seniors are more likely to live alone, often after the death of a spouse; and are more likely to experience the loss of family or friends who may pass away or move to another location. Chronic illness and loss of hearing also contribute to isolation and loneliness. A recent study found that social isolation increased the risk of premature death to nearly the same extent as smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity.

At Corewood Care, we work to address the issues of loneliness and social isolation for our senior home care clients and their families. Often, we are brought into a senior’s home because they, or their adult children, recognize that they need help with bathing, housekeeping, or meal preparation. Our caregivers are adept at providing that physical, tangible assistance, but they are also trained in the importance of companionship while they’re performing other duties in the home.

That companionship is part of our company philosophy; it’s our mission to help our clients thrive and grow. That means we’re attuned to the issue of loneliness, and we make an effort to reduce those feelings in our clients during our visits. So while our caregivers help a client bath and dress, they try to engage each client. These conversations might be inquiring about the places the senior lived or the type of work they did; their families; the weather or news of the day. While our caregiver prepares meals for the senior, they might ask about their favorite meal or what memories he or she has of holidays, or about hobbies or interests he or she enjoyed.

Our hope is to not only provide home care but to make a difference. Senior home care is not just about physically helping the senior with activities of daily living as they age, it’s also about caring for their mental health by offering friendship and companionship. Corewood Care is a senior home care company serving Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland; Fairfax County, Arlington and Alexandria region in Virginia; as well as Washington DC area. Call on us for assistance with home health care services, 24/7 care, and respite care for your family.

Diet and How it Can Help Your Memory

Even though a plate of fries and a beef burger sound delicious, you might want to know this before you order: what we eat has a high chance of affecting our memory.

Research has shown that the probability of developing dementia and having poor memory is linked to the consumption of saturated fat. Saturated fat increases blood and cholesterol levels, which speeds up the formation of beta-amyloid plaque in the brain. This plaque damages the brain and causes Alzheimer’s.

Confused about what to have for lunch now? Here is a list of foods you can have, which will also boost your memory.

Fish

Salmon, mackerel, tuna, and other fish are linked to lower levels of beta-amyloid proteins in the blood and are, therefore, good for health. Further, eating fish, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, is crucial in the proper functioning of neurons.

Salads

Having salads does not only keep your body in shape but also your mind. Martha Clara Morris, director of the section on nutrition in the Department of Internal medicine at Rush University, clarifies that salads make for a good diet as they are high in Vitamin E.  This potent vitamin helps in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease by protecting nerve cells.  

Berries

Blueberries, strawberries, and acai berries are good for memory. Tuft University highlighted that consumption of such fruits can improve memory or delay memory loss. Toxic proteins that kill off cells are kept at bay by Anthocyanin- protective compounds found in Berries.

Whole grains

In order to remember things, the brain needs energy. A steady supply of energy can be obtained through the consumption of fiber-rich whole grains.  Including these in your diet will increase concentration and focus.

If you are eating whole grains, it would be a good option to go for rice, pasta, cereal, and granary bread. Including these in your diet can reduce inflammation, oxidative stress, high blood pressure — all of which increase the risk of brain diseases.

Tomatoes

Research has suggested that a powerful antioxidant, lycopene, found in tomatoes can help protect brain cells from damage. The best way to consume tomatoes is to cook them and eat them with olive oil.

Incorporating the foods mentioned above in your diet is highly recommended as they keep you physically and mentally fit.

Traits of the Best Caregivers

A caregiver is responsible for the health and happiness of our loved ones. Hence, it is essential to find the most suitable caregiver for them. How do you know who is a good caregiver? When evaluating caregivers, look for the following traits:

Compassionate

While selecting caregivers, it is essential to ensure that they are compassionate. Compassion maintains and sustains a bond between the patient and the caregiver. It also enables caregivers to put themselves in the patient’s shoes and understand what they are going through. Empathizing with the elderly can help ease their discomfort.

Patient

As the elderly grow older, their bodies and minds work slower than they used to. They forget things easily and need to be reminded of even daily chores, repeatedly. For this reason, caregivers must be patient, so that they remain calm and collected while taking care of your loved one. Being patient means that they will understand if things do not go as quickly as planned and if the patient is being stubborn.

Attentive and responsive to situations

It is crucial for a good caregiver to be attentive. An elderly patient needs constant care and attention. It is the caregiver’s job to continuously monitor, and recognize the needs of the patient, even if he/she cannot communicate them.

The caregiver also needs to pay close attention to early warning signs and observe any change in skin color, appetite, physical condition, and behavior. Sometimes, the patient is unaware that they need help and the caregiver, noticing the signs, must respond to them immediately.

Good Communicator

Caregivers should have good communication skills such that they can communicate well with the patient and you. The caregiver should share crucial details regarding the patient’s care and inform you about any change in plan or condition.

Enthusiastic and Passionate

Having the passion to do what you love can make a huge difference. A passionate caregiver’s work will be evident in how they treat your loved one. They will be working not for money, but out of genuine interest.

Passionate caregivers will be motivated to improve the health of the elderly and will, therefore, be innovative and creative as they plan activities. 

Dependable and trustworthy

Trust plays an imperative role in building strong relationships.  If the patient knows they can rely on the caregiver, they will communicate and participate more with them.

If the caregiver you are interviewing possesses the above-mentioned traits, then you have found the best caregiver for your loved one.

Fall Prevention

Falls are common. We all trip and hurt ourselves, but as we grow older, the risk of serious injury increases. Experts estimate that approximately one-third of older adults 65+ fall one or more times a year. In fact, falls are the leading cause of injury among older adults. As we age, physical changes and health conditions — and sometimes medications — make falls more likely. While fear of falling does not need to rule your life, there are ways to prevent falls. Here are six simple fall-prevention strategies.

Make an appointment with your physician

Begin your fall-prevention plan by making an appointment with your primary care physician. Review with your doctor:

1). All prescriptions and over-the-counter medications and supplements you are taking with your doctor and discuss side effects. Do any increase your risk for falling? You may want to ask your physician to consider changing medications or weaning you off those that may make you tired or affect your thinking.

2). If you’ve fallen within the last year, discuss how and where you fell. If you almost fell but were caught by someone or managed to grab hold of something just in time, be sure to discuss with your physician. These details may help your doctor identify specific fall-prevention strategies.

3). Discuss all your health conditions and how comfortable you are when walking. Your doctor should evaluate your muscle strength, balance and walking style as well as examine your eyes and ears. Your physician may also verify that your vitamin D levels are within the normal range, to ensure strong bones and muscles.

4). Schedule an appointment with your optometrist and have your eyes examined.

Physical activity

Keep moving. Physical activity can go a long way toward fall prevention. Once you have the “all clear” from your physician, engage in activities such as walking, water aerobics or tai chi. Such activities improve strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility.

If you avoid physical activity because you’re afraid of falling, tell your doctor. Your physician may recommend carefully monitored exercise programs or refer you to a physical therapist who can create a custom exercise program aimed at improving your balance, flexibility, muscle strength and gait.

While exercise is important, it’s also important to maintain a healthy diet, drink plenty of fluids and maintain a regular sleep schedule.

Wear sensible shoes

Consider changing your footwear as part of your fall-prevention plan. High heels, flip-flops, and fancy dress shoes with slick soles can make you slip, stumble or fall.  The best option is to wear properly fitting, sturdy shoes with nonskid soles. A sensible shoe may also reduce joint pain.

Improve indoor safety

Take a look around the inside of your home. Spend time examining your living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, hallways, and stairways for potential hazards. To make your home safer:

  • Remove boxes, newspapers, electrical cords and phone cords from walkways.
  • Move coffee tables, magazine racks and plant stands out of high-traffic areas.
  • Secure loose rugs with double-faced tape or a slip-resistant backing or better yet — remove loose rugs from your home.
  • Repair loose, wooden floorboards, and carpeting right away.
  • Store clothing, dishes, food and other necessities within easy reach.
  • Immediately clean spilled liquids, grease or food.
  • Use nonslip mats in your bathtub or shower. Purchase a bath seat.

Shine a light on your living space

Keep your home bright and well lit to avoid tripping on objects that might be hard to see.

  • Increase lighting, especially near the stairs and bathrooms. Use plug-in-night-lights and movement-sensitive lights.
  • Place night lights in your bedroom, bathroom, and hallways.
  • Put a lamp within easy reach of your bed.
  • Consider replacing traditional switches for glow-in-the-dark or illuminated switches.
  • Turn on lights BEFORE going up or down steps.
  • Store flashlights in easy-to-reach locations in case of power outages.

Use assistive devices

Your doctor might recommend that you use a cane or walker to keep you steady. Other assistive devices around the home to consider include:

  • Handrails on both sides of all stairways
  • Nonslip treads for hardwood steps
  • A raised toilet seat
  • Install grab bars in the bathroom as bathroom tiles can be slippery especially when wet.
  • Use nonslip mats in your bathtub or shower.
  • Purchase a bath seat for the shower or tub — plus a hand-held shower nozzle for bathing while sitting down

The good news about falls is that most can be prevented. The key is to know where to look. Some solutions are easily installed and relatively inexpensive. Others may require professional help or a larger investment. If you’re concerned about the cost, remember that an investment in fall prevention is an investment in your independence.

Summer Activities for Older Adults

Leisure time for older adults helps promote mental, social and physical wellbeing. It also helps prevent depression-related problems that may arise from a sense of isolation and disconnection from society. Not sure how to entertain your senior loved ones during the hot summer season? Take a look at these ten outdoor and indoor activities that can keep your loved one entertained, while promoting positive mental and physical health.

1- Go swimming

Splashing around in a private or public pool is a fun and relaxing way to spend time with a variety of people. Swimming is an excellent physical activity that is light on the joints and helpful in strengthening muscles.  Swimming strengthens core muscles, improves body posture, and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Water exercise is the only non-weight-bearing workout that eliminates the risk of accidental falls during exercise. It is a wonderful summer option to beat the heat of the summer while staying in shape.

2- Go fish

Fishing is a great activity that is accessible even to those who are restricted by a wheelchair or walker. It’s easy to drop a fishing line from a dock (pier or along a riverbank), cast a rod into the water, and socialize while waiting for the next catch. Make an afternoon out of this outing and don’t forget to pack your snacks, drinks, and a blanket.

3- Get your hands dirty

A great summertime activity is gardening. It provides an opportunity to take in the fresh air and engage in physical activity, which is not that strenuous.  Individuals may garden in a backyard or community garden where volunteers are highly appreciated.

4- Work for a cause

Find a good organization to volunteer your time and energy. Volunteering is extremely beneficial. Working for others gives a sense of purpose, something we all question as we age. Philanthropic organizations, churches, schools or green societies are some organizations that can help keep your loved one engaged while offering a sense of purpose.

5- Check your local newspapers

Engaging in outdoor community events is an excellent way to socialize. Many communities sponsor car shows, musical performances, flea markets and bingo nights. Choose an event that best suits your needs and spend your day making others smile.

6- A book of memories

Now and then, staying inside is a wonderful option to beat the heat. Stay at home and go down memory lane. Scrapbooking is a fun and creative way of documenting memories immortalized in photographs and memorabilia. This activity also assists with cognitive exercise and stimulation as it triggers recalling important events. Making a scrapbook is not only an affordable and simple activity, but it provides significant health benefits. A recent study found that scrapbooking can help older adults cope with loss and grief as it helps to relive cherished memories.

7- Get Creative

Getting in touch with your creative side is another fun way to spend time. Painting, drawing, coloring, and sculpturing are all delightful diversions that can channel a person’s thoughts and emotions. It also helps in improving eye-to-hand coordination and in boosting confidence. Research has found that these creative activities can help battle chronic illness by decreasing negative emotions and increase positive ones, reducing stress and anxiety and improving medical outcomes. Another fun option to consider is creating mosaics out of flower pots, eggshells, tiles, and other tiny items. Eye and hand dexterity is essential for this art activity. Mosaics hone imagination and creativity skills as they create colorful masterpieces out of assembled pieces of art.

8 – Dine al Fresco

Good company, food, and a lovely ambiance are all a recipe for success. Satisfy your palate and take time for some quality bonding. Grab a meal outdoors and enjoy the world as it marches by.

9 – Invest in a Bird feeder for Bird Watching

Birds provide beautiful entertainment, and birds chirping signals an opportune time to invest in a feeder. Whether blue jays or hummingbirds, bird feeders attract nature to you. For added fun, there are loads of kits and instructions on the internet for building your own bird feeder.

10 – Plant an Herb Garden

To go along with healthy eating, a modest herb garden provides not only gardening fun, but healthy and tasty ingredients for your favorite dishes. You don’t need a lot of space to grow a herb garden. Pots of all sizes can accommodate herbs such as rosemary, chives, basil or thyme. 

Daily engagement in activities can improve everyone’s well-being. While these ten suggestions offer some great activities to engage in, be mindful of the health conditions of your loved one and participate accordingly.

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