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  • Marc Feder
  • June 21, 2017 12:35:40 AM

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Our home care and healthy living blog covers a wide range of topics concerning aging and health, support and guides for caregivers providing care, and articles on living a more healthy and positive lifestyle.

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Senior-Friendly Activities for Fall

The days are gradually getting shorter, and the luscious lawns of summer give way to autumn’s fallen leaves. There’s always something special about each time of year, so we’ve rounded up 7 of our favorite fall activities that seniors can easily enjoy as well. With some great entertainment options while staying indoors, or venturing out into the crisp autumn air, The post Senior-Friendly Activities for Fall appeared first on Community Home Health...

The days are gradually getting shorter, and the luscious lawns of summer give way to autumn’s fallen leaves. There’s always something special about each time of year, so we’ve rounded up 7 of our favorite fall activities that seniors can easily enjoy as well. With some great entertainment options while staying indoors, or venturing out into the crisp autumn air, you and your loved one can now go ahead and celebrate the new season!

1. Experience the Lovely Outdoors

As summer’s warmth fades out into the cold of winter, autumn offers the ideal climate to comfortably enjoy time spent outside. Take in the beautiful foliage and fresh autumn scents together, while engaging in a physical activity that relaxes and invigorates. When planning an outing with your loved one, it’s important to keep his or her mobility in mind. You’ll want to make sure your choice is suited to your loved one’s physical capabilities. Whether you choose to admire the scenery from the porch, in the car, strolling in a local park, or walking along a guided hiking trail, you’re guaranteed to return inside refreshed.

2. Prepare Seasonal Snacks

On a chilly afternoon, who doesn’t savor the tantalizing smell of freshly baked pastries? Or better yet, sharing the day and making memories together over a recipe? Cool days with longer evenings are the perfect time to get cozy in the kitchen and prepare a homemade snack. With easy-to-find ingredients, you and your loved one can whip up something delicious to enjoy together or share with friends and family on your next special occasion. Take advantage of autumn’s bounty of apples, cranberries, pumpkins in one of these simple seasonal treats.

3. Plant Ahead

Fall may not be the most enjoyable time to sit out in the yard, but if you’ve got a small patch for planting, this is the best time to invest in a home garden. Make the most of your loved one’s green thumb and get planting! Generally, trees, shrubs, and a wide variety of perennial plants grow best when planted at a time when the ground is moist. In this way, the roots can establish themselves before the ground freezes and winter sets in. Veggies that thrive in this season include bok choy, Brussels sprouts, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, kohlrabi, cauliflower, celery, endive, kale, leeks, and head and leaf lettuces. They also include onions, peas, garlic, radishes, snow peas, spinach, Swiss chard and turnips. Flowers, such as tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils can be planted early in the fall and will reappear to decorate the landscape each year. For these, you’ll need one trip to your local nursery and then lots of patience until spring blooms again…

4. Decorate Indoors

Your loved one will enjoy crafting in good company while sprucing up the house with seasonal decor. Create an autumn wreath to display on the front door, paint pumpkins in varied sizes to dress up the table, or get started on crocheting a personalized holiday gift for someone special. Spend an afternoon visiting your local craft stores, like Hobby Lobby or Michael’s, and take advantage of the wide selection of seasonal art supplies they offer. You can also find some more ideas here for great crafts that guarantee memorable activities and warm autumn vibes. Crafting together will help you create the perfect atmosphere for this time of year.

5. Coordinate a Visit

While everyone is spending less time outdoors, seize the opportunity to reconnect with long-time acquaintances, extended family, and close friends. Ask your loved one who they’d like for company and schedule a date, or offer to accompany them on a visit to someone they’d be glad to get together with. You can invite guests to your loved one’s home, or make up for them to meet at a local coffee shop, restaurant, or entertainment venue. When guests visit at home, you can bring out old photo albums for them to reminisce with, as they enjoy the chance to reflect on a bygone era with someone from their past. Restoring old friendships is a powerful way for seniors to feel younger and more vibrant.

6. Work on a Fall-Themed Puzzle

Bring the scenic views inside and relax together with a cup of tea while you assemble a masterpiece. Larger-piece puzzles allow seniors to create their own works of art- ones that can both be displayed proudly and are easily accessible. They also offer older adults an opportunity to keep their fingers and minds nimble, while having fun and experiencing a sense of gratification. Many find that working on a puzzle has a meditative effect, subtly decreasing feelings of anxiety, and increasing mental well-being. Click here to choose from a selection of autumn puzzles that can be delivered to your door and enjoyed in the company of grandchildren, neighbors, or friends. When the project is completed and displayed, your loved one will be happy to show it off to visitors and tell them about the process of creating their masterpiece.

7. Visit a Farmers Market

A farmers market is more than a convenient place to purchase fresh locally-grown fruits and vegetables, dairy products, or honey. Visiting a farmers market is also an informal way for seniors to be social by providing them with the opportunity to interact with neighbors and support local farmers. Adults can stroll through the market and stop for free samples and tastes while enjoying the plethora of colors and produce. Your loved one can select from a variety of fresh products to enjoy at home and is sure to look forward to another delightful trip. Click here to locate the farmers’ market closest to you.

Regardless of how you choose to share the day, we hope you enjoy the time spent together. You can find additional caregiver resources on our website, and explore a variety of timely topics such as medical assistance, personal care, and senior companionship.

Reach out to us today to learn more about our team of caring and experienced personal caregivers, registered nurses, and home health aides who expertly serve families just like yours.

We’re here for you and happy to assist your family. Give us a call at (845) 425-6555 with any questions.

Community Home Health Care wishes you and your family a most memorable autumn!

The post Senior-Friendly Activities for Fall appeared first on Community Home Health Care.


Going On an Outing With a Senior With Dementia? These 8 Tips Are For You

You’re Not The Only One If you dread taking your loved one on outings, you’re not alone. One of the hardest parts of caring for your loved one who’s suffering from Alzheimer’s is going on outings with them. Seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s can display embarrassing or unusual behaviors in public, The post Going On an Outing With a Senior With Dementia? These 8 Tips Are For You appeared first on Community Home Health...

You’re Not The Only One

If you dread taking your loved one on outings, you’re not alone.

One of the hardest parts of caring for your loved one who’s suffering from Alzheimer’s is going on outings with them. Seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s can display embarrassing or unusual behaviors in public, making it difficult for you to take them out without creating a commotion.

Why Outings are Beneficial

Going out into the sunshine and being social helps
● Enhance their moods
● Lower their stress levels
● Improve their sleep patterns
● Use their energy in a positive way
● Create new memories
● Lessen their sense of isolation
● Develop a stronger sense of self (affecting self-esteem, confidence, and happiness)
● Orient them in reality

Outings are important — for both caregivers and seniors. So use these 8 tips to make your outings as smooth and enjoyable as can be!

1. Pack your go-bag.

Be prepared, they say. It’s true! Pack a tote bag with essentials, and things your loved one would appreciate. Here are some ideas of what to bring on an outing to make it more pleasant:

● Snacks and water
● Emergency contact information
● Up-to-date medical information
● Photocopies of important legal documents
● Relevant medications
● Incontinence briefs
● Wipes and tissues
● Magazines and books
● Weather-related accessories (umbrella, sunscreen, sunglasses, gloves, etc)
● Extra clothing
● A soothing item for them to hold

2. Choose Alzheimer-friendly places.

When your loved one displays behavior that is not socially accepted, many businesses are not sympathetic, and instead of offering you assistance, they ask you to leave.

While not always possible, choose to visit establishments whose employees have completed special training to help them understand and assist people with dementia and their caregivers.

Think about how your senior loved one will behave in the place you plan to visit. Busy places (like restaurants, movie theaters, amusement parks) can be overwhelming with all the sights and sounds and people. Choose your destination carefully.

3. Have explanations prepared.

Bystanders will naturally become uncomfortable and maybe stare when an adult displays strange behaviors like removing clothing or shouting inappropriately. Plan how you’re going to deal with these situations.

Here’s an idea: print small cards to hand out to bystanders, explaining that your senior loved one has Alzheimer’s and to please forgive the outburst. This discreet way of informing people also helps preserve your loved one’s dignity.

4. Stay calm.

Think this is an obvious one? It’s easy to get agitated along with your loved one. You are already working really hard caring for them, and taking them on an outing adds to your stress.

Yet, it’s important to remain calm. If you find your stress levels are rising in response to the outing, take three deep breaths, remind yourself that you’re doing the best you could, and carry on calmly.

Your calm state will help your loved one, too.

5. Inform your loved one in advance.

Some elderly people with dementia do not like sudden changes to their schedules. Take time to prepare them. Tell your loved ones when and where you’re going, what they can expect there, and any other information that will help them feel calmer and in control.

It also helps to keep your routine as close as possible to normal, by including tasks from their normal daily routine.

6. Inform the people at your destination.

Forewarned is forearmed! Going to visit people you know? Prepare them in advance. Explain that your loved one is suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s and that they may display surprising behavior. Give them pointers for what they should and shouldn’t do.

For example, many people tend to do “memory tests” when speaking with people with dementia. Tell them in advance that testing your loved one agitates them.

7. Dress them comfortably.

You know the physical comfort of your loved one makes a big difference to their behavior. So dress your loved one in appropriate and comfortable clothing and shoes to lower the chances of outbursts. (Wearing proper shoes can also help your elderly loved one avoid potential falls.)

8. Time it right.

As their caregiver, you know your loved one fares better at different times of day and different times of the week. Plan your outing for a time when your loved one’s spirits are high and they’re feeling good. Make sure the duration of the trip will not overwhelm them, either.

You’re all set!

You’ll be well prepared with these tips the next time you need to go on an outing with your aging loved one who’s suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Looking for more helpful resources? Community Home Health Care has a caring, experienced staff of trained in-home caregivers, including personal care aides, registered nurses, and home health aides.

Explore our website and fill out the online form to receive more information about the medical assistance, personal care, and friendship we provide. You can call (845) 425-6555 with any questions you have, and we’ll be happy to help.

Kudos to you, caregiver!

The post Going On an Outing With a Senior With Dementia? These 8 Tips Are For You appeared first on Community Home Health Care.


The Fourth of July: Celebrating and Promoting Senior Independence

Independence Day — For All July 4th. The birth of American indepence. Picnics, patriotic t-shirts, and brilliant firework displays. It’s the quintessential mark of our very human desire to be free. The desire to ‘do it myself,’ like every two-year-old asserts. Yet, what does Independence Day mean for those who are slowly becoming more dependent on those around them? The post The Fourth of July: Celebrating and Promoting Senior Independence appeared first on Community Home Health...

Independence Day — For All

July 4th. The birth of American indepence. Picnics, patriotic t-shirts, and brilliant firework displays.

It’s the quintessential mark of our very human desire to be free. The desire to ‘do it myself,’ like every two-year-old asserts.

Yet, what does Independence Day mean for those who are slowly becoming more dependent on those around them? What does the word ‘independence’ mean to aging seniors and their caregivers?

This July 4th, we’re talking about senior independence — what it means, why it’s so important and how to promote it. Plus, some inspiration for seniors and caregivers navigating the delicate balance of dependence and independence.

Why Independence is Hard to Define

Did you build your own house? Did you sew your clothes, grow and harvest your food — all with tools you built yourself? Of course not! Yet you still consider yourself an independent person, correct? That’s because independence is not about self-reliance, but about how you perceive your own ability to care for yourself independently.

Ask yourself; what does independence mean to me? Is it the ability to make your own schedule? Get out of the house? Take on new responsibilities without much pressure? Maybe it’s the ability to make your choices without being told what to do.

“When I was younger, I thought independence meant working hard and saving up for a house. As I got older, I realized part of being an adult was deciding what role I wanted to play in my life.”

Everyone has their own criteria for independence.

What’s the big deal?

Your golden senior years are a joyous time. A time to explore your past accomplishments, your goals for the future, and what independence means to you. Your body and mind are changing. Your capacity to work is changing. You may even need help with basic functioning like meal preparation, bathing and dressing.

That’s why independence is a buzzword for seniors. It means everything to hold on to the freedom and independence you still have as you age.
No matter your age, freedom and independence are crucial to our self-esteem.

The Good News

Your golden years are a prime time to do things you never would have dreamt of before. Asking for help with bathing can be difficult, but it doesn’t mean you’ve lost your independence.

When you retire, for the first time in your life you have the freedom to decide what you’ll do with your time. It’s a great time to try new things! Senior independence can mean doing things for yourself that you wouldn’t have dreamed of doing when you were younger—working on a book, for example, or starting your own small business, or buying a pet. It means planning your days so that you get the most out of each hour, and not wasting time on things that don’t contribute to your happiness.

“When I turned 71, I took an art class for the first time in my life. And to my surprise, I discovered a real talent! Now I use my time to paint portraits and beautiful scenery for my kids’ homes. Seeing my handiwork hanging on their walls brings me such joy. What would have been if I never took that art class?”

4 Ways to Promote Senior Independence

Whether you’re a caregiver or a senior, you can promote senior independence the following ways:

1. Improve your advocacy skills.

When making decisions on behalf of another, or making decisions a team instead of on your own, it’s important to
● Stay positive
● Use a pleasant tone of voice
● Communicate as clearly as possible
● Be okay with comprising for the sake of another

Keep these things in mind when advocating for yourself or your loved one. Not sure if you’re being an effective advocate? Ask for
feedback from those around you!

2. Encourage a healthy lifestyle.

Staying healthy is crucial to maintaining your independence, especially as we age. It means staying functional and active for longer and needing less help with physical tasks. Take a look at your diet and see where you can add more whole grains, vegetables, and cut down on processed foods and foods high in fat and sodium. Commit to an exercise routine that suits your level and stick to it! You’re sure to see both physical and emotional improvement from living a healthier lifestyle.

3. Talk openly about aging.

Aging. We’re all headed towards it, every second of our lives. Today’s media likes to convince us that staying young forever is a commendable (and attainable!) goal. Instead of falling for the promise of a fountain of youth, embrace aging with grace and be proud of all your years of experience, friendships you’ve made, and accomplishments you’ve achieved.

4. Make things easy to access.

Speaking up and asking for help can be really uncomfortable. Especially when you have to ask for so many things, so often.

An easy way to decrease the number of times a senior needs to ask their caregiver for help — make commonly used items easily accessible. That limits the need for constant requests for help reaching or lifting for things. Clothing, food, appliances, toiletries, etc, should all be made available to the senior.

“My mom asked me to move the outfits she wears most often to a lower shelf. Now she can dress herself every morning without calling for her caregiver. It’s the simple changes like these that allow her to feel independent.”

Growing Every Day

When you’re forming or maintaining a caregiver-senior relationship, every day is a new opportunity for personal growth. Here are some inspirational quotes to help you on your journey.

“To find yourself, think for yourself.”

― Socrates

No matter how dependent we become on others, whether due to life circumstances, illness, or age, we can still think for ourselves. And that is true independence.

“There are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver.”

― Rosalyn Carter

Caregiving is universal. At some point in your life, you have given care or received care. Embrace it.

“Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.”

― Albert Camus

So…you’re independent. The pivotal question is: what are you going to do with your independence?

Happy Fourth of July!

Whether you’re celebrating as a caregiver or senior, Independence Day is a time for reflection on our relationships and goals. Make sure to see some fireworks while you’re pondering!

If you’re looking for a caregiver or professional to help your elderly loved one age with grace and independence, contact Community Home Health Care at 845-425-6555 or contact us through our site.

The post The Fourth of July: Celebrating and Promoting Senior Independence appeared first on Community Home Health Care.


Make Home Safer: Easy Ways to Prevent Common Senior Accidents

Should you be concerned about at-home senior injuries? According to the CDC, 3 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries every year. Less than half of seniors report their falls to their doctors. The effects of a bad fall or home accident can be devastating. The post Make Home Safer: Easy Ways to Prevent Common Senior Accidents appeared first on Community Home Health...

Should you be concerned about at-home senior injuries?

According to the CDC, 3 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries every year. Less than half of seniors report their falls to their doctors.

The effects of a bad fall or home accident can be devastating. Twenty-five percent of senior falls cause injury to more than one part of the body (compared to an average sixteen percent among other age groups). Accidents can cause broken bones or head injuries. One in five falls among women aged 55 and over requires hospital treatment.

Although most falls do not result in a serious injury, being unable to get back up can cause pressure sores and hypothermia while they’re stuck in one place waiting for help.

Besides, the senior can become afraid of falling again. This fear may cause your loved one to cut down on their everyday activities, causing themselves to become weaker and increasing their chances of getting injured.

The good news is that you can easily prevent the most common senior home accidents by making small changes to your elderly loved one’s home environment.

“After my mom fell and broke her wrist, I took the time to declutter her home. Now she feels much safer, and I’m calmer knowing there is less of a chance she’ll fall again.”

Who is most at risk for home accidents?

Most at-home senior accidents are caused by a combination of risk factors. The more risk factors a senior has, the greater their chances of getting injured at home. The main risk factors for getting injured at home include:

● Lower body weakness
● Difficulties with walking and balance
● Use of medicines, such as tranquilizers, sedatives, or antidepressants (some over-the-counter medicines can affect balance and how steady you are on your feet)
● Vision problems
● Foot pain
● Poor footwear
● Home hazards or dangers
● Vitamin D deficiency
● Calcium deficiency
● A history of previous falls

The 9 Most Common (and Avoidable) Senior Home Accidents

The following nine injury types are most common for seniors living at home:

1. Falls
2. Burns
3. Choking
4. Medication overdose or improper medication
5. Bedsores
6. Infections
7. Lacerations
8. Sprains
9. Joint dislocation

Make Your Senior’s Home Environment Safer in 5 Minutes

You can make a home safer for older adults in as little as five minutes. Here are some ways you can make your elderly loved one’s home safer and help them navigate their homes with confidence:

Kitchen:

● Install induction stoves (rather than gas or electric)
● Purchase a one-cup boiler
● Install a stove with an automatic shut off
● Purchase a cooktop fire-suppressor and quickly install it using magnets
● Purchase a jar opener and safety can opener
● Place the things they use most often on the lower shelves (about waist high)
● Label containers and storage areas clearly

Sitting Room/Lounge:

● Remove tripping hazards such as rugs, clutter, or electric cables
● Check if the senior and their walker/wheelchair can easily navigate the room (if not, rearrange the furniture to allow easy navigation)
● Purchase a chair raiser
● Replace carpet with cushioned non-slip flooring

Bedroom:

● Use risers to increase the height of the bed
● Ensure drawer handles offer easy access
● Place an easy-to-reach lamp close to the bed
● Light the path from their bed to the bathroom (ideally with two-way switches that glow in the dark)

“We placed lightbulbs along the path from my dad’s bed to the bathroom. He says it’s the best gift we’ve ever given him!”

Bathroom:

● Add grab bars inside and outside your tub or shower and next to the toilet (if there are grab bars already, make sure they are tight and in good condition)
● Install a higher toilet seat
● Put down non-slip mats with anti-skid backing (or replace the bathroom tiles with a non-slip surface)
● Install walk-in showers and baths

Stairs:

● Remove items lying on the stairs
● Ensure there are no upturned carpet edges
● Put railings on both sides of stairs (or tighten existing railings)
● Repair or remove damaged or worn carpet
● Repair uneven steps or broken steps
● Look at stairlift options

Floors:

● Get rid of things they could trip over (upturned carpet edges, clutter, electric cables, etc)
● Avoid repetitive carpet patterns (they may produce optical illusions)

In General:

● Make thresholds between rooms easy to walk over by installing anti-slip ramps
● Light their home with more or brighter light bulbs (ideally with lighting that simulates daylight because it’s most effective and can improve moods)
● Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout the home

“I’m amazed at the difference a few small changes could make! We put my grandmother’s microwave on the counter, and bought her a walker with a tray so she can bring her food to the table. It’s much safer and it gives her more independence.”

Simple Changes A Senior Can Make to Avoid Accidents

In order to prevent injuries, your elderly loved one should:

● Wear well-fitting footwear
● Get out of bed and chairs slowly so as not to become dizzy
● Ask their doctor or pharmacist to review their medicines to see if any might make them dizzy or sleepy
● Ask their doctor about taking vitamin D supplements
● Exercise to make their lower body stronger and improve balance
● Avoid leaving items lying around on the floor or stairs
● Have a ‘grabber’ that helps pick things up off the floor without having to bend down
● Clean up spills immediately to prevent slipping on them
● Keep two walking sticks, one at the top of the stairs and another at the bottom
● Use the microwave to cook or heat food more rather than the oven or stove (if the microwave is easily accessible)
● Learn what to do if they have a fall or other accident
● Do not dry clothes on heaters
● Clean lint from the clothes dryer once a month (or ask a friend or family member to do it for them)
● Turn the cold water on first when filling the bathtub
● Use the rear burners when cooking on the stove top, and turn the panhandles away from the front of the cooker

“Last year my dad fell while trying to pick up a sweater from the floor. We bought him a new ‘grabber’ and he uses it all the time now! He can pick things up easily without fear of falling.”

“My great aunt insisted on frying her own food. It used to be okay, but her arthritis was getting worse and making it harder for her to do things with her hands. When she got a small burn we spoke to her gently about the risks. Now she uses an air-fryer and loves the health benefits, too!”

Make Your Senior’s Home Safer Today

You can implement the above tips today to make your senior loved one’s home as safe as possible.

If you’re looking for a caregiver or professional to help your elderly loved one navigate their home as safely as possible, contact Community Home Health Care at 845-425-6555 or contact us through our site.

The post Make Home Safer: Easy Ways to Prevent Common Senior Accidents appeared first on Community Home Health Care.


7 Practical Stress Relief Techniques for Caregivers (And Their Seniors)

Stress is Normal, But… Our bodies were made to experience and react to stress. Feeling occasional stress is normal and a sign that your reflexes are functioning properly. Cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine, the stress hormones, get us to act quickly when faced with danger and often save our lives. However, these hormones are helpful only for immediate, The post 7 Practical Stress Relief Techniques for Caregivers (And Their Seniors) appeared first on Community Home Health...

Stress is Normal, But…

Our bodies were made to experience and react to stress. Feeling occasional stress is normal and a sign that your reflexes are functioning properly. Cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine, the stress hormones, get us to act quickly when faced with danger and often save our lives. However, these hormones are helpful only for immediate, short-term challenges. Prolonged stress can have negative effects on our health.

Chronic stress (when the body experiences stressors with such frequency or intensity that the nervous system doesn’t get a chance to relax) can cause
● Headaches
● Insomnia
● Depression
● Irritability
● High blood pressure and blood sugar
● Decreased immune function
● Increased risk of heart attacks and strokes

(For information on the causes of chronic stress and how to recognize the signs in your loved one, read our article, Helping Seniors Manage Stress: A Guide for Caregivers.)

Here’s a list of simple, practical things that can relieve stress for yourself or for your loved one.

#1: Exercise

Putting physical “stress” on your body can actually reduce mental stress. Exercising regularly lowers your body’s stress hormone levels and encourages the release of endorphins. (Endorphins are the hormones that improve your mood, naturally.)

Exercise also improves the quality of your sleep. This can be helpful to those whose stress is affecting their sleep.

Find an exercise style that suits your physical capabilities and that you enjoy. There are so many options to choose from, such as walking, jogging, dancing, biking, swimming, yoga, pilates, and more!

Yoga is known to be particularly soothing and relaxing, as it has a meditative effect. According to studies, yoga can enhance your mood and may even be as effective as antidepressant drugs.

You can work out on your own when you have time off, join a class, or have senior-and-caregiver exercise time! Put on your workout clothes and get going!

#2: Music

Who doesn’t love the sound of music?

Music can help relieve stress, especially classical, slow compositions. It can slow your heart rate and pulse, lower your blood pressure, and decrease your levels of stress hormones. Music also acts as a distraction, making it easier for you to relax, sleep, or meditate.

Whether you’re a senior or a caregiver, you can find music you love and listen to it whenever you can. Listen to music before you go to bed, when you’re washing dishes, walking the dog, or driving. Find ways to incorporate the music you enjoy into your everyday life.

#3: Art

It’s time to get in touch with your inner artist! Adult coloring books with intricate geometric patterns have recently become a popular stress-relief tool, and for good reason.

Research shows that painting, coloring, beading, and similar activities can have a meditative effect on your mental state. Getting creative and becoming deeply engrossed in the activity at hand can help you relax and relieve your stress. Seniors and their caregivers can benefit from getting creative together or during the caregiver’s off time.

At the end, you’ll have something beautiful to show for it! Now, where should we hang the newest painting…

#4: Connection

Feeling overwhelmed? Get a hug from a loved one.

Social support and meaningful connections can help relieve your stress, whether you’re a senior or a caregiver. It can give you a sense of belonging and value.

In addition, the positive physical contact of family and friends can help release oxytocin and lower cortisol. This can help lower your blood pressure and your heart rate.

You can also talk with family and friends and the phone or over video calls. If no one is available for a cuddle or a call, even interacting with a pet can have stress-relieving effects.

#5: Deep Breathing

Take a deep breath in through your nose, Now let it out, slowly, from your mouth.

Simply focusing on your breathing or changing your breathing pattern can make a huge difference to your overall stress levels.

You can take just three to five minutes during a stressful meeting or in a crowded space to focus on and slow your breathing to help you relax.

There are many breathing techniques and patterns. Here’s a simple one: Breathe in through your nose and watch your belly expand with air. Count slowly to four as you inhale. Hold for one second and then slowly breathe out through your mouth as you count to four again.

You can practice this technique anywhere, anytime. And no one has to know that you’re doing it. Breathing exercises could be key to reducing your stress.

#6: A Healthy Diet

Take a good look at what you’re feeding your body. (If you have a hard time keeping track of your diet, consider starting a food journal and write down what and when you eat.)

The first thing to do is reduce your caffeine consumption. Caffeine is okay and even helpful in small amounts, but large amounts of caffeine may worsen stress symptoms in people already prone to stress and anxiety.

Emotional eating and eating lots of sugars and fats can provide a temporary feeling of relief. Yet in the long-term, it only adds to your stress.

Refined carbs (white bread, pastries, potato chips, etc) can cause a spike in your blood sugar. When your blood sugar subsequently crashes, you may experience more stress.

The good news? Specific foods like salmon, eggs, avocado, yogurt, dark chocolate, almonds, and walnuts support mood regulation and energy balance. So go ahead and add plenty of those to your diet!

#7: Laughter

“Laughter is the best medicine.” Research has proven this correct time and time again.

Laughter relaxes your tense muscles and relieves your nervous system’s stress response. Laughter also enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.

Watch comedy shows, spend time with people who make you laugh, and simply find the humor in everyday life.

This is one prescription you don’t have to pick up at the drugstore!

When You’re Feeling Blue

Stress is a part of life. But when it becomes chronic, you need to take control and implement stress-relieving techniques. Seniors and caregivers are more prone to stress than other groups of people.

Feeling stressed out? Here’s a quick round-up of the above:
1. Go for a brisk walk.
2. Play classical music.
3. Take out a coloring book.
4. Hug a loved one.
5. Do deep breathing exercise for five minutes.
6. Eat some salmon, eggs, avocado, yogurt, dark chocolate, almonds, or walnuts.
7. Listen to a comedian you like.

Reach Out

Looking for more helpful resources? Community Home Health Care has a caring, experienced staff of trained in-home caregivers, including personal care aides, registered nurses, and home health aides.

Explore our website and fill out the online form to receive more information about the medical assistance, personal care, and friendship we provide. You can call (845) 425-6555 with any questions you have, and we’ll be happy to help.

The post 7 Practical Stress Relief Techniques for Caregivers (And Their Seniors) appeared first on Community Home Health Care.


Malnutrition in Seniors (How to Spot it + How You Can Help)

16% of Americans 65+ consume fewer than 1000 calories per day — that means a whopping number of seniors are at high risk for undernutrition (Health and Nutrition Examination Survey). As we age, our bodies begin needing fewer calories, and more protein, calcium, B vitamins, and other nutrients. Seniors are particularly susceptible to malnutrition because they have different dietary needs than younger adults and few people are aware of these differences. The post Malnutrition in Seniors (How to...

16% of Americans 65+ consume fewer than 1000 calories per day — that means a whopping number of seniors are at high risk for undernutrition (Health and Nutrition Examination Survey).

As we age, our bodies begin needing fewer calories, and more protein, calcium, B vitamins, and other nutrients. Seniors are particularly susceptible to malnutrition because they have different dietary needs than younger adults and few people are aware of these differences.

The good news? You can take practical steps to keep your loved one from being a part of that frighteningly large group of malnourished seniors. People often assume that nutritional deficiencies are an inevitable consequence of aging and that intervention doesn’t make much of a difference.

Read on to learn how you can help your loved one get the nutrition they need.

Your Body Needs Nutrients

Malnutrition means that a person’s body is not getting the fuel or nutrients it needs to function properly. The two main parts of malnutrition are

1. Not eating enough
2. Not receiving enough nutrients

Even a person who eats three meals a day still may not be getting proper nutrition. For example, an ounce of almonds gives you 3.5 grams of fibre, 6 grams of protein, 14 grams of fat, 37% of your daily vitamin E, 32% of your daily Manganese, 20% of your daily Magnesium, and a nice amount of copper, vitamin B2 and phosphorus! Compare that to an ounce of popcorn – 2.8 grams of fibre, 2.6 grams of protein, 8 grams of fat, 0.1% of your daily Vitamin A, 0.1% of your daily Vitamin C, 0.3% of your daily Calcium, and 4.4% of your daily Iron. Eating properly means considering both the quantity and quality of the foods you consume.

The Consequences

When a person, and especially an elderly person, does not give their body the nutrition it needs to function, they’ll suffer serious consequences. Malnutrition can cause

● Longer recovery times from wounds and illness
● Reduced muscle and tissue mass
● Decreased mobility and stamina (due to muscle wasting)
● Breathing difficulties
● An increased risk of chest infection and respiratory failure
● Slower immune response (which increases the risk of getting infections, and increases the length of time that it takes to recover from infection)
● Difficulty staying warm, increasing the risk of hypothermia
● Increased hospital admissions
● More visits to the GP

All the above health problems can be avoided, or at least decreased, if your elderly loved one gets proper nutrition.

Causes of Malnutrition in Seniors

Seniors are one of the most at-risk groups for malnutrition due to their aging bodies and changing life circumstances. Your loved one may be malnourished because of

● Difficulty getting food (either due to lack of budget, or problems leaving the house and getting to the store independently).
● Dementia
● Living alone, without social interaction at mealtime
● Medication side-effects that suppress appetite or create bitter tastes
● Restricted diets such as low sodium or low-fat diets
● Depression or lack of interest in cooking
● Trouble swallowing
● Trouble eating (due to sore gums or poor dental health)

How to Spot Senior Malnutrition

Do you suspect your loved one may be suffering from malnutrition? The following signs and symptoms can clue you in, especially if your loved one is hiding their habits from you to save you from worrying.

● Low body weight or (unintentional) weight loss
● Clothes that don’t fit like they used to
● Depression and lack of energy
● Concerns with memory
● Not remembering what or when they last ate
● Frequent illnesses
● Dry, cracked skin and slow healing bruises or wounds
● Old, expired food in the fridge
● Troubles chewing or swallowing
● Muscle weakness
● Falls

13 Ways You Can Help

So you’ve identified that the senior in your care is malnourished or at risk of being malnourished. Here are 13 practical steps you can take to help them get the nutrients they need and be as healthy as possible. (Different solutions will work for different people, so
choose a few that work for you and your loved one!)

1. Prepare meals for them (especially easy to eat and swallow such as soups, yogurt, smoothies, and other soft foods.)
2. Pick up groceries for them or have groceries delivered to their house (and if necessary help put them away).
3. Plan easy-to-make meals with them and make sure they have the necessary ingredients and utensils.
4. Order them a meal delivery program.
5. Make sure they have healthy snacks to eat between meals (prepared fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and proteins).
6. Ask their doctor about removing or substantially modifying their dietary restrictions.
7. Talk to their doctor about nutritional supplements like prepared shakes or drinks.
8. Help them get regular physical activity (this can improve appetite and strengthen their body).
9. Add flavor to meals with spices and herbs to encourage their interest in eating.
10. Arrange a visit with a registered dietitian.
11. Improve protein intake by adding meat, peanut butter, or protein powder to their diet.
12. Ask their doctor about limiting medications that aggravate nutritional problems.
13. Encourage family members, friends, or a caregiver to be present at mealtime (and to assist in the feeding if necessary).

Every Bit Counts

The key in helping seniors get the nutrients they need is identifying what foods and nutrients they need and getting those foods and nutrients to them and into their bodies.

Every bit of improvement in your elderly loved one’s diet has a huge positive impact on their health. It’s never too late to begin implementing solutions and speaking to their practitioner.

Reach Out

Looking for more helpful resources for helping your loved one? Community Home Health Care has a caring, experienced staff of trained in-home caregivers, including personal care aides, registered nurses, and home health aides.

Explore our website and fill out the online form to receive more information about the medical help, personal care, and friendship we provide. You can call (845) 425-6555 with any questions you have, and we’ll be happy to help.

The post Malnutrition in Seniors (How to Spot it + How You Can Help) appeared first on Community Home Health Care.


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