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PTSD develops in approximately 1 in 3 people who go through serious trauma. This can include anything from the death of a loved one, military combat, car accidents, illness or injury, natural disasters, a disease diagnosis or other events that may have significant physical or psychological impact.

Many people experience negative feelings after experiencing a traumatic event. However, when these negative feelings last for a long period of time, cause someone to relive the trauma or have daily impacts, that person could be suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). For seniors, it’s not uncommon for symptoms of PTSD to be a result of traumatic events that happened earlier in their lives or to occur after a major fall, a heart attack or other serious health events.

For seniors with PTSD, symptoms can include flashbacks, depression or anger, fear, self-isolation, outbursts or trouble sleeping. These symptoms can be difficult to identify or mistaken for other age-related conditions.

There are treatment options for seniors experiencing PTSD. It is recommended that anyone experiencing PTSD symptoms consult their physician to establish a plan of treatment to successfully manage symptoms.

  • Lifestyle changes– for some, keeping active and engaged can help manage PTSD symptoms. This can include anything from starting a physician-approved exercise regimen, volunteering, getting involved in community activities, or finding ways to increase mental stimulation.
  • Medicine– there are medications that can help seniors with PTSD. For seniors that are prescribed medication, it’s important to schedule regular check-ins with a physician and to be open about the positive and negative effects of medications.
  • Therapy– individual or group therapy can be a great resource for seniors with PTSD. There are multiple types of therapy, with different goals and methods for each. Cognitive Processing Therapy, Prolonged Exposure therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, and Stress Inoculation are types of therapy specifically created to help with PTSD symptoms. Seniors that are interested in starting therapy should talk to their doctor about the type of program that might work for them.
  • Sharing experiences– talking about the traumatic event that caused the PTSD can also bring relief and foster connections that may be beneficial for a senior’s physical and mental health. This can be a conversation with a friend or joining a support group – it’s important for people to share in an environment where they feel supported and understood. It can be difficult for someone with PTSD to talk about their experiences, but for many this may be a necessary step for managing symptoms.

Comfort Keepers Can Help

Our goal is to provide uplifting in-home care that benefits seniors and their families. The individualized care plans we create for our clients consider physical goals as well as emotional and psychological needs. Our caregivers can provide transportation to community events and appointments, support physician-prescribed exercise regimens, provide companionship and help families stay connected to the Comfort Keepers care team and informed of their loved ones care through use of technology. We strive to elevate the human spirit through quality, compassionate, joyful care.

To learn more about our in-home care services, contact your local Comfort Keepers location today.

References

Mayo Clinic. “Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).” Web. 2018.

Psychiatric Times. “PTSD in Late Life: Special Issues.” Web. 2018.

American Psychiatric Association. “What is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.” Web. 2013

Everyday Health. “When a Health Crisis Leads to PTSD.” Web. 2012.

The post Understanding PTSD in Seniors appeared first on Comfort Keepers.

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Changes to vision and concerns about eye health can happen rapidly for older adults. Seniors should get a vision test done once a year and should always follow a doctor’s recommendations on treatment plans and vision health.

Here are eight strategies for seniors to maintain eye health:

  1. Diet– Eating delicious food is one of the most enjoyable ways seniors can maintain eye health. And, there are a variety of options that provide vitamins and nutrients that help with eye health – kale, carrots, eggs, sweet potatoes, oranges, almonds and salmon are great sources.
  2. Exercise– A physician-recommended exercise plan can not only help with overall health, but has benefits for the eyes too. Increased blood circulation can remove toxins and increase oxygen levels in the eyes.
  3. Avoid eye trauma– Injuries can have a huge impact on long-term eye and vision health and taking precautions can prevent accidental eye trauma. Remembering to wear protective eyewear or goggles when appropriate, using chemicals and sharp objects with caution, and eliminating trip hazards are some of the ways that accidents can be avoided.
  4. Smart computer use– Regular computer use can lead to eye strain and discomfort at any age. However, computer screens can be more harmful to our eyes as we age, and can cause headaches, eye irritation or vision issues like blurriness or seeing double. Seniors that use a computer regularly, particularly those who are in front of a computer for long periods of time, should make sure that their desk has good lighting, take regular breaks and always use corrective eyewear.
  5. Consider other health issues– Older adults can have health issues that affect their vision health, and it’s important to talk to a healthcare professional about how physical conditions and medications can have an impact on the eyes.
  6. Sunglasses– Protective eyewear becomes more important as we age, and it’s important for seniors to build the habit of always wearing sunglasses when they are outside.
  7. Sleep– Sleep has beneficial properties for overall health, wellbeing and quality of life. It’s no surprise that getting a good night’s rest is important for eye health too!
  8. Vision screenings– Changes to vision and eye health can happen rapidly for older adults. Seniors should get a vision test done once a year and should always follow a doctor’s recommendations on treatment plans and health.

Comfort Keepers Can Help

If someone is experiencing changes in their vision, or wants to build healthy habits, the trusted care team at Comfort Keepers®can help. Our caregivers can assist with meal preparation, medication reminders and can support physician-prescribed exercise regimens and diets. Our goal is to see that clients have the means to find the joy and happiness in each day, regardless of age or acuity.

To learn more about our in-home care services, contact your local Comfort Keepers location today.

References

ClearCare. “3 Easy Tips for Seniors to Maintain Healthy Eyes & Improve Vision.” Web. 2016.

American Academy of Ophthalmology. “Tips for Eye Health in Adults Over 60.” Web. 2014.

All About Vision. “Boost your diet to protect aging eyes.” Web. 2019.

Bausch + Lomb. “60+ Eye Health.” Web.

The post 8 Ways to Keep Aging Eyes Healthy appeared first on Comfort Keepers.

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Comfort Keepers Blog by Comfort Keepers - 1M ago

More than one-third of Canadian seniors experience falls, which can have a devastating physical and psychological impact, resulting in disability, chronic pain, loss of independence, reduced quality of life, and even death. Falls are the leading cause of injury for seniors And, falling once doubles someone’s chances of falling again.

Preventing accidents in the home, including falls, is one of the most important planning strategies for helping seniors stay independent. Fractures, head trauma and other injuries can cause long term mobility issues and have lasting physical effects. And, once an injury occurs, it can affect someone’s ability to live the way they want and enjoy the same lifestyle and activities.

Health issues that occur more often as we age can also make seniors more likely to fall. These risk factors include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Heart disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia
  • Malnutrition
  • Low blood pressure
  • Poor vision
  • Ear infections or inflammation
  • Pain or sensitivity in the legs or feet

There are some precautions that seniors and their families can take to reduce the likelihood of a fall.

Evaluating risk factors and taking preventative measures in a way that considers the unique lifestyle, needs and health of a senior can help.

  • Minimize trip hazards– Some fall hazards are obvious; flights of stairs, slippery shower floors or cords that are too far from a wall outlet. But there are less obvious features that can be an issue for someone with dizziness or vision loss. These can include loose rugs, certain types of carpeting, dimly lit hallways or a dog toy in the middle of the floor. Removing the hazard or installing safety devices, like grab bars and brighter light bulbs, can help.
  • Evaluate footwear– Footwear that has an open back, doesn’t fit properly, is worn out or has a slippery bottom can all contribute to tripping or balance problems. There are a variety of safe shoe options to fit any activity and personal style…safe shoes don’t have to be boring!
  • Know the effects of medication– Seniors and their families should talk to a healthcare professional about how a person’s specific medications – both prescription and over-the-counter – can have side effects that cause dizziness or balance issues.
  • Nutrition and exercise– Having healthy habits when it comes to diet and exercise can prevent weakness in the legs and feet, and can reduce pain. Seniors should always talk to their doctor about any diet and exercise plan, and can ask specific questions about how these things affect their fall risk factors.
  • Focus on mental health – Studies show that there is a correlation between depression in seniors and falls. According to one report, “both depression and fear of falling are associated with impairment of gait and balance.” Positive mental wellbeing can improve many areas of a senior’s life, and reduced fall risk is another benefit. Connecting with loved ones, finding a sense of purpose, engaging in enjoyable activities and experiencing joy can improve physical and mental quality of life.

Some families only think about fall prevention after a loved one is hurt. Taking precautions before an accident happens can help seniors maintain their physical health and their independence.

Comfort Keepers Can Help

For every client, our Comfort Keepers team does a thorough home evaluation to minimize hazards in the home – including fall risk evaluation. Our caregivers can help with mobility issues, provide transportation to scheduled appointments, and support physician-prescribed exercise regimens and diets. And, our goal is to elevate the spirits of our clients and their families every day. As part of an individualized care plan, caregivers can also help with activities like cooking, cleaning and physical care. Whether a senior is recovering from a fall or needs help with fall prevention, we can provide services to help.

To learn more about our in-home care services, contact your local Comfort Keepers location today.

References

Canadian Patient Safety Institute. “Falls”. Web, 2019.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Falls Are Serious and Costly.” Web.

Better Health While Aging. “Why Older People Fall & How to Reduce Fall Risk.” Web. 2017.

Mayo Clinic. “Fall Prevention: Simple tips to prevent falls.” Web. 2016.

Canadian Institutes of Health Research. “The Complex Interplay of Depression and Falls in Older Adults: A Clinical Review.” Web. 2016

The post Reducing Fall Risk appeared first on Comfort Keepers.

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Comfort Keepers Blog by Comfort Keepers - 2M ago

One in five adults suffer from arthritis, and the majority of these are seniors. For older adults to understand the stages of living with arthritis, it’s helpful to talk about how the disease is identified, diagnosed and managed.

Arthritis is not a diagnosis – it’s a general term that covers more than 100 diseases and conditions affecting the joints.

Signs and symptoms:

Generally, symptoms of arthritis can include any of the following: joint redness, swelling, pain, stiffness, warmth, or difficulty with movement. Many people are familiar with arthritis of the hands and feet, but they don’t always realize that it can affect any joint in the body. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should visit their physician.

Diagnosis:

When diagnosing arthritis, medical professionals will typically conduct a physical exam, and gather medical history and genetics information to help identify the type of arthritis. Blood tests and imaging may be necessary as well. The type and severity of the arthritis will determine the ongoing treatment plan. While arthritis cannot be cured, it can be managed to limit the impact it has on seniors.

Strategies for arthritis management:

The treating physician can recommend arthritis management strategies and should approve all plans to change or increase physical activity that may impact the condition.

  • Lifestyle changes: Seniors with arthritis may need to stop performing certain activities, or limit them. Depending on the area of the body affected, some hobbies may become more difficult. However, planning ahead can be helpful – for example, having a stool to sit on in the kitchen can help seniors that want to cook but have difficulty standing for long periods of time due to arthritis pain. Some seniors with arthritis get into the habit of using non-affected parts of the body more often. As an example, someone suffering from arthritis pain in their wrist may open doors by using their shoulder or elbow to push.
  • Movement: For some types of arthritis, sitting or working in one position for too long can cause the condition to worsen. Moving, walking and stretching every 15 minutes can be helpful. For some, setting an alarm as a reminder to prompt movement can be helpful.
  • Weight – Maintaining a healthy weight can be helpful in managing arthritis. Excess weight can cause strain on joints, worsening the condition. Anyone concerned about this should consult their physician for exercise and diet recommendations. Physical activity, if possible, can also help reduce arthritis symptoms in many cases.

Education and awareness are critical – seniors that may have arthritis, or have already been diagnosed, should engage their care team to develop management strategies.

Comfort Keepers® Can Help

A care plan for arthritis can minimize the impact of the disease on a senior’s life, and Comfort Keepers can provide support for a management program. Our caregivers remind clients to take medication, provide transportation to scheduled appointments, and support physician-prescribed exercise regimens and diets. As part of an individualized care plan, caregivers can also help with activities like cooking, cleaning and physical care. Our goal is to see that clients have the means to find the joy and happiness in each day, regardless of age or acuity.

To learn more about our in-home care services, contact your local Comfort Keepers location today.

References

Arthritis Foundation. “Understanding Arthritis.” Web.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “5 Proven Ways to Manage Arthritis.” Web. 2019.

Quest Diagnostics. “Helping you focus on patients with arthritis” Web.

Everyday Health. “May is Arthritis Awareness Month – Mark it with the ABCs.” Web. 2018.

The post Living with Arthritis appeared first on Comfort Keepers.

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Comfort Keepers Blog by Comfort Keepers - 2M ago

Stroke is the third largest killer of Canadian adults, after heart disease and cancer. It’s also the primary cause of physical disabilities and is second only to Alzheimer’s disease as a cause of mental disability. While people at any age can be susceptible to suffering from a stroke, nearly three-quarters of strokes occur in people over the age of 65.

Women are disproportionately affected by stroke: 45% more women die of stroke than men in Canada, and because they live longer, more women are living with the effects of stroke

Risk factors for a stroke include high blood pressure, genetics, gender, tobacco use, heart disease, diabetes, weight, age and the use of some medications.

There are three main types of stroke that can occur:

Ischemic stroke – Most strokes fall into this category. In an ischemic stroke, arteries narrow or are blocked, reducing blood flow to the brain.

Hemorrhagic stroke – During a hemorrhagic stroke, a blood vessel leaks or bursts, causing damage.

Transient ischemic attack – Sometimes referred to as “mini-strokes,” this is a condition that is also caused by a narrowing of the arteries, but only causes temporary symptoms.

It’s important to note that medical attention after a stroke is critical, and time is of the essence. Anyone suffering from the symptoms of a stroke should not wait for the effects to go away or get worse. They should call 9-1-1 or visit their physician as soon as possible. Quick treatment can minimize damage and potentially save someone’s life.

Symptoms can include:

  • Trouble speaking
  • Confusion or trouble understanding
  • Paralysis of the face, arms or legs
  • Trouble seeing
  • Headache
  • Trouble walking
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Neck stiffness
  • Dizziness

Comfort Keepers® Can Help

Whether the goal is healthy living to prevent strokes, or recovery after, Comfort Keepers can help. Our caregivers can provide wellness support, remind clients to take medication, provide transportation to scheduled appointments, and support physician-prescribed exercise regimens and diets. As part of an individualized care plan, caregivers can let a senior’s care team know if there are changes in behavior or physical characteristics. Our goal is to see that clients have the means to find the joy and happiness in each day, regardless of age or acuity.

To learn more about our in-home care services, contact your local Comfort Keepers location today.

References

WebMD. “Top Causes of Stroke.” Web. 2017.

Mayo Clinic. “Stoke” Web.2019.

Healthline. “Massive Stroke” Web. 2018.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “Stroke.” Web.

Canada.com.  “Stroke”. Web 2018.

Heart and Stroke Foundation.  “Stroke Report 2019.”  Web. 2019.

The post A Closer Look at Strokes appeared first on Comfort Keepers.

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Seniors suffering from osteoporosis often don’t experience any symptoms of the disease until they get a fracture. According to Osteoporosis Canada, approximately 2 million Canadians have osteoporosis.  Over 80% of all fractures in people 50 plus are caused by osteoporosis.

One in three women and one in five men over 50 will experience osteoporitic fractures.

While bone density naturally decreases with age, starting in the mid 30’s, osteoporosis is a preventable, and treatable, condition.

Prevention strategies for osteoporosis:

  • Diet – Getting the right vitamins and nutrients is critical for seniors that want to prevent osteoporosis. Malnutrition can also contribute to the disease and can be a concern for older adults. A healthcare professional can help seniors evaluate their eating habits and will suggest improvements to keep bones healthy.
  • Activity – Seniors should always consult a physician before starting any new exercise program. Weight bearing exercises, if approved by a doctor, can be particularly helpful in preventing osteoporosis. This can include dancing, weight training, walking or jogging and other activities that get someone up on their feet.
  • Healthy habits– Smoking, or inhaling second hand smoke, can increase risk for osteoporosis. Alcohol consumption can also contribute to low bone density.

For those diagnosed with osteoporosis, or osteopenia (low bone mass), there are treatments available. Physical therapy, medication and lifestyle changes can help seniors maintain healthy bones and can also help prevent falls for those already at risk. Older adults that are concerned that they may have osteoporosis can discuss screening options with their healthcare team.

Comfort Keepers® Can Help

If someone is suffering from osteoporosis, the trusted care team at Comfort Keepers® can help. Our caregivers can assist with meal preparation, medication reminders and can support physician-prescribed exercise regimens and diets. Our goal is to see that clients have the means to find the joy and happiness in each day, regardless of age or acuity.

To learn more about our in-home care services, contact your local Comfort Keepers location today.

References

International Osteoporosis Foundation. “Preventing Osteoporosis.” Web.

National Institute on Aging. “Osteoporosis” Web.2017.

Womenshealth.gov. “How can I prevent Osteoporosis” Web. 2016.

Osteoporosis Canada.  “Fast Facts”.  Web. 2018.

The post Risk Factors for Osteoporosis appeared first on Comfort Keepers.

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Many of us enjoy having a cocktail with friends or drinking a glass of wine with dinner. For seniors, with a doctor’s approval, this doesn’t have to change. However, it’s important to be aware of the ways that alcohol can physically affect older adults, and how the signs of alcohol abuse look different for seniors that suffer from the negative effects.

10-15% of people don’t start to drink heavily until they are older in age

As we age:

  • How we process alcohol changes – Slower metabolism can cause alcohol to stay in the body for longer periods of time. Also, having less muscle mass means alcohol stays in the blood for a longer period, prolonging the effects.
  • Being intoxicated feels different – Seniors have a lower tolerance to the effects of alcohol. Intoxication typically happens more swiftly and lasts longer than in someone younger.
  • Older adults are more likely to have other conditions made worse with alcohol consumption – Health conditions more common in seniors can be made worse with alcohol use. Seniors are also more likely to be using medications that should not be mixed with alcohol.

Some seniors may discuss their personal situation with their physician, and find they are able to consume alcohol without any health issues. However, those that may have a problem with alcohol can exhibit the following signs and symptoms:

  • Feeling ill-tempered when not drinking
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Sustaining injuries while intoxicated
  • Drinking to fight depression or anxiety
  • Loss of appetite
  • Developing social or financial problems related to drinking
  • Lying about drinking habits
  • Poor hygiene
  • Drinking against the advice of their physician or healthcare provider

There are many programs in place that can help seniors that are abusing alcohol, and research shows that programs are more effective when they are targeted to people in this age group. If you think someone may have a drinking problem, encourage them to reach out for help.

Comfort Keepers® Can Help

It’s hard to stay connected to loved ones that live far away, and the trusted care team at Comfort Keepers can help. Our caregivers can provide companionship and wellness support, remind clients to take medication, provide transportation to scheduled appointments, and support physician-prescribed exercise regimens and diets. As part of an individualized care plan, caregivers can let a senior’s care team know if there are changes in behavior or physical characteristics. Our goal is to see that clients have the means to find the joy and happiness in each day, regardless of age or acuity.

To learn more about our in-home care services, contact your local Comfort Keepers location today.

References

Aging.com. “Alcohol Abuse Amongst the Elderly: A Complete Guide.” Web. 2018.

National Institute on Aging. “Facts about Aging and Alcohol” Web.2017.

U.S. News and World Report. “The Do’s and Don’ts of Alcohol Intervention for Seniors” Web. 2018.

The post Signs of Alcohol Abuse in Seniors appeared first on Comfort Keepers.

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Oral cancer screening is an important test for older adults. Estimates show that more than 5,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year, and seniors are more at risk.

65% of those diagnosed with oral cancer will live past five years. That jumps to 85% with early diagnosis and treatment.

Seniors may have questions about oral cancer screenings because they are experiencing symptoms or because the test is suggested by a health care provider. Below are some common questions and answers for anyone that would like more information on the disease and the screening process.

What is oral cancer?

Oral cancer can refer to cancers occurring in the oral cavity (floor and roof of the mouth, teeth, gums, lips and cheeks, and the front of the tongue) as well as those occurring in the middle region of the throat and the back of the mouth.

Are there early signs of oral cancer?

If you experience any of the following symptoms or any noticeable changes to your mouth or teeth, have a dentist or physician complete a screening.

  • Soreness
  • Irritation that lasts for a long period of time
  • Difficulty moving your mouth or jaw
  • A lump or a thick patch of skin that doesn’t go away
  • Tenderness or numbness
  • Trouble swallowing or chewing

What does an oral cancer screening look like?

A typical screening will take less than 10 minutes and will involve a doctor or dentist looking at and feeling various parts of the mouth and jaw. Typically, the signs of oral cancer can be seen. If a health professional feels that a more thorough screening is required, they can ask the patient to rinse their mouth with dye to better highlight any potential patches, lumps or anomalies. A biopsy may be necessary if the doctor or dentist feels that there are cancerous cells that need to be tested.

What are treatment options for oral cancer?

Surgery, radiation treatment, chemotherapy, and medication can all be part of a treatment plan for oral cancer.

If someone suspects they may have oral cancer, or mentions any of the symptoms listed above, encourage them to visit their healthcare professional to schedule a screening.

Comfort Keepers® Can Help

Oral health becomes more important as we get older, and the trusted care team at Comfort Keepers can help with scheduling and providing transportation for dentist appointments. Our caregivers can remind clients to take medication and support physician-prescribed exercise regimens and diets. Above all, our goal is to see that clients have the means to find the joy and happiness in each day, regardless of age or acuity.

To learn more about our in-home care services, contact your local Comfort Keepers location today.

References

Mayo Clinic. “Oral Cancer Screening.” Web. 2018.

WebMD. “How Your Dentist Helps Spot Oral Cancer.” Web.

Oral Cancer Foundation. “Health Promotion in Oral Cancer Prevention and Early Detection.” Web.

Cancer.net. “Oral and Oropharyngeal Cancer.” Web. 2017

Canadian Cancer Statistics 2013. Toronto: Canadian Cancer Society.

The post Raising Awareness about Oral Cancer Screening appeared first on Comfort Keepers.

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No matter what age we are, living a life of purpose, connection and joy is critical for our physical and mental wellbeing. For older adults, a variety of obstacles like vision loss, social isolation, mobility problems and memory issues can make enjoying life more difficult.

Late-life depression affects about 15% of Canadians age 65 and older.

Why is it important for seniors to focus on their mental health?

  • Socially isolated seniors have a 59% greater risk of mental and physical decline than those who do not experience social isolation (Forbes).
  • The health effects of social isolation and loneliness on seniors is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes per day (AARP.org).
  • Depression in the elderly is associated with increased risk of cardiac diseases and risk of death from illness (WebMD).

For older adults that want to improve their quality of life through enhanced mental health, there are a few things they can do to kick off their healthy habits.

  • Exercise – Seniors should always consult with a physician before starting any physical activity or fitness program. Seniors that are able, and approved, to exercise may see increased physical and mental wellness. Exercise has been proven to have a positive effect on the brain.
  • Connection – At any age, many people find joy in spending time with family and friends. Social isolation can be a problem for seniors that have mobility issues or aren’t able to drive, or who have loved ones that live far away. However, there are services that can help overcome these issues, including transportation help, in-home care assistance, technology that fosters connection and other outside sources of help.
  • Volunteering – Sharing time and talents doing volunteer work can bring a sense or purpose and fulfillment. Many organizations have programs and volunteer opportunities specifically geared to older adults.
  • Spending time on joyful activities – Everyone has a different interest or hobby that brings joy, whether that’s music, art, dance, gardening or games. Seniors should try to spend time doing something that brings them happiness on a daily basis to improve their quality of life.

Comfort Keepers® Can Help

Our goal is to provide uplifting in-home care that benefits seniors and their families. The individualized care plans we create for our clients consider physical goals as well as non-physical mental health needs. Our caregivers can provide transportation to community events, support physician-prescribed exercise regimens, provide companionship and help families stay connected through technology. We strive to elevate the human spirit through quality, compassionate, joyful care.

To learn more about our in-home care services, contact your local Comfort Keepers location today.

References

Science Daily/McMaster University. “Working it Out: Researchers find exercise may help fight depression in seniors.” Web. 2019.

WebMD. “Depression in the Elderly.” Web.

Healthline. “Geriatric Depression (Depression in Older Adults).” Web.

Mood Disorders Association of Ontario.  “Frequently Asked Questions – Seniors and Depression.”  Web.

The post How Seniors can Enhance Mental Health appeared first on Comfort Keepers.

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Many things change as we get older. Something that we don’t necessarily expect to change is how we sleep. In fact, 46% of adults 65 and older have trouble falling asleep on a regular basis.

Insomnia is the most common sleep problem in adults age 60 and older.

Studies show that older adults can have less deep sleep, inconsistent sleep cycles and negative health effects if they don’t get a full night of rest. Why is sleep so important?

  • Bad sleep affects mood – Not getting a full night of sleep can cause irritability, stress, problems paying attention, and mood swings. Long-term sleep deprivation can lead to cognitive issues and depression.
  • When seniors don’t sleep, their bodies suffer – Headaches, body aches and weakness can all be attributed to lack of sleep.
  • Bad sleep can affect weight– According to Health Magazine, researchers at the University of Chicago found that dieters who weren’t well rested lost more muscle mass.
  • Being tired can make a person sick – When tired, an older adult’s immune system doesn’t perform as well, opening the door to illness and infection. Some studies have shown that lack of sleep can lead to heart problems, diabetes and it has even been associated with an increase in risk of breast cancer.

Seniors that are having a hard time sleeping can get help from their doctor. However, there are a few things they can try at home to help ensure a restful night’s sleep:

  • Having a sleep schedule – going to bed at the same time every night, and getting up at the same time every morning, helps a person adjust to a natural sleep rhythm.
  • Getting seven to nine hours of sleep per night – everyone requires a different amount of sleep to feel rested. However, between seven and nine hours is recommended for most adults.
  • Being mindful about eating habits – Alcohol, spicy foods, caffeine and a diet high in sugar can all cause sleep issues. Eating and drinking close to bedtime can also be a problem for some – rather than having a full meal before bed, it’s better to have a light snack or warm milk.
  • Creating an individualized sleep plan – Changing nighttime routines, and daily activities, can have an impact on sleep. It’s important for people to find out what works for them and create a schedule that they stick to – consistency is key! Some people find that more physical activity during the day helps them sleep better. Others find that napping during the day makes it harder to sleep at night, while some aren’t affected. Meditation before bed, a warm bath or reading time at night can all be part of a sleep plan, if they help.

Comfort Keepers® Can Help

For seniors that want to change their daily routine and create a schedule for better sleep, the quality caregivers with Comfort Keepers can help. They can assist with scheduling and routine, increased activity during the day, physician-prescribed exercise and diet plans and can provide transportation to scheduled appointments. Better sleep leads to more happiness during the day, and our goal is to help every client live a joyful life, regardless of age or acuity.

To learn more about our in-home care services, contact your local Comfort Keepers location today.

References

Washington Post. “Sleep patterns can change with aging. Does that mean health troubles ahead?” Web. 2019.

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. “Get Enough Sleep.” Web.

Health Magazine. “11 Surprising Health Benefits of Sleep.” Web. 2018.

The post The Need for Sleep: How Sleep Impacts Daily Life appeared first on Comfort Keepers.

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