caregiving-why-is-routine-important

Caregiving: Why Is Routine Important?

A Quality Caregiver Will Prioritize Routine

Predictable schedules reduce stress for everyone, but especially the elderly. Have you heard the expression, “creatures of habit?” A caregiver that provides consistency will help aging adults remember what’s ahead and it brings a sense of comfort to them. If an older adult suffers from dementia, daily routines are that much more important.

Benefits of a Structured Routine

Structured schedules for dining, bathing, and dressing provide feelings of safety for most seniors. They typically sleep better with regular sleep and wake up times, as well.

A caregiver quickly realizes that elderly adults who suffer from dementia are less confused with routines, too. They may not remember what they did earlier that day, yet they seem to subconsciously sense what’s coming next in the day. This helps with behavioral challenges, as well, since regularly scheduled dining prevents extreme hunger and reduces stress and anxiety in dementia patients.

As a caregiver keeps a regular schedule, there’s less planning to do and more of each moment with the person being cared for is appreciated.

Plan a Daily/Weekly Routine

Consider the adult first 

If you are a caregiver, consider the person being cared for when planning meals, daily care or activities. Know the time of day when the person functions best. If the older adult already has a routine that’s been ritualized for years, why try to change it now? If waking up early for toast and coffee is what he or she is accustomed to, just follow this ingrained routine. Keep familiar routines as much as possible.

Flexibility is needed

A daily/weekly routine is vital, but flexibility will be needed, too. There will be occasions when the older person doesn’t feel well and they may need additional rest. On better days, an impromptu activity like a walk might be just right.

Keep variety with activities 

Schedule activities for each week, but offer some variety, too, like exercise, cognitive challenges, spiritual nourishment and social time. Discover hobbies that were pursued in the past. Perhaps there are modifications that can be applied to anything that is now too difficult.

Everything in its place

Rearranging personal belongings in the home will likely cause confusion and frustration for your elderly adult. Caregivers should only move things around as needed for safety.

Perhaps you could benefit from some assistance as a caregiver? Home Care Assistance can provide in-home care to help the older adult with as little or as much as you need. Call Home Care Assistance at (317) 316-0804 and get started.

how-to-tell-the-difference-between-delirium-and-dementia

How To Tell The Difference Between Delirium And Dementia

Cognitive confusion and emotional distress can both be symptoms of delirium and dementia, making it easy for these two illnesses to be confused with each other. The two are distinctly different, however, and it’s a priority for caregivers, medical, and emergency support to understand the difference. Delirium is especially serious and common for older persons. It’s a common complication of hospital admission for the elderly.

What is delirium?

Delirium can be described as an acute problem with a display of confusion, disrupted attention, disordered speech and even hallucinations. Delirium is diagnosed by clinical observation of patient behaviors and medical help must be obtained immediately when a family member, friend or loved one displays potential symptoms. It’s usually temporary and most likely reversible once the underlying cause is treated.

The following are common causes of delirium:

  • Head trauma
  • Drug interactions
  • Infections
  • Dehydration
  • Liver failure
  • Brain tumors

Delirium is commonly found in facilities or hospitals that offer senior care. It can also be triggered by drug or alcohol abuse, UTIs, and pneumonia. Surgery or any procedure using anesthesia, high fevers, sleep deprivation, and severe emotional stress can be problematic, also.

Symptoms of delirium:

  • Behavioral displays of emotional disturbance
  • Fluctuating or drastic mood changes
  • Sudden behavioral changes (e.g. hyperactivity)
  • Inattention or distraction
  • Disorganized thinking or cognitive problems
  • Reduced awareness of the environment
  • Delusions or hallucinations

How can one recognize delirium from dementia?

Delirium and dementia at a glance may seem similar, but delirium starts abruptly and fluctuates in intensity, from day to day or hour to hour.

Dementia develops over long periods of time, beginning slowly with mental decline, and is irreversible.

Dementia and delirium both appear as mental confusion, so how can you recognize the difference?

Why is it important to understand the difference?

Delirium is many times a warning sign of serious medical problems. It may even be an adverse reaction to a medication leading to a medical emergency. Delirium must be quickly treated, or it may create permanent complications or even death.

Delirium goes too often unseen or unrecognized by medical professionals. The symptoms can be too easily attributed to dementia, instead of the acute problem that it is. Immediate medical help must be sought when symptoms of delirium are present.

Many dementia patients develop delirium during hospitalization, but all that one can do is create a quiet, safe and comfortable environment.

Does the senior in your life need dementia care in Carmel, IN?

Call Home Care Assistance of Carmel at (317) 316-0804 and let us provide you with a top of the line dementia care provider for your loved one.

keep-active-while-aging

Keeping Active is Important at Any Age

Keeping active is important at any age. Physical activity improves balance, strength, and cardiovascular health. Additionally, active people reduce their chance of chronic disease. Anyone can increase their health and vitality, regardless of age!

Experts typically recommend at least 150 minutes of weekly exercise for adults. Start slowly and gradually increase frequency and intensity.

Walking is a Perfect Exercise

Walking is a perfect exercise for every age. No gym membership is required, and it’s free! Aging adults can walk in their neighborhood or find nature areas with trails. Walking becomes a social event when family or friends join along!

Do What You Can

Can you ride a stationary bike or walk the treadmill while watching your favorite TV show? Do what you can. Stand up for some stretching when there are commercial breaks or use hand weights to increase strength. Dance or jog to lively music to get your spirits lifted and your body moving.

Gardens Have Many Benefits

Enjoy the healthy benefits of herbs, produce and flowers from your own backyard garden! Your senses will awaken from natural fragrances. Enjoy walking, bending and stretching from planting, weeding and making cuttings for indoors. Getting out in the sunshine can provide a sense of wellbeing and efforts will literally bloom.

Golf

Walking on a golf course offers additional healthy opportunities. Get some extra bending when placing the tee and ball. Strengthen the arms and back muscles when swinging the golf club.

Swimming

Swimming is great for the cardiovascular, respiratory, and musculoskeletal systems and it’s an ideal activity for anyone with arthritis or joint pain, too. Check your local pool schedule for water aerobics classes or times specifically for older adults.

Help is Available

Sometimes, older adults will need help. Seniors who want to enjoy good health as they grow older may benefit from local Home Care Assistance. Help is available for daily tasks and focusing on a more active life.

Expert caregivers can provide assistance with exercise or transporting an adult to a doctor appointment. Caregivers can make it possible for a loved one to go to a fun social event, allowing the adult to maintain a high-quality, independent life.

Family caregivers often eventually realize they can’t find enough time to engage in all the activities their loved ones want or need. Let Home Care Assistance help. Let the aging adult continue regular activities while you take a necessary, well-deserved break.

Caregivers are professionally trained in meal prep, assisting with physical activity, and personal hygiene for short-term or longer amounts of time. Specially trained caregivers are available to help seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s, too.

Call us today to learn more about our reliable in-home care for seniors.

changing-bad-habits-together

Changing Bad Habits of Elderly Parents

Can You Persuade Parents to Make Changes?

Sometimes you might worry about your parents, especially when you think they’re not getting enough activity, social interaction, or eating healthy foods. You want to help, but it seems like your opinion doesn’t even matter and you can’t persuade your parent to make changes. Sound familiar?

So, can you persuade Mom or Dad to form healthier habits? Maybe, if you learn a few persuasion techniques. For starters, if you want someone to listen to you, don’t lecture and try a simple conversation instead.

Habits Are Difficult to Change

“Habit” is defined in Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary as “a settled tendency or usual manner of behavior.” A healthy habit might be a morning walk. Demanding a change of behavior from a parent – or anyone else – won’t do any good! It’s not easy to let go of a familiar patterned behavior!

It’s Not Easy to Change

So, don’t you have some unhealthy habits? Have you ever successfully made your own lifestyle changes? Yes? Then, congrats! It’s not easy to change habits in our own lives, so trying to get someone else to change is even more of a challenge.

Be Compassionate When Asking For Change

Your parents are most likely aware of their necessary changes, so don’t nag them or irritate the situation by creating anger and resentment. It will only exasperate them and make them less willing to cooperate.

Be compassionate when asking for change. Consider their feelings and lovingly tell them that you understand their challenges and feelings.

Consider the Why

Investigate the situation a bit more and ask questions to uncover whether their lack of initiative is a reaction to recent stress. Is there a health-related issue you didn’t know about? Has there been increased isolation, creating depression and apathy? Maybe your parent doesn’t think anyone cares if they have dirty dishes. Maybe they just don’t know why they should even make an effort. Is it time for professional elderly care?

Healthy New Habits Can Replace the Old

When your parent is ready to change, then what? Teri Goetz, a writer for Psychology Today, affirms that you can’t just will yourself to change. That’s not enough. Assist your parents with a solid plan, then arm them with success tools and potential healthy behaviors that can replace the old unwanted ones.

Take smoking for an example. If and when your parent decides to quit smoking, a substituted activity, like a phone call or a walk around the block might be enough to boost willpower. Can you help them make their plan for change?

Social Connections are Powerful

Social connections are powerful, and they can help or deter efforts to change. If your parent socializes with others who smoke, it will be harder for them to quit. However, if you will offer loving elderly care by spending additional time with them for a while, you will build their sense of belonging and success. Be on their team while they create lifestyle changes. When they know you’re in their corner, it’s so much easier for them. You’ll inspire a greater optimism in your parent, as well.

Changing a habit can be hard, but we all feel better with a sense of control over our own lives.

  1. Let Your Parent Accept Help Graciously
  2. Juggling Your Parents’ Independence and Safety
  3. How to Tackle Difficult Conversations Around Care

Simplify

Changing behaviors can be tricky, but those who enjoy work in elderly care suggest this commonsense tidbit: Simplify.

B.J. Fogg , creator of the Tiny Habits® Program, says there are only three things that create long-term behavior changes:

  1. An epiphany.
  2. A change in the environment.
  3. Baby steps.

As he explains, a change in environment and baby steps are your best choices. You can change your environment and you can take baby steps. B.J. defines these things in greater detail in his program to help people accomplish small and large goals. Helping your parents attain a goal will create a sense of accomplishment for you and your parents, as well.

Who Should Start the Conversation?

Hmmm, are you sure you’re the best person to start the difficult conversation with your parents? Or, is there an ally who could help you with their elderly care? Maybe this person could bring up the subject instead of you. In the very least, you must make a plan, selecting the best time of day and a location with privacy when initiating the conversation.

Carolyn Rosenblatt, an expert in aging says that when you are assisting in parents’ elderly care, the situation might be eased by allowing the blame to fall on the adult child, rather than the parents. You’re likely to get results in your mother’s eating habits by saying something like this…

“Mom, I know I’m sometimes a pain and a worry wart, but I’m just getting so concerned about whether there’s enough quality food in the house. Would you allow me to just ask someone to stop by for a visit, run errands or do some light housekeeping for you once in a while so I can sleep better? I just love you. I’d probably sleep better if we did this.”

Offer Encouragement!

Muster up some patience with your elderly parents. Offer encouragement to them in making changes. Be compassionate and try a spirit of teamwork. Keep in mind that a sense of humor can help, too!

Resources:

  1. How to Change Unhealthy Habits, by Teri Goetz
  2. TinyHabits
  3. Persuading Our Stubborn Aging Parents, by Carolyn Rosenblatt
canstockphoto33605433

How Caregiver Burnout Damages Our Brains

What is caregiver burnout or syndrome? Can it be prevented?

Work-related stress and burnout is frequently studied and talked about, but not too much has been studied specifically to caregiver burnout. Yet, it appears that it may be more than just stressful. It can have an impact on the brain, as well.

Caregiver Burnout

Why would there be stress from caring for someone you love? Work-related stress is often acknowledged, but is it true that a caregiver can end up with damage to one’s own brain from caring for someone else? The following describes how family caregiving really can create problems for the brain, and information follows as to what can be done to prevent it, too.

What Does Caregiver Burnout Look Like?

A family caregiver’s burnout may be recognized by the same symptoms of other types of stress and depression. The symptoms can vary, and include exhaustion, anger, social withdrawal, lack of appetite, weight control issues, sleep problems, extreme fatigue, digestive concerns, lowered immune function, and more. Although you won’t find “Caregiver Syndrome” listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, healthcare professionals often use this term when describing caregiver burnout and its negative effects.

An interesting post entitled, “The Effects of Caregiver Stress on the Body and Brain,” on the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center website reports that caregiving often has a major impact on one’s overall physical health, especially when the caregiving lasts for extended periods of time.

The degree of burnout symptoms may be connected to the individual’s genetic traits, education, financial circumstances, and even previous mental conditions. With roughly 70% of caregivers suffering from depression, smart caregiving stress management must start with a self-monitoring and awareness. One must be aware of any developing symptoms, so things can be improved quickly. Just as with other chronic stress, caregiver burnout can harm the brain. Stress can trigger a chemical change in the brain that negatively impacts memory capacity and even decreases learning abilities.

Situational Versus Long-Term Stress

The role of caregiving can be challenging and is likely to test anyone’s emotions and psyche. Even short-term stress can make people irritable, anxious, tense, distracted and forgetful, but it can get worse from there. When caregivers deny their negative emotions, stress hormones (cortisol) levels can greatly increase and these elevated levels may, unfortunately, impact one’s physical, emotional and mental health in negative ways. Research on caregiver risks shows effects on immune and endocrine functioning, depression, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease and even risk of death. A Huffington Post article recently warned that severe life events may “harm your brain’s memory and learning capacity by reducing the volume of gray matter in brain regions associated with emotions, self-control and physiological functions.” Stated in plain words, chronic stress may shrink the brain.

Tips for Handling Caregiver Burnout Before It Damages your Brain

When you find stress levels climbing, consider improving your brain power with some common sense remedies offered by the Mayo Clinic:

Accept help. Take a break when it’s offered. Make an ongoing list of things that friends and family or a healthcare professional could help you with – anything from running errands, buying groceries, cooking meals, light housekeeping or simply spending time with the person you are caring for, so you can have a respite.

Take care of yourself. Chances are you are doing a fantastic job caring for your aging loved one, so don’t allow feelings of guilt to paralyze you. Don’t go for perfection. Just do your best and take care of yourself, too.

Perform a reality check. Caregivers often do too much and run themselves ragged with almost superhuman efforts. Set ample time aside to get yourself organized and go after small realistic goals. This is also a great time to learn to say “no.”

Research community resources. Once you have completed a list of your needs, search for local resources that may be available to help. You might even find a class relevant to your situation or perhaps, there may be a local support group that will help you feel like you’re not alone. Sometimes services like transportation, meal prep or delivery, and housekeeping are the answer.

Self-care. Don’t lose view of your own personal health goals. Are you getting enough sleep? Don’t leave out exercise. Eat healthy and drink enough fresh water. Don’t neglect visits to your own doctor.

Respite Care May Help

Often, giving yourself (and your brain) a break from the daily grind is the best thing you can do for yourself, so consider respite care. Respite care is defined as the temporary care of a dependent person, so that their regular caregiver has some time to recuperate and recover. Sometimes this involves in-home respite, when a professional will assist with your loved one, so you can take time to relax for a bit. Sometimes an aide provides short-term assistance while a caregiver takes a nice mini-vacation or simply spends the day taking time for walking or bicycling outdoors. Enjoying social time by visiting with friends may be just what is needed for feeling refreshed and recharged.

A family caregiver has an important and challenging task. If you are a caregiver, remember to take care of yourself and keep stress managed as much as possible. If you feel like you’re experiencing symptoms of burnout, don’t hesitate to ask for help. The best way to care for someone you love is often to look after yourself first.

Secrets for Long Lives and Relationships of Seniors in Carmel, IN

 “We never outlive our need or capacity to be useful.”

—Richard Watts

Have you wondered how important love and connection are when it comes to your life vitality? Imagine your physician giving you a prescription for good health and the script stated: “Keep yourself immersed in a community of people you love. Never stop making new friendships, yet continue to maintain old friendships, and remember to find time for family and others you love.”

Isn’t it good news that research proves it could be that simple and straightforward? Family and close friends, and human connectivity is correlated with longevity. It’s our relationships that are important for a meaningful life. Aging people who commit to staying active with others and make new friends feel valued. A retired minister, Richard Watts, was once quoted, “We never outlive our need or capacity to be useful,” and his words are true. We now understand that loving relationships are essential to our physical and mental wellbeing. Research proves that happiness and longer lives come from loving others and being loved. We humans are social creatures who benefit from interactions with people of various ages.

 

Loneliness Isn’t Good for Your Health

Healthy lifestyle changes are good for your health, but feelings of loneliness can reduce people to the depths of depression and mental illness. We need social interaction and our bodies can deteriorate from chronic inflammation without it. Inflammation can make us feel sick, which provides additional reasons to withdraw from social circumstances. In other words, loneliness compromises health by making us sick, which creates extended isolation from our friends and community.

 

Loving relationships can build our immunity, and help us to have less colds, flu or chronic illness. High blood pressure and cardiovascular disease are reduced by staying connected to others, too. Apparently, our personal connections are the antidote to many illnesses. Our bodies reap benefits from hormones whether we are the loving caregiver or recipient of the loving care. In either case, a loving relationship can counteract stress and inflammation from loneliness.

 

Social Activity and Wellbeing

We are better off surrounded by others, as we are more likely to take better care of ourselves, and especially when we have things on the calendar that we are looking forward to. If our friends are active, our activity increases, too. Healthy behaviors lead to healthy habits when there’s a connection with an active group. Knowing our life purpose with a sense of future brings a positive and bright outlook, which also brings protection to our brain and body.

 

The Brain and Social Interaction

Close relationships are simply good for us. Research affirms the benefits of social interaction and how it influences brain health. Conversing with others keeps us thinking sharply since we use more brain power interacting with others. It can challenge us to remember past details and understand new things.

Elderly Carmel resident getting his heart checked by a doctor.

Practical ways for decreasing risk of heart disease

A healthy lifestyle correlates with a strong and healthy heart. Therefore, if you make even small improvements in lifestyle, chances are you will increase your heart health.

There are a staggering 17,000,000 deaths worldwide each year as a result of heart disease. Yet, up to 80% of these sad and untimely deaths may be prevented. Symptoms of heart disease often sneak up quietly and unnoticed before the damage is realized.

Heart attacks and other heart disease symptoms can certainly alter your plans for the future. You may choose to remain ignorant or you can take the time to learn more about heart disease. Then, once you learn about it and understand what you can do to prevent it, you have another choice. Sit around and worry about what might happen to you or do the work to prevent it and actively decrease your risk of heart disease by making necessary changes to improve your overall health.

 

Causes of Poor Heart Health

Though humans have been studying heart health for many years, there aren’t really any new surprises on the causes of heart disease. Atherosclerosis is still the worst offender, as it is a buildup of plaque in the lining of arteries. The plaque hardens and narrows the arteries over time, decreasing the blood flow to organs and tissues that are vitally important. Eventually, the heart and blood vessels have become damaged.

Three lifestyle habits are responsible for atherosclerosis:

  • Poor diet choices
  • Not enough exercise
  • Smoking

These three bad habits, along with a big dose of stress can equal heart disease. The good news is that some risk factors, like age and genetics, may not be in your control, but lifestyle habits and daily choices are, and you DO have the power to make healthy changes!

Takeaway tip: Understand the causes of heart disease. Understand your own personal behaviors that could increase your own risk of heart problems. Then, make a plan for change.

 

How to Prevent Heart Problems

Diet

The human body thrives on fresh and nutritious food. Healthy food primes your body for achieving optimal health. Alternately, poor eating habits can slow you down, clogging arteries with plaque, creating high blood pressure problems, and raising cholesterol levels beyond healthy limits, as well. Pack your diet with healthy fats, and use less salt and sugar to improve better heart health.

Doctor-recommended food plans for better heart health are the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan3 and the Mediterranean Diet. They’re slightly different, yet their foundations are similar.

Best diets for heart health always encourage:

  • Vegetables, especially greens, broccoli, cabbage and carrots
  • Colorful fruits like apples, berries, melons and oranges and citrus fruits
  • Whole grains
  • Quality proteins
  • Coldwater fish
  • Eggs
  • Healthy fats (nuts, seeds and avocado)

Nutrient dense whole foods will help you feel satiated. If you find yourself with cravings, don’t give in to foods or drinks heavy in salt, sugar and alcohol.

Takeaway Tip: Select one nutrient dense whole food to add into your diet this week. At the same time, choose one processed food you will eliminate or at least cut back on eating. It’s feasible to make both changes at one time! For example, maybe you will start eating a bowl of fresh fruit for breakfast instead of a blueberry muffin filled with sugar.

 

Get More Exercise

Physical activity can help us stay healthy. Get up and move around during the day as much as possible. It’s good for us and it helps to lessen four common risk factors for heart disease.

Increased exercise:

  • may decrease high cholesterol levels
  • can lower blood pressure
  • helps with weight loss
  • lowers the likelihood of type 2 diabetes

Once you know this, you may feel motivated to get more exercise. Two and a half hours per week or just 20 minutes per day is typically recommended by experts. Your heartbeat should be elevated for at least 10 minutes at a time. Of course, an easy exercise is walking, but swimming, dancing, bicycling and weight lifting are healthy choices, too.

Takeaway Tip: Try adding at least 5 minutes of additional activity to your day at first. Turn on the music and enjoy some dancing in your own living room! Little things count, too. Even when you go out to the mailbox, walk a little faster!

 

Smoking

Just stop! Do it for your heart! Nicotine reduces the size of blood vessels. That allows your carbon monoxide to effectively destroy the insides of the heart vessels. Smoking creates a steeper risk of heart disease for people.4

Sure, it’s a challenge to break the habit, but still, it’s a habit, which means it is a lifestyle choice. In other words, it’s all within your control. Of course, it’s hard to quit… but still, it’s possible to do, and many people do quit every day. Ask your doctor about programs or products that could potentially help with cessation.

Takeaway Tip: Understand your reasons for wanting to quit smoking. Maybe you want to stop so you can generally feel better, or maybe to play more with your grandkids? Decide on what best motivates you, then create a post-it note reminder where you’ll see it often.

 

Stress

High levels of body inflammation are created from prolonged stress. You can reduce and manage stress before your arteries become damaged. Research proves that highly charged emotional situations often precede heart attacks! If coping with stress means that you’ll drink more alcohol, smoke, suppress emotions and make poor food choices, take advantage of some better strategies for relieving stress.

Try:

  • Talking to a mental health provider for new coping strategies
  • Practicing meditation
  • Increasing daily physical activity
  • Releasing hurts and frustrations
  • Enjoying your relationships with full intention

Sometimes, life’s challenges aren’t within our control, but our response is within our control.

Takeaway Tip: How do you deal with life’s stressors? Feel ready to make some changes? Try making one sweet and simple new habit, like writing down five things you’re thankful for when you awake, or practice 30 seconds of deep breathing if anxious feelings arise.

 

Learn all you can about prevention of heart disease. Understand your own risk factors. Know what you’re up against if you don’t make necessary lifestyle changes, then focus on something you’re willing to change. Take a moment to think about heart disease risks that are most likely to affect you. Then, take one simple step at a time. Even one healthy new habit can make a difference!

Seniors Walking to Promote Good Health in Their Lives

Good Strategies for Seniors to Increase Energy in Daily Life

Apparently, we can’t just blame our lack of energy on aging. Certainly, some of us will blame aging anyway, but when we take an honest look around at older active adults, we just can’t honestly say, “I don’t have energy because I’m old!”  Aging with grace and ease is something we all eventually take the time to think about. Usually, our thoughts are triggered by our body’s changes that we’ve ignored or brushed aside until that day when our wall of denial finally crumbles. Then, we absolutely know we must take the time to figure out if there is more we can do to age well.

How to Age Well

Keep in mind the following tips for positive aging when you want to recharge your energy reserves. Dr. Beth Frates recommends paying attention to what might be really draining and sapping the energy from you.

  1. Who are You Spending Time With? Are the people in your life truly wonderful to be around? Do you make it a point to spend plenty of time with the friends you feel most comfortable with? Do they encourage you, accept and respect you for who you are, what you like to do, and where you want to go in life? Or, are these people making you feel like you need to hide or maybe even protect a piece of yourself? If the result of spending time with the latter group is a feeling of low energy, consider limiting your time with them! Spend time with people who make you feel good.
  2. Take a Walk for 5 Minutes When you’re fatigued and the craving monster inside is beginning to grumble, consider taking a five-minute walk. Just five minutes – really! Get outside, take a walk around the block and stretch your legs. Hopefully, you can enjoy some pleasant weather. It’s amazing and true that a short walk can be invigorating! Dr. Frates say deep breathing revives the parasympathetic system, also. Do a breathing pattern of 4-7-8: four breaths in, hold for seven counts, and exhale for eight.
  3. Drink Plenty of Water It’s important to take note of how much water we are drinking, especially as we age. We have to be mindful of the quantity of fluids we’re drinking so that we are sure to maintain fully hydrated. Staying hydrated helps our metabolic rate and keeps us as healthy as possible. Water is of the utmost importance when it comes to recovery from exercise, too. One of the initial signs of dehydration is fatigue so don’t hesitate to grab a glass of water when you begin to feel energy reserves are zapped.
  4. Do Strength Training  Lifting weights and working on any resistance exercises is a great idea for people over 60 years old to boost energy levels. As we continue to build muscle mass, we can maintain our previous strength from earlier years. In addition, when we are stronger, our bodies work more efficiently, and this contributes to our overall energy, as well.
  5. Take Vitamins Taking high-quality vitamins and supplements daily will most likely help you feel better all over, mentally and physically. Good supplements can contribute greatly to your quality of life and wellbeing. Work with your doctor or healthcare professional to help you figure out which nutrients might be lacking and will be best for you at this time in your life.
  6. Get Enough Sleep Ah, we used to sleep so easily. We’d just lie down and fall asleep so quickly. Do you remember this? But, in later years, we are often deprived of good sleep. Although there’s an abundance of good-intentioned advice, one of the best things to do is simply go to bed at the same time every night and wake up each morning at the same time. It seems odd, for sure, but recommendations for the sleep-deprived, actually include getting less sleep. It sounds strange, but if you spend a great deal of time in bed worrying about not being able to sleep, maybe you need to reduce the amount of time spent in bed. Some people find this strategy to get their most restful sleep back:
  • Don’t nap during the daytime.
  • Go to bed later than normal and get just four hours of sleep on the first night’s attempt.
  • Add another 15 – 30 minutes more sleep the next night, and each one after until it’s an ample amount.
  • If you’re sleeping soundly the whole time you’re in bed, just keep adding additional sleep on successive nights until you’ve found your sweet spot.

Any of these tips might improve your energy level. It’s fun to create an experiment out of your sleep by tracking how you feel when you challenge yourself with these tips. Stay solid in your beliefs that by embracing your own self-care, you will learn how to age well and feel energized, too!

Positive Attitudes Can Reduce Dementia Risk

Positive Attitudes Can Reduce Dementia Risk

The question often arises, “Can a positive outlook on life improve our brain health?” Researchers adamantly affirm, “yes,” and here are some helpful suggestions we have found for aging adults and for their caregivers who want to be helpful.

Attitude Matters

Smiling truly helps physical and mental health and keeping a positive attitude takes it even further. Smiling releases endorphins. Even a forced smile genuinely decreases stress. In fact, research shows that good attitudes actually reduce the risk of dementia. Even when aging adults carry a gene variant linked to dementia, their good attitudes appeared to make them 50% less likely to develop the disorder. Pessimism, on the other hand, worked against them. These results are impressive and give us further motivation to keep up with positive relationships, personal connections and good attitude.

Stay Connected Intentionally

It’s often said that we are the sum total of our friends and interactions, regardless of whether it’s family, co-workers or friends. This means it’s especially important to intentionally surround ourselves with people with good attitudes. It’s contagious! Stay connected with those who keep good outlooks on life, are active and involved.

No Complaints!

When people fall into the trap of complaining, beware and keep some distance. Complaining takes us down a path of negativity that’s not good for anyone. No one really wants to hear complaining about bad weather, long lines and aches or pains. It’s difficult to be around that kind of attitude for long, unless you are the same sort. So, even thought there are days that you may be down or aggravated, resolve to mingle with people who help you stay upbeat. Don’t allow self-pity to come over you like a dark cloud.

Routine is Good

Waking up at the same time every day has a health benefit. It’s not always easy but it matters. Morning rituals can keep us going, and especially if they involve conversation and healthy habits like a good breakfast or exercise.

Laugh as Much and Often as Possible

Allowing the rush of endorphins into the brain and bloodstream helps us feel good in so many ways. Keep laughter a regular part of life by going to the theater for funny movies or comedy shows. Turn something funny on the television or YouTube and interact with children whenever possible. Their liveliness and energy is always uplifting.

Be a Goal Setter

Looking forward to things in the upcoming days or weeks helps us with attitude and outlook. It makes us sharp and prepared. Create a list, make a plan, and accomplish tasks, regardless how big or small they might be.

Enjoy life to the fullest with good brain and body health! Protect your wellbeing with activity, healthy lifestyle changes and a positive attitude!

Learn how new technologies in senior care can help improve your life

New Technologies in Senior Care to Watch Out For

Technology is constantly changing and growing in many ways. It is not an easy task to keep up with all the latest advancements. However, it is important to at least try to remain current because recent updates in technology designs can greatly impact the quality of life for seniors.

New devices can help with a variety of senior care concerns including brain health and memory exercises, reminders to take medications, exercises to increase mobility, and keeping in contact with family and friends. Caregivers can even help engage seniors from afar using the latest technology.

Seniors are adapting to the rapid changes in technology and using it more often in their daily lives. In fact, we have access to more technology now than any other past generation.

Because of this rapid change, many new products come and go. The products which are not intuitive or easy to learn are the first to be left behind. Simple, good design is what is needed for the technology to help seniors in every aspect of their lives. The following are examples of helpful senior care technology.

Improving Brain Health with Technology

Developers have noted the trend that the over-65 demographic have demand for new technology which allows them to express themselves creatively. This is driving a push for new research into products which improve brain health, in addition to those that improve daily care.

One good example is Mentia, an iPad game by Deva World. While playing this game, users with dementia can interact with an on-screen animated character. From there, the senior can select various media which he or she finds to be mentally engaging, such as paintings, music, and books.

Technology to Strengthen Memory

Those who are experiencing memory loss can benefit from a program called BlipIQ. This allows family members and the user to upload pictures, texts, stories, audio, and videos from their lives. Interacting with this program will keep seniors’ memory active as they reminisce about their past.

Seniors may not understand virtual reality until they try it themselves, however this is another technology that engages the mind. For instance, they can put on a virtual reality headset and take a virtual tour of the world’s natural wonders. These headsets can also be synced so multiple people can share the same adventure together, even allowing communication and experiences with other people around the globe.

Technology for Medication Reminders

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 40% of seniors over the age of 65 are taking 5 or more medications daily. This can make it quite challenging to remember which pills have been taken and which have not.

Fortunately, there are now apps available on your smartphone which sound an alarm for medication reminders. Pillbox and other apps like it will even show a picture of the pill that should be taken, making it very convenient for seniors who are forgetful.

Technology for Effective Senior Exercise

In order to keep our minds and bodies healthy, it is important to include exercise into our routine. This is especially true for seniors, who may have trouble with mobility. New wearable electronic devices like the Fitbit make it easy to set fitness goals while keeping track of your movement.

Another technology on the horizon is the development of robotic exoskeletons. Once thought of as pure science fiction, this external brace may help stimulate tired muscles and provide stability.

Technology to Keep in Touch

As people age, it becomes more challenging to keep in touch with friends and family. Seniors often deal with loneliness and isolation. They can now reach out through devices such as computers, tablets, and smartphones or share pictures and messages over Facebook.

Besides digital communication, there are also programs to keep seniors connected in person. For those who can no longer drive, Lyft offers a comfortable and convenient ride-sharing. Lyft and similar ride-sharing companies have recently partnered with healthcare facilities and can provide transportation to doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, grocery stores, and visits with friends and family.

This rapid expansion of technology is an exciting development. Many seniors can benefit from using these innovative programs and devices to improve their quality of life.