When a loved one is struggling to carry out an activity, our first instinct, with all the best of intentions, is generally to step in and take care of it ourselves. But is this really helping your loved one – or could it be hindering?
The stark reality is, there is a fine line between guaranteeing an older adult’s wellbeing and depriving the senior of independence. In fact, a person’s self-worth and purpose are important to health and wellbeing.
Dr. Barry J. Jacobs, clinical psychologist, family therapist, and healthcare consultant who co-authored the book AARP Meditations for Caregivers, shares from his own experience with caring for his mom: “With all my best intentions and concerted energies, I mostly succeeded in curbing her independence and squelching her spirit. She didn’t see me as her caring son so much as the overbearing usurper of roles she cherished.”
The following tips help family caregivers better understand the best time to intervene – and when to step back:
Employ patience. Plan your day to allow for enough time for the senior loved one to work through activities at a pace that’s most comfortable. When we’re hurried and harried, we are very likely to move in and take over. Just a little extra time can certainly make a huge difference in increasing the person’s confidence level.
Stress the positives. While it’s correct that particular activities might have become too tough to manage independently, uncover work-around methods that ensure the individual can continue to be involved in the activity based on the person’s individual strengths. If loading clothes into and out of the washer and dryer is difficult, the individual might still be capable of sorting and folding clothes.
Encourage input. Have an honest, open, heart-to-heart discussion with your loved one to make clear his or her expectations about your role in providing care support. Is the senior loved one troubled with relinquishing specific areas of everyday life? What are the most pressing needs? Companionship as well as other emotional care? Physical assistance with ambulation, bathing, and getting dressed? Keeping up the home and yard? Come together to devise a strategy in order to meet these needs in a fashion that is acceptable to both yourself and the senior.
It’s also a smart idea to explore the concept of enlisting the aid of a competent in-home senior care provider, such as Enhanced Home Care. Frequently, family caregivers become overloaded with taking care of housework, meal preparation, running errands, transportation, and personal care needs, leaving too little time to simply appreciate spending quality time with the senior they love.
During this month of celebrating Dad, now is the right time to make a plan to help guarantee the men in our lives stay healthy and active. Along with Father’s Day, June is likewise designated as Men’s Health Month – something we should all pay attention to, as men are more unlikely than women to go to the physician, in spite of a decreased life expectancy and a higher propensity for a staggering 14 out of 15 of the leading causes of death.
Editor in Chief of the American Journal of Men’s Health, Demetrius Porche, DNS, RN, sums it up: “Men put their health last. Most men’s thinking is, if they can live up to their roles in society, then they’re healthy.”
Encourage the senior men in your life to choose a proactive stance to healthcare to help reduce their danger of being diagnosed with these key men’s health risks:
Coronary disease. Followed closely by stroke, heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, and American men are at an especially heightened risk. Precautionary measures to take consist of checking (and managing) cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and implementing healthy diet and lifestyle choices which can include eating lots of vegetables and fruits, exercising, and stopping smoking.
Prostate cancer. As many as 200,000 men are expected to be told they have prostate cancer this year alone. Men should talk to their doctors for a recommendation on prostate cancer tests.
Diabetes. Diabetes is a particular issue for men, as it frequently starts without presenting any symptoms before advancing to an unhealthy level, which can lead to stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, blindness and amputations. Research indicates that men who regularly work out a minimum of 30 minutes a day can reduce the risk of developing diabetes by 50 percent.
Lung cancer. As many as 90% of lung cancer cases stem from smoking; so the good news is, non-smoking men are at a distinct advantage in preventing the disease. If your loved one smokes, encourage him to talk with the doctor for help with stopping.
Depression. Men are just as likely to be impacted by depression as women, yet are more inclined to brush their feelings under the rug than to explore help. However, it is important to understand that depression is a treatable issue – and left untreated, may bring about suicidal thoughts. Even though women are more likely to attempt suicide, men are more likely to carry out an attempt to completion.
People call it “running” errands for a reason – we commonly want to get through them as fast as possible! Nonetheless, when it comes to picking up prescription medications, slowing down and taking extra time to speak with the pharmacist, versus hurrying through the drive-through, is important – especially for senior loved ones who tend to take a variety of meds.
The following list of questions to ask the pharmacist is an easy place to begin to make certain you and the senior you’re caring for are equipped with the info you need:
What, when and how: Above all, obtain clarification about the basics, although the most significant details are normally written on the label or accompanying paperwork. What is the proper dose? Is there a precise time of day the medication must be taken? Is it taken with food, water, milk, on an empty stomach, etc.?
When errors arise: If too much or too little of the medication is taken, or if a dose is skipped, what steps ought to be taken? How about if a senior forgets having taken the prescription and takes a duplicate quantity?
Side effects: Once again, this info ought to be printed out for you; however, the pharmacist can provide a beneficial overview of the most typical side effects to look out for, and how to proceed if any side effects or an allergic reaction occurs.
What to avoid: Certain medications interact adversely with others, and on occasion even with various types of food. Others can result in drowsiness or dizziness, making it dangerous to drive or operate machinery and increasing the risk of a fall.
Time period: Will this med need to be taken continuously, or is it short-term? If long-term, how many refills are part of the prescription? And is there a shelf life/expiration date? What will happen if the medication is taken beyond this date?
Lastly, be sure to ask for a review of all prescriptions the senior is taking to check for any contraindications between meds. This is particularly important for older adults acquiring prescriptions from a number of physicians and specialists. Ask the pharmacist if there is any duplication in the senior’s list of meds to prevent overmedication. It may possibly be that one doctor has prescribed a generic type of a medication, while another wrote the prescription for the drug’s brand name.
Enhanced Home Care will help with effective medication management, making certain that older adults continue to be both informed in regards to the medications they are taking, and compliant in taking them just as prescribed. We are available to pick up prescriptions, provide transportation and accompaniment to the pharmacy to permit non-driving older adults to speak to the pharmacist, remind seniors at the appropriate time to take meds, and more.
“Take 2 hours after eating. Avoid exposure to sunlight while taking this medication.”
“Take on an empty stomach. Do not take with aspirin.”
“Take twice per day with food and a full glass of water. May cause excessive drowsiness.”
Picture attempting to properly manage multiple medications, from various physicians, taken at numerous times daily, with assorted as well as perhaps even contradictory guidelines. Welcome to the daily routine a number of aging parents, 36% of whom take up to 5 or more prescription drugs at the same time.
Medicine mismanagement for older adults is typical, and it can lead to dire outcomes, making it essential to establish a plan to make sure aging parents remain safe and compliant with doctors’ prescribed medication regimens. These guidelines, from the Kansas City senior care team at Enhanced Home Care, are a great place to start:
Store medicines in one safe, central location. Collect all medications a senior loved one takes on a day-to-day basis, both over-the-counter and doctor-prescribed, and put together in a sturdy container. Usually, the bathroom medicine cabinet is not an ideal storage spot, because the humidity and warmth could affect certain medications. If a particular medicine is required to be refrigerated, keep an empty bottle as a placeholder in the bin to act as a reminder. Store the bin in a cool, dry place, safely out of reach of young children and pets.
Put together an inventory of all of the medications being taken. Make certain to include in your log each medication’s name, how frequently and what amounts are prescribed, the name of the prescribing doctor, plus the reason for taking the med. When finalized, share the list with the older adult’s primary care doctor or pharmacist for an evaluation to make sure that there are no undesirable contraindications. Set a note in your phone or calendar to analyze and edit the list on a regular basis.
Make use of a pill organizer. Pill organizers are very helpful in ensuring meds are taken accurately. At the beginning of each week, sort and put correct doses of every medication into the appropriate day/time box; and then go back and double check to make certain everything is in order.
Examine instructions. It is very important to be familiar with exactly how each medication must be taken (such as with or without food, whether or not the pill could be broken or crushed, etc.), and what potential side effects may be expected. If any instructions are unclear, talk with the prescribing physician right away for explanation. Compile these details into one succinct report and evaluate/update on a frequent schedule.
Is there anything greater following a very long, cold winter than finally being able to open up the windows and allowing the fresh, warm, springtime breezes to blow throughout the house? Something in the sights, aromas, and sounds of nature gives us a powerful pick-me-up, which explains why it’s so important for older adults to get the chance to take pleasure in the outside as often as possible.
Of distinct benefit to seniors are environments which are green and “blue” (those that encompass still or running water). According to Jessica Finlay, a doctoral candidate in geography and gerontology at the University of Minnesota and head researcher in a current study of 65 – 86-year-olds, “We discovered how a relatively mundane experience, such as hearing the sound of water or a bee buzzing among flowers, can have a tremendous impact on overall health. Accessibility to everyday green and blue spaces encourages seniors to simply get out the door. This in turn motivates them to be active physically, spiritually, and socially, which can offset illness, disability, and isolation.”
To experience the health advantages from being outside, experiment with the examples listed below, making sure that senior loved ones have the ability to make use of investigating and engaging in the natural world that surrounds them:
Invite your loved one to outings at neighborhood parks, specifically those that also include a body of water, even if it is only a small koi pond or water fountain.
Help the older adult create and maintain a container garden of whatever is interesting – a favorite kind of flower, a number of easy-to-grow vegetables, or perhaps even a small bonsai tree.
For those with dementia, incorporate opportunities for sensory stimulation making use of natural elements including sand, potting soil, grass, leaves, water, etc. Simply prepare pots of various materials on a picnic table outdoors and let the senior explore.
Visit a playground to allow for the added joy of listening to children’s laughter mingled with the songs of birds and rustling leaves.
Construct a specific area on the front porch or in a shaded part of the yard with comfy seating, and make it a daily ritual, when weather permits, to sit and enjoy discussions, read books, and take pleasure in some seasonal fresh fruit or a picnic lunch together.
Contact Enhanced Home Care, the Kansas City senior care experts, to get more senior-friendly tips for experiencing nature, or even for a companion to supply transportation and accompaniment to fun outdoor activities and gatherings. Our individualized care services ensure that seniors maintain the best possible well-being at all times, relieving loneliness and isolation and offering the confidence needed to stay active and engaged.
It’s a typical misconception that aging equates to limited mobility and flexibility. Although it’s true that health conditions including osteoarthritis impact numerous seniors, it’s equally true that there are hands-on steps which can be taken to establish optimum strength and stamina through your later years.
The best approach to enhance mobility and flexibility is to incorporate simple and easy stretching exercises into the daily routine. Stretching leads to better posture and movement of joints, together with diminished muscle soreness and stress. It can also help lower the threat of falls and other accidental injuries, and boosts circulation, balance, coordination and muscle control.
Always remember to check with the senior’s health care provider prior to beginning any new exercise plan, including stretching. Along with his or her consent, the following are wonderful stretches for the elderly:
Gradually bring down the chin towards the chest area, and rotate your head to one side for a count of 15; then repeat with the other side.
Clutching a towel in one hand, lift the arm straight up and drape the towel behind your back; then grab the bottom end of the towel with your other hand and stretch downward, holding for a count of 30.
Lift both arms straight to your sides, with palms facing forward; slowly reach the arms straight back until a stretching sensation is felt, and hold for a count of 30.
From a seated position, lift one foot up and move slowly from one side to the other. Repeat utilizing the other foot.
While lying on your back, raise one leg, grab onto the back of the thigh, and carefully draw it towards you as the other leg and hip stay on the ground. Try not to pull on the knee. Do it again with the other leg.
Lay on one side and bend the top leg so your foot is behind you. Grab the foot and pull in the direction of the body until a stretching sensation is felt. Hold for a count of 30 and repeat with the other leg.
While lying on your back, move both legs and place feet together and flat on the floor. With knees together, slowly and gradually lower both legs to one side, moving the torso until a stretching sensation is felt. Hold for a count of 30 and repeat on the other side.
Remember to keep the following under consideration when undertaking these stretching exercises:
Inhale deeply and exhale slowly throughout the stretch.
Use slow, measured movements.
Never stretch to the point of encountering pain.
Warm the muscles up before stretching with just a few minutes of physical movement, such as walking.
Did you know for every pound of weight we lose, we reduce four pounds of pressure from our knees, and as many as six pounds from our hips? This is certainly great motivation for everybody to continue to stay active, regardless of age! In particular for older adults, however, who are susceptible to joint pain from arthritis along with other conditions of aging, introducing a workout program to the day to day routine might make a large difference in decreasing discomfort.
Start with a warm-up. Just before exercising, the individual should always start with gradual bending and stretching moves, such as reaching up overhead, bending down and touching the toes (or as close as possible without causing pain), side bends, and moving the arms in slow, wide circles.
Swim a lap or two. Swimming is a fantastic low-impact aerobic fitness exercise, and simply being in the water is extremely relaxing for both the mind and the body. Locate a senior swim class, or simply join your loved one in swimming a few laps at his / her own pace.
Get in some resistance training. Weight lifting can be accomplished any time and any place and at nearly any level of fitness. Resistance bands, hand weights or even bottles of water are perfect for building upper body strength. The individual should start off light and steadily build up to an elevated difficulty level – again, with guidelines from the doctor.
Take a hike. There is nothing quite as stimulating and energizing as going on a walk outdoors, when weather allows. Walking through the neighborhood provides the extra benefit of socializing with friends along the way; or find a wooded trail to enjoy the quiet beauty of nature.
Try something new. Check with the local senior center or gym to find a course the senior might like to try, such as yoga or tai chi. Sign up for the class together and get the extra advantage of establishing some fun new memories with the senior!
At Enhanced Home Care, the leader in home health in Kansas City, it’s always our desire to help seniors enjoy life to the fullest, as well as to continue to stay as active and engaged as possible – boosting both physical and emotional wellbeing. We’re always readily available to supply senior transportation and accompaniment to workout classes or just about any other activities of interest in Kansas City and the surrounding area. or call us at 913-327-0000 to make the first step in helping your loved one realize a healthier and happier quality of life!
They’re often called “the golden years” for good reason; aging implants in us information from lessons learned during a lifetime, as well as the possibility to relax from the stressful pace of young adulthood and take the time to truly enjoy what matters most.
Still, for many reasons, our senior years may also be a time of added stress. Health problems can escalate in our older years. There’s often a higher chance of grief from loss of friends and family as they age, bringing along with it a reminder of our own mortality. Economic obstacles might also be an issue.
Determining how to relieve stress for seniors can be a challenge. The first step is identifying senior stress, which can present as:
Loss of interest in previously loved activities
A change in eating and sleeping habits
Increased impatience, aggravation, or anxiety
Weight gain or loss
Additionally, the senior may verbalize thoughts of being weighed down or stressed by a specific aspect of life.
Step one in figuring out how to relieve stress for a senior more effectively should be making an appointment with the physician to eliminate any physical factors for these issues. The physician may also want to suggest medication, even if just temporarily, to help the senior feel more relaxed.
Try these other stress-reduction guidelines to enhance a senior’s mindset:
Help someone else. Nothing makes us feel more positive than knowing we’re making a significant difference within the life of an individual in need. Persuade your loved one to find a volunteer opportunity linked to a certain interest, such as helping the homeless, animals at a pet shelter, victims of abuse, etc.
Get up and get moving. Exercise is worthwhile for our mind and mood as well as for our physical wellbeing. Accompany your loved one to the gymnasium, the neighborhood pool, or on a daily walk through the neighborhood.
Plan an event. Having something enjoyable to look forward to is a great pick-me-up. Brainstorm ideas of things your loved one has always wished to do, and do something to make at least one of those a real possibility.
Talk (or write) it out. Identify if your loved one might be willing to talk with a professional counselor to work through stress; if not, journaling can be helpful in putting words to emotions and supplying the chance for self-expression and also the venting of built-up stress.
Partner with Enhanced Home Care.Enhanced Home Care is always readily available to help you with how to relieve stress for seniors in many ways – from pleasant companionship to allow the senior the opportunity for increased socialization and engagement in enjoyable activities, to help with housework and meal planning, errand-running, transportation, and more.
Get in touch with Enhanced Home Care, the leader in Olathe home health, at 913-327-0000 to arrange an in-home assessment and learn more about how we can help reduce senior stress and restore a sense of joy and well-being for your loved one!
As we grow older, skin changes are normal. Our skin becomes thinner and drier, may develop wrinkles, creases, and age spots, and bruises easier. Yet a little extra TLC for senior skin can go a long way towards keeping it more radiant and healthy. Try these tips from the aging care professionals at Enhanced Home Care:
Alter the bathing routine. Trading in long, hot baths for a 10-minute shower or warm-water bath and switching from bar soap to a more gentle cleanser, are great starting points in taking care of aging skin. Encouraging older adults to switch from showering or bathing every day to every other day for will provide additional skin protection. Older adults should follow up with a fragrance-free moisturizer, but stay clear of bath oils, which could raise the danger of a fall.
Safeguard from the sun’s rays when outside. Springtime is an excellent chance to enjoy the great outdoors together with a senior loved one, but be sure to encourage the use of sunscreen (at least SPF 30), look for the shade, and provide a hat with a brim for additional defense from the sun’s rays.
Boost humidity when inside. Dry air, naturally, causes dry skin. When heating or air conditioning are operating in an older adult’s home, use a humidifier as well. Check humidity levels with a hydrometer (available at your neighborhood hardware or home improvement store), and strive for a reading of somewhere within 45 and 60%.
Safeguard working hands. If a senior loved one enjoys assisting with household chores or gardening, make sure he/she wears gloves to protect his/her hands against any harsh chemicals that can aggravate or hurt the skin.
Check for skin cancer. Make certain that a senior loved one visits the dermatologist at least yearly to be checked for skin cancer, as the risk increases as we grow older. In between visits, check for any spots or moles on the skin regularly, and inform the dermatologist of any changes in color, size, or shape to existing spots or moles. The doctor can also help develop an approach to deal with various other skin conditions the senior is experiencing. To locate a dermatologist locally, search the American Academy of Dermatology’s database.
with the specialists in senior care at Enhanced Home Care by calling 913-327-0000 any time to let us know how we can assist you. We offer top-rated dementia care in Kansas City and the surrounding areas, designed to help your loved one age safely in the comfort of home.
Our feet will transport us close to 110,000 miles during our lifetime – that’s 216,262,500 steps! It’s truly no surprise that as we grow older, our feet can start to have a range of problems. Some of the more common foot conditions for older adults include:
Arthritis: Osteoarthritis affects various joints in the body, and the feet are not an exception. Women can be more likely to be diagnosed with arthritis as they age – 16% of senior women compared to 10% of senior men. Other risk factors consist of former injury to the foot or ankle, obesity, bunions, and hammertoe.
Gout: A specific form of arthritis, gout is an autoimmune disease which can cause terrible discomfort because of built-up uric acid crystals surrounding a joint, usually presenting first within the big toe.
Dry Skin: Left untreated, dry skin on the feet may bring about discomfort when walking, and enable bacteria to be introduced, generating the possibility for an infection in the feet. Using moisturizer on the feet regularly as a preventative measure before skin becomes cracked often helps.
Flat Feet: Arising from stretched ligaments that may occur in aging, this condition causes discomfort and inflammation within the arch of the foot and inner ankle, and frequently in the lower back, hip and knee as well. Flat feet could cause a senior to have balance and stability problems and increase the possibility of sprains to the feet and ankles.
Seborrheic Keratosis: Sometimes known as stucco keratosis, this condition will cause lesions to show up on the tops of the ankles, feet, and/or toes which can be incorrectly identified as warts. Although not painful, these lesions can lead to itching and irritation, especially when shoes are worn.
Toenail Changes: As we age, toenails thicken and become more brittle, which causes them to be more difficult to clip. Nails can likewise change in color and develop ridges and cracks.
Circulation: Edema (built-up fluids), medication side effects, diabetes, along with other circumstances can cause circulation problems for older adults. Swelling, numbness and tingling in the feet and legs are common indications of circulatory issues.
Shortened Achilles Tendon: The Achilles (and other tendons) can lose water in the aging process, which may shorten them and make them far less flexible, more susceptible to tears or ruptures and bring about a more flatfooted gait.
Any changes in the feet should be brought to the attention of the older adult’s primary care physician. Setting up routine appointments for your senior loved one with a podiatrist, who’s able to provide nail care and maintain a close watch for any potential concerns, is also a good idea.
Enhanced Home Care can assist in many ways to ensure older adults’ feet are as healthy as possible, such as:
Transport to medical appointments
Ensuring appropriate nutrition and hydration for seniors