There are many benefits to living in Florida, especially during the senior years. While everyday weather conditions can make senior life a healthy, enjoyable experience, hurricane season can present special problems and concerns. Fortunately, there are steps seniors can take to stay safe during major storms.
You Can Learn From The Past
Florida has been affected by 79 cyclones during the 21st century. Subtropical Storm Alberto was the most recent storm, occurring in May, 2018. Its effects to Florida included 45 mph winds.
Hurricane Irma, occurring in 2017, resulted in a state of emergency being declared by Governor Rick Scott. State offices and schools were closed, and hundreds of shelters were opened throughout the state. Approximately 6.5 million people evacuated, and thousands of National Guard troops were placed on duty. With 112 mph winds and significant flooding, much of the state was without electricity. There were at least 84 deaths in Florida from Hurricane Irma.
While hurricane season officially lasts from June 1st to November 30th, this is not a guarantee that major storms cannot occur at other times of the year. Every senior, their families, and their caregivers can take sensible precautions for safety, even during the off-season months.
Prepare For Evacuation
At its worst, you may need to leave your home for the sake of your safety and your life. When a storm is approaching, always stay tuned to your local news and weather reports. A battery-operated radio is ideal because a sudden power outage can affect your television and computers. Find your home address on both the FEMA flood map and your county’s evacuation zone.
Have a plan for what to do if your home address is within these zones. Do not wait for a storm before making solid plans to evacuate. It is better if you do not try to evacuate alone. If you do not have a trustworthy relative or neighbor nearby, make preparations well in advance by contacting either the Florida Special Needs Registry or Florida’s Department of Elder Affairs. You can receive emergency assistance if your name is on one of these lists.
Protect Your Home
Personal safety is not the only issue related to hurricanes and other storms. You also want to protect your home. Even if you must leave home until the danger is over, you want a home to return to after the storm.
You can protect your home and your valuable possessions with flood insurance. It is an important investment for the senior citizen who lives in Florida. Insurance can help you rebuild your home after it has been damaged.
Preparation For Emergency Situations
Photo by Anh Nguyen on Unsplash
While you should always cooperate with the authorities if you are advised to evacuate, you may not be required to leave your home during every storm. Emergency supplies can help an elderly person stay safe in his own home if he does not need to leave. Advance preparation is the key to safety.
There are steps you can take to keep your home safe. One example is to consider the likelihood of a power outage. Even during a minor storm, you may be without power for an extended period of time. One of the most useful investments you can make is a portable home generator. With a generator, perishable food will stay fresh in your refrigerator or freezer, and it is the safest way to have light in your home during a power outage. You will not need to rely on flashlights, candles, or kerosene lamps during the nighttime. A generator can help you avoid accidents.
A second example is to secure objects throughout your home. High winds can cause damage, but you can also be injured if objects fall on you. Consider freestanding cabinets and bookcases, and objects that hang from the wall or ceiling. All of these objects should be tightly secured so they do not jar loose and fall when high winds hit your home.
What Do You Need During Hurricane Season?
When you think of preparation, there is a wide variety of supplies you should have in your home for your health, safety, and comfort. They should be stored in containers that cannot be damaged, in an area that is easy to access. Choose a dry, cool place to store your supplies. You can also consider an extra set of some supplies for your car, in case you need to leave home quickly.
Store important documents in a waterproof container. Some examples include your birth certificate, social security card, healthcare directives, insurance policies, and phone numbers for your doctors and family members.
You can buy a ready-made first aid kit, but there are other health supplies that you may need. It is recommended a senior citizen have a two-week supply of prescription medications, as well as medical supplies and over the counter products. Examples include anti-diarrhea medication and aspirin. If you are unsure of how to obtain extra prescription medications, talk to your personal physician.
If you can stay in your home during storms, you will need plenty of fresh water and non-perishable food. More than one gallon of water each day is recommended. Make sure the water is in unbreakable containers. As you may not be able to use your stove or microwave, choose foods that require little to no preparation. The foods should have a long shelf-life, and the containers should resist damage. As an example, you can find many tasty, nutritious products in the form of MRE. Meals Ready to Eat include snacks and beverages, too.
Cleanliness is important for health and comfort. In addition to extra water for cleaning and personal grooming, pack a supply of moist towelettes. Have garbage bags that tie so you have a sanitary way to dispose of trash and litter.
Sleeping bags or extra blankets can be kept in your home and car. Plastic utensils and paper plates and cups are easier to manage than your usual household items in emergency situations. You should also have a supply of matches, a working fire extinguisher, flashlights and fresh batteries, a manual can opener, extra cash, and a duffel bag with at least one full set of clothing, rain gear, and sturdy shoes.
If you have a pet, prepare for his needs, too. Depending on the type of pet you have, this may include extra water, pet food, and various other supplies.
If you are secure in your home during storms, do not attempt to venture outdoors. As you do not want to encounter wind or a flood outdoors, consider entertainment supplies when you are making preparations. Books, magazines, paper, pencils, and booklets of puzzles are some ideas for staying busy when you are home alone during a storm.
Connections For Safety And Peace Of Mind
Elderly persons who live alone can be especially vulnerable during storms and other emergency situations. Do not wait until a storm is on its way to create a support network. Your cell phone is one of the most important devices during storms, but it is only useful if people can be contacted.
Choose people you know you can count on for your support network. Friends, neighbors, family members and your doctor are some examples. Avoid limiting your contacts to one or two names, as you cannot know in advance who will be available. Discuss emergency preparations with each person in your support network. While some may be able to offer assistance or advice, others can provide emotional support. When you are home alone during a storm, a caring voice can mean peace of mind. It can make all the difference in the world to know someone is there, even if you only chat for a while.
Plan To Use Common Sense
If you are like most seniors who live in their own homes, your home is the place where you feel safe and comfortable. Even during an emergency, you do not necessarily want to leave. As safety is the most important factor, though, plan to cooperate with the authorities.
Make a commitment to do what you are advised to do, even if it means evacuation. During a severe storm, you will be much safer in a shelter, or in a different location altogether. As you should be tuned in to the news and weather reports, follow advice for evacuation.
This part of the plan should include knowing where to go if you are advised to leave your home. Check a map so you know the location of the shelter. If you are advised to leave the area entirely, be familiar with the roads leading out of your city and choose an appropriate transportation method. You do not want to become trapped if the roads have become unsafe.
Storms Can Occur At Any Time
You are not necessarily safe simply because it is not peak season for hurricanes. Storms with high winds and flooding can disrupt your life. This is why you should always be prepared.
Even if no emergencies occur, check periodically to make sure you have supplies. Make sure food, medicine, and other products that have expiration dates are fresh, and replace all products that have expired. Make sure all of your emergency supplies are in an easily-accessible area of your home, and that your supplies are all fresh, clean, and stored away from sources of moisture. Everything you need will be ready before the next storm arrives.
Life For A Senior Citizen In Florida
Boca Raton is one of the nicest places you can live when you are in your golden years. Whether you are a young senior or elderly, Palm Beach County has much to offer. You can thoroughly enjoy your senior years with nearly limitless activities, beautiful weather, and good friends.
Hurricane season is one of the few drawbacks of living in this exciting part of the state. However, you do not need to choose between worrying about storms every day and moving to a less ideal location. With sensible preparations, life in Florida can work for you.
You have many people in your life who are willing and able to help. You do not need to take on all the decisions and the process of preparation alone. You can ask for assistance or advice from your loved ones, your doctor, and your home health aide. All of these people care about you, and will be glad to lend a hand.
You can get through hurricane season with the least amount of worry, and the least amount of difficulty. If a severe storm does hit Boca Raton, you will be prepared. While too many people lost their lives or their homes during storms in the past, a tragedy does not need to happen to you. Whether you go to a shelter or stay in your home for the duration of the storm, you can be safe, healthy, and confident because you are prepared.
According to the National Aphasia Association, over 2,000,000 Americans have aphasia. Around 250,000 Britons live with aphasia. By 2020, there will be over 180,000 yearly aphasia cases in the US. More than 80% of Americans have never heard about aphasia.
The most notable aphasia case was Ronald Reagan, the 40th US president. The cause of his aphasia was late-stage Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia can also trigger aphasia.
What is Aphasia?
Aphasia is a Greek word that means “speechlessness.” An Egyptian papyrus contains one of the earliest definitions of aphasia. It defines it as a speech problem caused by traumatic brain injury.
Aphasia is a communication disorder caused by brain injury. It interferes with reading, writing, speaking, and understanding speech. However, aphasia does not affect intelligence. It will not interfere with the way you think and it will not make you less smart.
Aphasia interferes with speech but it will not make someone to have abnormal speech. That is because it does not affect the motor and sensory parts of the brain.
Aphasia affects the left side of the brain concerned with language skills. That causes language problems. It will not impair the right side of the brain. Any condition that affects the right side will cause abnormal speech, memory loss, and poor attention.
Most Aphasia victims are elderly individuals. Stroke increases the risk of getting aphasia. Because brain injury causes aphasia, there might also be swallowing problems and muscle weakness in the mouth.
Types of Aphasia
1. Mild Aphasia
There is mild and severe aphasia. Mild aphasia can affect a single aspect of language like combining words to form sentences or retrieving object names. One can end up naming an object using a word like ‘thing’ instead of using the real name of the object. Mild aphasia can affect multiple communication modalities. Anomic aphasia is a mild form of aphasia.
2. Severe Aphasia
A patient with severe aphasia will find it impossible to communicate. There are several forms of severe aphasia. Global aphasia is a form of severe aphasia.
3. Anomic Aphasia
This is a mild type of aphasia. It makes it hard to express words. It is a problem with expressive language. One knows what to say but cannot find the right words to express it.
4. Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA)
This is a form of dementia. It is progressive in nature. It starts with word finding difficulties. With time, there will be the reduced capability to create grammatically correct sentences. After some time, one will have impaired comprehension.
With PPA, other cognitive aspects like personality and memory will remain intact.
5. Fluent Aphasia
Fluent aphasia affects the language network found in the middle left side of the brain. A person with fluent aphasia can read print and hear a voice but may not understand what the message means. Because of an improper understanding of a message, the response will be incorrect, unrecognizable, and using unnecessary words.
6. Global Aphasia
This is a type of severe aphasia. In most cases, stroke causes it. Global aphasia mostly affects senior people.
There are several aphasia risk factors. They include stroke, brain damage, dementia, infection, brain tumor, fentanyl patch, epilepsy, seizures, and migraines.
According to the National Aphasia Association, 25-40% of stroke survivors get aphasia. Stoke causes rupture or blockage of a brain blood vessel resulting in brain cell death subsequently damaging sections controlling language.
By preventing stroke, you will reduce the risk of aphasia. You can prevent stroke by controlling blood pressure, avoiding tobacco use, minimizing alcohol consumption, eating healthily and exercising regularly.
• Brain Damage
A degenerative disease, an infection, a tumor, or severe head injury can cause brain damage. This damage can lead to cognitive problems that can result in aphasia.
• Epilepsy, Seizure, Migraine
These will cause temporary aphasia.
There is a positive prognosis for recovering from expressive aphasia after a stroke. A minor stroke has a great prognosis. There is a grim prognosis for recovering from aphasia caused by a neurodegenerative disease or untreatable tumor.
The cause of aphasia determines the prognosis. Other factors that determine prognosis are the age and health of the patient and the nature of aphasia.
Prognosis for language recovery is different from that of a patient becoming independent. One can recover and live independently and still have persisting aphasia.
Improvement from aphasia will not automatically happen six months following the stroke. It can take more than six months. Recovery from global aphasia can take 12 months from the stroke.
Aphasia treatment should be tailor-made to the needs of a patient. There is no universal treatment for aphasia. That is because aphasia is rarely the same. It varies from one person to another.
Some treatments will enhance the quality of life of an aphasic patient. The ideal treatment depends on whether it is mild or severe aphasia.
1. Visual communication therapy (VIC)
This is a specific treatment technique for treating aphasia. It involves the use of index cards that have symbols representing speech components.
2. Melodic Intonation Therapy (MIT)
This facilitates the retrieval of words and expressive language. It is another specific treatment technique.
3. Copy and Recall
This involves recalling and repeating particular words. This will improve single word naming, writing, and reading.
According to studies, therapy can help to treat aphasia. Tailor-made therapy will suffice. It can improve specific language outcomes. In acute cases, two or more hours of therapy in a week can produce amazing results. High intensive therapy is the best. Low intensive therapy is similar to no therapy.
One form of therapy is auditory repetition training. This will facilitate the improvement of spontaneous speech.
5. Speech Language Pathologist
Treatment can involve working with a speech-language pathologist. There will be the need to work with this pathologist for some years. Recovery using this strategy will depend on a number of factors including motivation, health, and age.
How to Care For & Communicate With a Loved One Suffering From Aphasia
You need to find a support group for a loved one with aphasia. You and all the other family members should work together with the therapist or Speech Language Therapist to facilitate the recovery of the individual. In addition, the following measures will come in handy.
It can be frustrating to deal with a loved one with aphasia. That is because of the communication challenges. However, you should always be calm and patient.
You will need to find alternate communication for communicating with a loved one with severe aphasia. That can involve using pictures, pointing to letters, and using hand gestures. The aphasia patient will understand these better than words.
Do not patronize the Intelligence of the Person
A person who has aphasia has not lost intelligence. Thus, you should not patronize the intelligence of the person. The individual still remembers faces, has political opinions, can play chess, can move from one place to another, and most importantly, can think.
Make Communication Easier
• Use simple words and sentences
• Slow down your speech
• Use ‘yes’ and ‘no’ questions
• Turn off the radio and TV while talking
• Keep eye contact during conversations
A stroke affecting the left side of the brain can cause aphasia. This is a communication disorder that makes it difficult to communicate. There is severe and mild aphasia. Therapy and other interventions will improve the quality of life of a person suffering from aphasia.
As human beings, it is in our nature to want to live as long as we possibly can. However, with old age comes a wide array of physical and mental disorders. To quell such disorders, many seniors are often subjected to unpleasant and at times costly medications and therapies. But what if there was a simpler solution? Could the answer lie with the pets and animals we keep in our homes? The better we understand human-animal interactions the more we can apply them to enhance the quality of people’s lives. This piece explores the ways in which animals affect human health and the role they play in the well-being of the elderly.
Indeed animals play a vital role in people’s well-being. During the past decade, there has been growing evidence that pet and animal ownership can bring a multitude of positive physiological and mental effects on humans. Some of the documented effects of human-animal interactions include the improvement in social interactions, interpersonal interactions, mood enhancement as well as a reduction in stress-related conditions such as hypertension, abnormal blood pressure, and anxiety. Apart from these therapeutic roles, animals are also kept for companionship which can certainly affect the quality of an individual’s life.
The impact of pets and animal ownership on human health
All around the world people keep a multitude of companion animals the most common being dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, rabbits, hamsters, snakes, aquarium fish as wells a poultry and exotic birds. A study by J.B. Mendes in 2002 entailed taking measurements of changes in blood pressure and heart rate among stressed participants who owned a cat or dog versus those who did not. Participants who owned a cat or dog posted lower resting heart rates and blood pressure at the beginning and at the end of the experiment. Participants who owned these pets were also less likely to experience spikes in blood pressure and heart rates while under stress. The possibility of making errors was also higher among non-pet owning participants compared to those who had pets present during the exercise.
These findings point to the fact that having a cat or dog as companion lowers the risk of heart disease and improves performance by lowering stress. In fact, numerous research studies have shown that the action of stroking your animal companion can result in a transient decrease in heart rate and blood pressure.
Among the elderly, pet ownership can play a significant role in helping seniors be more active and lively. Multiple studies have shown that elderly individuals who kept pets fare better when it comes to performing physical activities such as walking, climbing stairs, feeding, grooming and bathing oneself compared to those who did not keep animal companions.
Another study found that animal companionship to high survival rates among patients with coronary disease. For people who had previously suffered from a stroke, the mortality rate was higher among people who did not keep pets than those who did. There’s also evidence supporting the belief that pets and other animal companions do help patients recover faster from surgery and illness. Results from a similar study also show that animal guardians were less likely to visit their doctor than people who did not keep pets.
Impact of animals on cognition and mental health
During the 18th century, an experiment carried out in an asylum for people with severe mental disorders. For the experiment, the asylum was stocked with rabbits, poultry, and hawks with the hope of encouraging self-control and responsibility. The experiment found that patients benefited greatly from having animals around them.
Among the elderly, the mental and emotional benefits are more pronounced than the physical benefits. As people grow old, life can be incredibly lonely and barren especially when you live away from your children. It gets worse for senior citizens who have recently lost a spouse or a loved one. for young people, loneliness is not a big deal because they have the time and energy to move around and build a social life. For older adults, loneliness is much harder to handle. Luckily, pets and companion animals are more than capable of offsetting boredom and isolation.
Studies have shown that recently widowed women who own pets fared much better physically and psychologically than their counterparts who did not have animal companions. Research shows that pet ownership can erode the emotional trauma that arises from stressful life events such as divorce and loss of a spouse or loved one. Seniors with pets are less likely to suffer from anxiety and depression, the most notable side effects of loneliness.
Indeed, animal-assisted therapy (AAT) is becoming more popular in hospitals, nursing homes for the elderly and a multitude of other healthcare centers. The goal of such schemes is to improve the cognitive and psychological functioning of patients suffering from mental difficulties and emotional dysfunction. AAT programs have been particularly effective in reducing agitation and aggression among older adults suffering from dementia. Such programs entail organizing frequent visits from assistance dogs for a few months then studying the behavioral changes in patients.
Improved social interactions
It is safe to say that people who walk or jog with their animals are more likely to strike conversations with complete strangers compared to people who walk alone. The role of companion animals as social lubricants is more apparent among disabled persons. Indeed the presence of a pet significantly increases the number of approaches and acknowledgments from both friends and strangers for persons in wheelchairs.
People are more likely to mingle or engage in verbal interaction in the presence of pets such as dogs or cats. In another study elderly patients with Alzheimer’s disease showed better social contact and improved social relationships in the presence of a dog compared to another control group with no pets involved. Children with autism also benefit from greater use of language and enhanced social motivation when in the presence of animal companions.
However, the success of companion animals as social catalysts largely depends on the choice of animal you choose as your companion. It is advisable to choose animals that have a reputation for good temperament. For example with dogs, breeds such as Rottweilers are likely to elicit negative attention from members of the public.
Factors to consider when choosing an animal companion for elderly persons
One of the first things you ought to consider when choosing the right companion for an elderly friend or relative is the mobility of the individual in question. For seniors who have no physical limitations, you are better off getting them a proactive animal such as a dog, horse or bird. These animals could just be the friend they need to keep them mobile and active. On the other hand, seniors who are physically challenged are better suited to cats that can curl up and keep them company on the bed or couch. Cats are often better choices than dogs because they require less care. Paper-trained dogs are also ideal because they are easy to look after.
The age of the animal is another important factor you need to consider. For seniors who are slowing down, an adult dog or cat would be the best choice. Puppies and kittens, though ideal for young children, may not be suitable for the elderly due to the amount of tender care they demand. However, the animals chosen should not be too old since they may start to exhibit physical limitations and sickness.
It is also very important to consider the state of health of the animal in question. Some pets do carry diseases and a sick animal can heighten the risk of asthma, allergies and other health complications among seniors. It is advisable to have pets examined by a veterinary doctor before introducing them in your home.
The bottom line
Measuring the positive impact of pets and other animal companions on the lives of people can be a challenging task. However, the degree of benefits is strongly influenced by the type of animal companion as well as the amount of time spent with the animal. The research findings thus far have been encouraging and more studies will be conducted to fully understand human-animal interactions. It is not possible to ignore the value that animals bring into people’s lives. A pet will definitely improve the general well-being of a person facing isolation and loneliness. There is also growing evidence that presence of pets and animals in educational settings boosts concentration, motivation, and relaxation which in turn improves learning and performance.
The full range of positive effects associated with having pets around include improved learning, enhanced empathy, reduction in anxiety, reduced aggression, improved pain management during therapy, enhanced social and interpersonal interactions, mood enhancement, the reduction of stress-related complications such as high blood pressure/heart rate, improved mental health as well as physical well-being. Having a companion animal is beneficial regardless of the stage of life of the owner. Animals have so much to offer in our lives, it is about time we embraced pets, especially rescue animals, in our homes.
Life after retirement can be uncertain and fraught with difficulties. It is for this reason that the government introduced a social security program to act as an economic safety net for senior citizens after retirement. Through social security programs, many elderly aging Americans can sustain a basic quality of life once their ability to work expires.
Though the programs assure senior citizens of security and a steady flow of income post-retirement, the sad fact is that social security is not the answer to all problems plaguing the old. This piece is meant to educate senior citizens living in Florida on how they can earn extra money to supplement their social security benefits.
Living on the edge
There’s one grave mistake shared by a majority of Americans in retirement. It revolved around the complete reliance on social security benefits as the sole source of income during retirement. The consequence of this mistake is that many people are unable to settle their bills and are coerced to dip into employment once more to make ends meet. The only way to avoid this damning fate is through advanced planning and finding more sources of income.
Luckily, the future of retirement does not have to be so bleak. With a little creativity and self-drive, there are plenty of ways you can bring home the bacon and most of these you can do from the comfort of your home. Below are a few options.
Renting out your property
What better way to make money than to use the resources you already have? Florida tends to host a few big events a few times every year. These events provide the perfect opportunity to rent out your entire house or a portion of it albeit for a few days. Websites such as HomeAway, Airbnb, and VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owners) are ideal for elderly homeowners seeking an extra source of income. Indeed, sites like Airbnb pay out millions of dollars to senior hosts each year from short-term home renting. Apart from earning some extra income, you also get to save on taxes primarily through pro-rate write-offs.
However, you need to check with your insurer first for clarification on maintenance coverage. If you don’t want to deal with the hassles of managing rental units, you can always seek the services of a home management company.
Still on renting, if you happen to own a boat, you can rake in some extra cash by hiring it out. The income from renting out your boat will enable you to cover the steep maintenance these crafts. Another way to cash in on the sharing economy is by renting out your vehicles through platforms such as RelayRides. In a region like Florida, parking spots can be hard to come by during public events. Capitalize on this shortage by renting out your parking lot or garage space on sites such as StowThat and JustPark.
Consider investing in bonds
Bonds are a perfect way to supplement your social security benefits. By investing in bonds, you are essentially acting as a lender to the government which in turn pays you back with interest over time. 10-year Treasury bonds yield an interest rate of about 2.4 percent annually (Substantially lower than other high-risk borrowers). On the positive side, the US government has a near zero chance of defaulting payment.
Become a freelancer
Thanks to the internet, freelancers can now capitalize on the growing demand for digital content. If you previously worked as a magazine editor or a web content developer, freelancing provides a flexible way to make extra dollars as you face retirement. Freelancing has minimal stress; you get to choose what to work on and how much work to handle. Web design and logo creation are other things you can do on freelancing sites.
Become an online tutor
Teaching does not necessarily mean sitting in front of a class and lecturing students. In fact, there is a burgeoning demand for online tutors especially from international students in need of mentoring. Teaching is the one area where senior citizens can make their vast knowledge and experience work for them. Pass on this knowledge to younger populations through multiple online platforms such as Udemy, Teachable, and Thinkific. If you don’t have unique content to share with learners, you can elect to teach English and a myriad of other subjects online. The beauty of this option is that once you create an online channel, it becomes a steady source of self-generated income.
Proving home care services
Senior women can explore this option as a suitable way of making money while in retirement. There are a lot of people in Florida in dire need of home care services. You can do some light house chores such as cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping and doing the dishes. By acting as a caregiver, you can prepare meals; help out with adult diapers and even do babysitting. Once again, you will be better off making use of websites such as rent a grandma where you can accept jobs on personal assistants, eldercare or childcare. The beauty of live-in-nurse jobs is that you can do them solely on weekends and still make good money.
Selling your vintage items and other memorabilia
As a senior citizen, it is likely that you have a broad collection of vintage items from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Though parting ways with such items can be an emotional affair, the money you get from selling these items should be enough consolation. If you have vintage items such as clocks, guitars or even cars, this might be a good time to cash in on them. If finding a physical buyer is an uphill task, you can try selling vintage items on popular sites such as eBay and Amazon. You’ll be shocked at how much money you can make by disposing of memorabilia lying around in your house.
Become a local guide
Florida is a vibrant and expansive community with many places to explore. As a senior citizen in Florida, it’s unlikely that there are many people who know the city and its environs better than you do. Tour guiding is big business. Seniors can use their knowledge of the area to earn money by acting as a local guide to the many visitors who tour the region. For a fee, you can give a comprehensive tour to clients by helping them discover the hidden gems in and around Florida. There’s the possibility of earning money as a local guide on Vyable.
Consider business consulting
If you’ve enjoyed a solid career in the corporate sector, here’s an opportunity to capitalize on your years of service by offering expert advisory and consultancy in your field of business. No one is too old to be a consultant; your skills could be priceless to some else. So it’s time to create that website and get the word out by marketing yourself in industry trade publications. With this endeavor you still get to be your own boss by setting your working hours, dictating the pace of work and still rake in some income. Platforms such as Encore Futures can set you up with organizations that can need your skills the most.
Consider life coaching
With old age comes wisdom and experience. In a world where many people are overwhelmed and disappointed with their lives, life coaching can be a step in the right direction. Start coaching people in areas where you shine; it could be relationships, work-life balance or even personal development. There are no certifications for being a life coach. You can also tap into the abundant life coaching opportunities on the internet to make extra money.
Consider taking paid surveys
Paid surveys have been around for a while now, and they offer an excellent opportunity to make some extra cash. Examples of reputable sites where senior citizens can sign up include PineConeResearch and Crash Crate. There are a multitude of firms out there that hire market research firms to poll consumers about new products and services. You earn money by participating in such consumer surveys. In fact, you can make over $100 in some sites in exchange for a few hours of your time. Money aside, there are many gift cards up for grabs on such sites.
Pay off your debts
So far we’ve dealt with ways that can increase your income while on retirement, but all that will count for nothing if you are knee deep in debts. You’ll be much better off clearing your mortgage before you retire. Clear your credit card and car loans as well. After all, clearing your debt now will save you the trouble of having to take out $500 or $1000 from your social security benefits to repay off such debts. Paying off your debts before retirement is a wise move considering most of these debts attract high-interest rates, at times exceeding 10 percent.
Begin funding a retirement plan
It’s wise to take advantage of your employer-sponsored retirement programs when you’re still in employment. Try to match your employer’s contribution to ensure you have enough money to spend once you exit the employment scene. You can also set up a traditional or Roth IRA where you can save up to $5500 annually. Saving these amounts will reduce your dependence on social security benefits.
There are a number of lifestyle changes associated with aging. For example, there are seniors who have retired from life-long careers, developed health conditions that impact them on a daily basis and those who have lost members of their social circle. As such, these individuals can easily become depressed, isolated and inactive.
However, while seniors are unable to do some of the things they did when their bodies were younger and stronger, they have gained a lot of wisdom and knowledge along the way. These important attributes can be used to engage in volunteer activities as these important members of the society continue to make useful contributions to others.
Senior citizens make up an essential part of the volunteer community. There are millions of seniors who donate their time every day to assist in making a difference in the lives of others. Research has revealed that volunteering has remarkable benefits as individuals get older.
Ways in Which a Senior Citizen Can Give Back
A remarkable way of making an impact through small actions, which can be done from the comfort of home, is “micro-volunteering.” There are a number of service projects that seniors can do on their own time with skills they already have. Micro-volunteering could involve activities that range from re-tweeting a message or signing a petition to counting birds in the garden or participating in a flash mob.
Best of all, it is not required for volunteers to go through an application or training procedure, ongoing commitment is not required and the tasks take mere minutes to complete. Micro-volunteering mainly takes place online; however, it is not exclusively Internet-based. Visiting a lonely neighbor or removing weeds from a garden at a local community center also counts.
Below are some other ways in which senior citizens can give back, remain useful and contribute to society:
Experience and Wisdom
Wisdom typically comes with age and experience and as such, the younger generation can benefit from the wisdom and experience seniors have to impart. This could help the youngster not to act on impulse without thinking things through or rush foolishly into situations which they would be much better off avoiding.
The advice and guidance from seniors could be quite valuable and save the younger generations a lot of time and trouble. It is true that youngsters typically need to make their own mistakes; however, heeding the advice of seniors could assist in putting their problems into perspective or preventing the most destructive errors.
In addition, seniors have a tremendous storehouse of history and knowledge; the proper use of which can help institutions and society in general to avoid the hassle of reinventing the wheel, so to speak. This type of priceless information is needed to keep society grounded in its history and traditional values. In addition, they can be positive role models for children who have had little or no intimate contact with seniors and may regard aging as depressing and negative.
As it relates to the family unit, active, healthy and available grandparents are usually available for babysitting and otherwise engaging with their grandchildren. This frees the parents to do activities like travel for work, go on romantic getaways or take care of certain responsibilities typically associated with the hectic pace that seems to be the norm of everyday life. This helps to forge strong bonds between these generations, which can tremendously enrich the lives of both the children and the seniors.
Grandparents can be amazing storytellers, artfully weaving interesting tales about the many fascinating experiences throughout their lives. This type of familial interaction is a great opportunity for a number of seniors and their families. It is also a much better alternative to being segregated from the younger generations and being relegated to “retirement” communities or nursing homes.
Another way in which seniors can spend time with kids is by becoming volunteers at organizations like the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program or the Foster Grandparents Program by the Service Corps. In addition, seniors can reach out to local children’s hospitals to determine how best they can provide support for these young patients and their families.
Help Out Fellow Seniors
Becoming a Senior Companion is ideal for individuals looking to connect with people in their own age group. This will assist you in helping others to be happier and maintain some semblance of independence as they get older and deal with their limitations. A number of residents of assisted living facilities would enjoy seeing a friendly face. As such, you should think about visiting one of these institutions and seeing how you can brighten the day of a few of the residents.
Join a Local Volunteer Organization
Signing up with a local organization as a volunteer will provide diverse and flexible opportunities for seniors to contribute to the betterment of their communities. It could also alleviate many of the concerns seniors have, especially the ones who are new to volunteerism. Furthermore, by having something to which they can meaningfully contribute, seniors could feel more useful, productive and experience a boost in their self-esteem.
Volunteer Through Religious Organizations
If you belong to a religious group, there is usually the option of getting involved at that place of worship. The majority of these organizations depend on volunteers to assist in their offices by undertaking such tasks as doing community outreach or planning social events.
Benefits of Seniors Engaging in Volunteerism
In comparison to other members of their age group, older volunteers have been found to have lower depression and mortality rates, higher levels of well-being and fewer physical limitations. In addition, it has be found by the National Institute on Aging that taking part in productive and meaningful activities like volunteering can improve longevity and reduce the risk of health problems like dementia in seniors. More details of these and other benefits are highlighted below:
Additionally, social interaction is vital for the well-being of seniors. As social beings, humans need to have meaningful engagement and be socially active on a consistent basis. However, the means of socialization typically dwindle significantly or get lost post-retirement as the opportunities to meet new people declines.
Additionally, a study conducted by the National Academy of Sciences has shown that seniors who are socially isolated are much more likely to experience depression and chronic stress. They could also develop health conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. By becoming volunteers, seniors can help others, while helping themselves to valuable social interactions. They can develop new friendships and have discussions with members of the community the organization is serving and other volunteers.
Volunteering can keep seniors more active as well. Some categories of volunteering could inherently incorporate a degree of exercise. These may include assisting with carrying donated goods at a food bank or working outside to beautify parks. Even a desk job can contribute to keeping a senior more active by encouraging him or her to get out of the house more frequently.
By becoming volunteers, seniors are provided with opportunities to engage in purposeful and stimulating activities; this can contribute to enhancing their mental health. Studies have revealed that social isolation is among the foremost causes of depression in senior citizens. Loneliness can be easily transformed into feelings of despair and worthlessness. The interactions and conversations afforded by volunteering play an extremely essential role in controlling negative thoughts, which ultimately ensures mental well-being.
• Enhanced Cognitive Function
As individuals age, socialization is a major aspect of keeping the brain sharp. Actively participating in volunteerism encourages seniors to continue observing, learning and responding to the world around. These types of activities and engaging in fulfilling conversations are remarkable for keeping the mind fit. In addition, they could potentially lessen the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Volunteering on a regular basis can also provide seniors with a sense of purpose. This is especially true for those who no longer work full time and are not feeling as useful as they previously did.
• Providing a Sense of Belonging
Enjoying the company of those with similar interests or personalities helps human beings to feel as if we belong somewhere. It is not uncommon for seniors to feel like they do not belong in this fast-paced world. A number of seniors feel as if they are unable to effectively cope with the ever-changing technologies. In cases like these, the need to feel connected or belong is even more intense. Socializing with others provide opportunities to cultivate new friendships and do some meaningful things that will help to create lasting bonds, while simultaneously reinforcing a sense of belonging.
While the majority of individuals, regardless of age, could experience the social, physical and mental benefits of volunteerism. However, studies have revealed that older adults gain the most from these types of activities. It has been discovered that volunteering did not begin to make noticeable mental health improvements for individuals until they reached middle age and the most profound impact was made on older age groups.
Senior citizens living in Broward and Palm Beach counties in Florida get to enjoy beautiful palm trees, great weather, mild winters and a number of other popular amenities the state has to offer. These locations have some of the best activities for seniors and as such, more than 300,000 seniors make Florida their home year-round.
For active seniors who enjoy socializing and making new friends from in and around their community, there are a number of organizations that provide activities, support groups, and classes in which they can participate. These include:
The Aging and Disability Resource Center
These resource centers coordinate events that are particularly planned for seniors. Additionally, for any senior who needs assistance, the resource centers offer case management for both the individual and his or her and family members. This is a wonderful organization in which to become involved.
Among other things, Club 55, which is exclusively for seniors, uses local city parks to host a number of activities. This provides a remarkable opportunity for seniors to simultaneously socialize and delight in the great outdoors. For those who are new to the community, this is a wonderful way to meet people and forge new connections.
Parkland, Florida is a lively city that offers trips and other senior activities. The city is known for having winery tours and culinary school trips. If you have a passion for learning, Parkland offers classes, including ones that can assist seniors in learning the latest technological devices.
There are a number of community centers that offer a range of activities in which seniors can participate. Included among the amenities at these centers are weight rooms, paddleball courts, tennis courts, a walking track and a fishing dock. These activities provide remarkable ways for seniors to have fun while staying active. For seniors who have grandchildren or other young relatives in their lives, playgrounds are also available at the majority of the sites.
Daniel D. Cantor Senior Center
Sunrise, Florida is home to the Daniel D. Cantor Senior Center, which has more than 1000 involved seniors in its community. There are musical and fellowship events, counseling sessions, health screening and a variety of educational classes. Case management is also available if needed. For those who are affiliated with the Jewish religion, there is the option of celebrating Shabbat. This includes a weekly traditional Shabbat meal on Fridays. It should be noted that seniors of all religious affiliations are welcome to attend any of the events held by the center.
Fun on the Water
You can ride the water taxi in Fort Lauderdale and enjoy amazing tours of the city. There are a few different routes; therefore, seniors will be able to enjoy the experience more than once. Boat shows and night rides take place throughout the year, providing breath-taking views. If you have an interest in hosting a memorable event, you have the option of chartering a boat.
Broward County and Palm Beach County have a number of museums. Many of these institutions host recreational and educational events and provide discounts for seniors. For those who are fans of the sport of swimming, the International Swimming Hall of Fame would be a wonderful place to visit. Furthermore, the Fishing Hall of Fame located in close proximity.
There are museums that focus on history, sciences, the arts and there is even one for antique cars. For example, Fort Lauderdale has a museum that is a car enthusiast’s dream. The exhibits include motorcars and memorabilia. You will be able to appreciate the story and elegance behind each model. A gallery dedicated to Franklin Roosevelt is also there.
Bonnet House Museum and Gardens in Fort Lauderdale offers classes and hosts tours and festivals. In Clewiston, the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum Big Cypress has very affordable admission prices and Seminole history and culture is also highlighted in this museum. Additionally, there is a raised mile-long boardwalk that showcases lots of floral life.
Broward County hosts an art walk every month. On some of the walks, participants are provided with the opportunity to relish fine wines upon completing the journey. The county hosts more than 25 art festivals each year and for lovers of the theatrical arts, there are a number of stage and theater performances to enjoy. Best of all, many of these shows allow access to seniors at a discounted rate.
Registered historical locations and historical societies can be found all throughout Broward County. A number of tours are offered at historical homes that are bursting with information and interesting tales to tell. Many of these venues provide seniors with discounts.
Food tours provide an entertaining and delicious way of learning about a particular community. West Palm Beach engages with 7 of the best locally-owned, restaurants that are located off the beaten path and individuals can enjoy 13 tastings during a tour. Participants will get the opportunity to participate in activities like meeting chefs, learning how to open a coconut and trying a dish that has been featured on renowned television shows. In addition, they will be able to learn about the fascinating history of the location. There is also an option for private tours and cooking lessons.
There is also the Taste History Culinary Tour. This enjoyable culinary and cultural journey lasts between 3 and 4 hours and combines roughly 4 to 6 blocks of walking and bus riding. During the tour, between 3 and 4 eateries and bakeries are visited for food tastings. In addition, the tour includes trips to art and craft shops or historic buildings.
In Broward, there are a number of food truck events and the locations include Pompano Beach, Plantation and Davie. Some of these events provide music and other forms of entertainment at the locations. Typically, food truck events are free to attend and participants purchase their preferred food from various vendors. Dates are switched occasionally and events are sometimes discontinued; as such, checking online information or making telephone contact is advisable to ensure a specific event is being held on the day or night you intend to go.
Visiting Butterfly World is undoubtedly one of the most memorable and pleasurable experiences seniors in Broward County and its surroundings can have. Visitors will be able to see thousands of beautiful butterflies that live in the tropical gardens. There are also a lot of colorful fish and fascinating hummingbirds.
The Grassy Waters Preserve
This 23-square mile wetlands ecosystem is home to a host of native wildlife. Seniors who are nature enthusiasts enjoy this protected area and this is largely because of the many trails that are accessible by the public, for free, seven days a week. There are also guided hiking and canoe programs. Among other wildlife, you will be able to see otter, white-tailed deer, bobcat, and alligator.
The abundance of spectacular beaches is one of the hallmarks of Florida. Apart from the wonderful waves and miles upon miles of shimmering sand, there are shops and boardwalks just waiting to be explored. The weather, scenery and all of the events and activities in which seniors can participate make Broward County and Palm Beach County great places for seniors to reside or visit. There is no end to the things that can be seen and done or the opportunities to interact and form connections with others in the community.
Blue Jeans Blues
Located in Fort Lauderdale, this spot delivers great music and its servers are quite friendly. There is typically a mixed crowd with great energy. This is largely because the music is eclectic enough to satisfy the taste of seniors and the young folk alike. Seniors, who enjoy jazz and blues and like to rub shoulders with a younger crowd from time to time, could find Blue Jeans Blues quite enjoyable. This music-filled atmosphere is the ideal place to enjoy drinks and appetizers.
Among its many attractions, the Flamingo Gardens has an Arboretum that features hundreds of exotic and native trees. These majestic plants are accented with a stream, ponds, a waterfall and lush under-story plantings. This senior-friendly location has the distinction of being home to the biggest assortment of towering Florida Champion Trees; a total of 20 of these trees exist. The Florida Forestry Service has certified them as being the biggest of their species. It is home to a non-native Cluster Fig, which is the biggest tree in the register of the Florida Champion Tree. It is 102 feet high, its circumference is 54 feet, 1 inch and it has an impressive crown span of 95 feet.
Lake Worth Dance Classes
Lake Worth offers dance classes for those who have rhythm in their soul just waiting for the perfect opportunity to release it. Classes are offered in a variety of styles for individuals who like to dance socially. The atmosphere is relaxed and no performance element is included unless you are a natural showstopper who enjoys stealing the show and maximizing your enjoyment.
There are classes focused on Latin dancing in one dance studio, while other studios teach line dancing and ballroom. There is no age limit but many seniors find it appealing to learn the actual steps behind genres of dance they have intuitively participated in for many years. You can come alone as many others do or you can take along a friend; who knows, maybe you could even meet that special someone at one of these classes.
Walk With Ease Program
It is the perfect season to ‘spring into good health’ and the Walk With Ease Program is a great place to start. Initially held in 2012, in Broward County Parks, this event is a joint effort between the Health Foundation of South Florida and the Parks and Recreation Division. The program is designed to encourage adults 55 years and older to walk for their health as it takes the first step to start the journey of improving overall health.
Designed to emphasize the culture and knowledge of wine, this type of event involves getting together with a classy group of individuals at a swanky private or commercial location. The events encourage connoisseurs to participate in tasting varietals from across the country, including Florida. Wines from vineyards in states like California, Washington, and New York are typically a part of the offerings. There is also the opportunity to explore red and white wines from all over the world. Additionally, there are fortified varieties to be sampled as well as the foods with which they are nicely paired.
There is also the opportunity to learn the history of wine and the continuing love affair between wine and cheese. You will be able to discover innovations in the wine-making industry and learn the process chefs use to pair new recipes with favorites like Riesling and Pinot Noir. Members of some wine tasting groups meet up at regularly and the meeting place could be a high-end wine bar or the home of one of the members. Whatever the location, it is always tasteful. There are also wine tasting groups that are not exclusive to seniors but readily welcome them. If you join a tour and prefer to form a splinter group with your peers, you could have that option as other seniors may very well feel the same way.
Tai Chi Groups
In Delray Bora, the movements of Tai Chi are demonstrated and taught by a senior instructor. This is one of many groups in the area that focus on Tai Chi, Qigong, and other Eastern exercises. Better breathing and balance are promoted by these practices and they also foster non-medical pain management support and stress relief. Individuals who partake in the offerings of these groups appreciate the focused and slow movements, which are similar to yoga as they flow together nicely and rhythmically.
A number of seniors who participate in these art forms find them to be helpful. This is especially true for those who are afflicted with chronic pain and wish to reduce or eliminate their dependence on painkillers. Memorizing the movements will promote brain agility and overall health. In addition, the positive atmosphere in which these activities take place is remarkable and full of hope. Tai Chi is not merely another form of exercise, it is legitimate art; it is beautiful to watch participants move in time to the leading of an instructor.
Yoga for Seniors
Yoga is among the gentlest and most beneficial activities in which seniors can become involved. The Highland Beach group has weekly sessions and fitness level is not a factor for those who want to join. You will notice improvement in your agility as time goes by and there is no need to push yourself to a point where a stretch becomes painful.
There is a certified instructor to show you how to properly execute gentle yoga poses for beginners, encourage you throughout the session and assist you in getting in and out of the poses if required. You will also be reminded of the importance of not stretching further than you naturally can. Yoga is healing and no one should become injured while carrying out the poses. Taking part in activities like Yoga stimulates blood flow; thereby promoting a sense of joy.
Gumbo Limbo Nature Center
This is a prime location for nature-loving seniors. Gumbo Limbo Nature Center is a remarkable example for environmental conservation, education, and research. The center has 20 acres of property and it is located on the protected barrier island. Gumbo Limbo provides refuge for many different species of animals and plants; some of which are endangered or rare. In addition, the employees, volunteers and various organizations that make up the center are committed to protecting the natural resources of the area.
The public programs include educational sessions for children and adults of all ages. They are taught by qualified and knowledgeable biologists, naturalists and educators. The majority of these programs are free or reasonably priced and they feature small group sizes to maximize interaction and learning.
Morikami Japanese Gardens
This picturesque paradise is located just west of Delray Beach and it offers several acres of beautifully landscaped lawns and well-maintained shrubs, trees, ponds, statuary and bridges. It is designed to be a calm and peaceful space and seniors in search of relaxation and tranquility can visit and bask in the awesomeness of the gardens. The site includes a museum, visitors center, gift shop and restaurant, which are all designed to support the Japanese culture and heritage.
Time may not permit you to enjoy all of these activities with the senior in your life. If that is the case, having an aide or companion from Boca Home Care Services can greatly assist in enhancing the experiences. Our courteous and experienced staff will ensure that your loved one will be well taken care of, while he or she enjoys the various events and activities. An aide will also be able to assist with duties like cooking, light housekeeping, companionship, and transportation.
Officially, the definition of ‘aging in place’ is when someone has the ability to remain in their own home safely and travel around independently, irrespective of their income.
For the majority of people, this is an ideal situation. A survey carried out by AARP showed that most people would rather grow old in their own houses. Of course, this means that the properties have to be suitably adapted.
Several factors have to be taken into account for this. For example, you need to preempt potential declines, with regards to physical strength, cognition, vision, mobility, and balance. Find out whether the property is equipped to cope with these future problems. If it isn’t, things will need to be altered to address them and make the house a safe place to live.
Many people purchase a house while they are young, so they do not consider the future when they may have to get around in a walker or wheelchair. After we reach a particular age though, we need to think about how steep stairs are and how wide doors are. These issues ought to be addressed properly.
Accessibility is a big factor. You have to ensure that passageways and entries can be easily accessed, even if your mobility is reduced. The doorways might need widening. Some stairs might need to be removed, to enable a wheelchair to travel freely.
Stairs might need railings fitted at the sides, to offer assistance and avoid accidents. Rugs might need removing in potential accident spots, or fastened down at least, so they do not cause any slippages. Lever handles might need fitting in place of door knobs.
Bathrooms are used frequently. They are essential to health and hygiene. Ensure that there are no accessibility issues with these, even if they are small. Get rid of thresholds, so that movement is easy without the legs having to be lifted. Obtain a shower head that is handheld to reach areas that need cleaning. Fit grab bars onto the walls and think about using higher toilets to counteract bending issues. Lever handles and hands-free faucets are available too.
The kitchen is another room that might need redesigning. Genuinely independent people require the ability to get food ready and eat in a comfortable environment. This might be difficult if they have highly stacked shelves. The quickest way to rectify this is to give priority to the most regularly used lower shelf items. These ought to be easily accessible when required. This is also true for items beneath the countertops. Avoid bending problems by placing these close to the top. The countertop itself might be lowered to enable food preparation while seated.
Obviously, you need to check whether the lights are sufficiently bright to illuminate every corner of the property. Bad eyesight can cause older people to overlook objects and trip over them. This makes looking for items hard as well. Also, you should think about using multi-bulb setup fixtures. By doing this, you will not need to replace burned out bulbs straightaway, because others will still work. Dependable technologies, such as LED, can be used to reduce the number of replacements required as well.
Seniors benefit considerably from aging in place. Elderly people want to live independently at home. Nonetheless, many seniors still require assistance. This is why it pays to be vigilant, so you can address any problems before they become too dangerous. You might notice some indications that your relative is struggling with safety independence.
All older people become more forgetful eventually. This does not always mean that they have a mental health problem. Notwithstanding, this is an indication that they need help.
The safety of seniors can be impacted by forgetfulness. They might forget to take their medication when they should or forget to lock their doors or eat meals. Even mild forgetfulness could be dangerous or harmful to an older person.
If your senior relative doesn’t have friends the same age, doesn’t speak to his neighbors regularly, or doesn’t have relatives who visit often, loneliness might be damaging.
If seniors don’t have anyone to speak to often, they might spend a lot of their time worrying. This can impact their mental health, and they might become seriously depressed.
Not every senior is a good housekeeper. Some of them might not feel like cleaning their homes, whereas others never mastered the skills in the first place. Also, some seniors have a habit of hoarding items.
These problems can result in a dangerous home environment. If debris is permitted to accumulate, it can raise the probability of falls. Belongings can obstruct doorways, or produce fire hazards. If seniors do not clean frequently, unwashed kitchen crockery or bathroom mold can make their home unhygienic, and boost the risk of disease.
Although some seniors enjoy preparing food, lots of them don’t. Your senior relative might be consuming processed microwave meals, eating junk food, or consuming products that their doctor would not recommend. They might even forgo meals if they can’t be bothered to cook.
Although safety in the kitchen can be complex for older people, a bad diet can result in health problems too. As well as preparing meals, they might find it difficult to shop for healthy meals on a frequent basis. Maybe they do not have transport, or shopping for groceries is too taxing.
There could be genuine reasons why seniors are less active than they were previously. Often, older people become frail, or they might have health issues that restrict their mobility. Nonetheless, it is bad for a senior to spend too much time watching television.
Staying moderately active is vital for their physical health and overall vitality. Also, it is important for them to leave their home and engage with their community. If they never leave their house, they miss the chance to enjoy fresh air and exercise, to participate in city events and socialize with others.
Your dad or mom might have been a stickler for physical appearance and grooming previously, however you notice that this is no longer the case. Your senior relative is not so worried about washing, or how their teeth or hair look, and their clothes might be unsuitable or unkempt.
From depression to fatigue, there could be several reasons that seniors let their appearance go. Irrespective of the reason, this should be addressed.
A home care non-medical aide, sometimes called a home health aide, could be precisely what your loved one requires. The aide you employ through a homecare service can assist your senior relative with each of these problems.
Older people can live independently while aging in place in their homes. You need not fret about their safety, health or general well being once they have their own home care aide. These aides are highly qualified, trained and prepared to help your relative through their daily life. Home care aides are people you can entrust the safety of your senior relative to in their home.
Aging affects everyone, without exception. Sooner or later, we — and our parents – will need some extra help. Although some children put their parents into nursing homes, with the best of intentions, older people often don’t want to be banished away. Some believe that they still have much to offer, whereas others find it difficult to adjust to change.
Children want their parents to live long, healthy lives. To do this though, they need to receive care from qualified people — because the children might not be in a position to do this themselves. If you have aging parents, you need some professional help.
When searching for a home health aide, it is vital to consider what your parents require. Will they need someone to be available round the clock, or do they only need someone to visit during the daytime, to ensure that they get their daily tasks done? This could include taking their medication and vitamins.
Frequently, the price you will pay for a home care aide will depend on your requirements, however, there’s no doubt that this will be less expensive than sending your parents to a nursing home.
In contrast to medical homes and nursing facilities, you can visit your aging parents in their own home. This situation is far more desirable for them. They will be happy as they age and will experience no emotional turmoil because they can still participate in different activities with you and your children.
Aging relatives rarely require medical assistance. Typically, they only need a bit of company and help, which is the reason that non-medical aides are the ideal solution to this problem.
Care in the home offers a range of advantages — not only to elderly people but to their relatives too. Enabling your parents to remain at home might appear like a small decision, however, this could mean a lot to them. They will like the idea of remaining independent, instead of staying in a home where they will lose this autonomy.
Home living also facilitates quicker recovery after an illness or accident. Irrespective of their medical condition, if they’re content with their lives and not stressed or worried, recovery will be faster.
Once a relative has to take care of a chronically ill mother or father, carrying on with a job and family life can be hard. The majority of children can’t leave their careers to care for their aging parents. For a family, this situation is frequently an upsetting and bewildering problem. The ideal solution is to employ a home health aide.
Caregivers who provide vital services in someone’s home can allow many senior adults to age safely in place. In just a few hours each day, aides can offer homecare on a full or part-time basis, based on the type of injury or illness.
Aides can visit several times each day if the aging parent requires assistance with showering or food preparation. Consuming prescription drugs is a struggle for some older people, so to check that patients consume the proper dosage aides can supervise the drugs that patients consume.
Once adult children have arranged for their fathers and/or mothers to receive the care they require, they can go back to work and look after their properties. Solutions to a range of circumstances are achieved when employing a home health aide.
During the recuperation period from falls or heart attacks, seniors frequently need care at home temporarily. With the assistance of home health aides, seniors might feel more content recuperating from an injury or medical condition. Avoiding hospital admission is possible by getting in touch with a doctor, particularly if the aide sees any new symptoms. Necessary conversation and attention can be provided by the carer as well.
Home care is also beneficial to older people with chronic illnesses. Adult children will have extra free time, once a home health aide is employed to complete some of the tasks related to caring for a senior. Once a caregiver offers relief, the time consuming and emotionally draining experience of delivering care to the elderly is reduced. For tasks that need two people, aides can provide welcome assistance.
It is vital to find out whether your insurance policy covers any home expenses, even though all cases are different. Charitable groups and similar services might benefit seniors too. Conduct some research to discover other options.
Home care aides allow older parents to be cared for at home. These aides are the most effective way of giving seniors the dignity and freedom they want because they enable the elderly to remain independent. By employing aides who deliver homecare, adult children who face the task of caring for their aging parents can reduce the burden of this care.
As seniors age further, their needs increase, particularly if they have severe health problems. Usually, relatives intervene to assist their aging parents. The majority of relatives have jobs, children and a house to run themselves, as well as being caregivers to elderly loved ones. If they already have lots of responsibilities, caregivers end up exhausted and are often incapable of providing the level of care their elderly relatives need. Caregivers can become bitter. Because most seniors don’t want to depend on others, they will frequently attempt to do tasks that their relatives can not assist them with.
Several risks are involved for elderly people when it comes to completing daily household chores. Actually, many seniors injure themselves, while trying to do chores that are they are not physically capable of doing. When a senior risks injury, it puts considerable strain on family carers. Happily, these carers can seek the assistance of a firm that is a certified home care provider.
This kind of firm offers help to seniors who want to age at home, but who require some assistance with day to day tasks. Families can find out about the numerous advantages of home care services by arranging an appointment. During this appointment, a care manager will carry out a property inspection and a mental and physical assessment of the elderly person who needs assistance. This allows them to gauge how much assistance a senior requires, and to identify any hazards that might be present in the home. Essentially, the property inspection is carried out to note any hazards like rugs, cords, or other fixtures that might threaten the safety of seniors.
The majority of seniors could be prone to falling over, so preventing falls is a big issue when evaluating a person for in-home non-medical care. If required, straightforward changes can be implemented that will dramatically lower safety hazards. Another aspect of the initial assessment is to find details that will allow the care manager to match seniors with skilled and background checked home care aides, who will be the right fit for them. The importance of this is hard to overstate, because – as well as offering help with daily life – home care aides offer companionship to seniors. Therefore, it is good for clients and their aides to have common interests. Seniors can adjust better to people who they are on the same wavelength as. Because of the unique nature of this kind of relationship, it is vital to match like-minded individuals for optimum results.
After an aide is chosen, a care manager will draw up a timetable, depend on the senior’s requirements. The home care aide will get to know their client, then start helping them with whatever they need doing. There are several things that aides can help with, as long they do not pertain to medical requirements. These are a few of the tasks that non-medical care providers can help with:
•Cooking and food preparation
•Reminders about medication
•Grooming and dressing
Home carers always encourage seniors to be as active as possible. This allows them to be more independent. Seniors will have spent most of their lives bringing children up and helping their relatives. In other words, they have earned the right to a dignified old age, which means enjoying the comforts of aging in place. Families who choose to allow their senior loved ones to stay at home are giving them a treasured gift.
A home care service firm that offers help to seniors also offers relief to family carers. Families that used to have little spare time can get back control over their lives. Therefore, the gift mentioned above not only comes in the guise of seniors living out their final years at home. It also takes the form of allowing family carers to relax and spend some quality time with aging loved ones. Seniors like nothing more than to invite loved ones round to their house, so they can talk about happier times. Their memories mean so much to them, seniors should have the chance to relive them with their relatives.
If you or a person you know is working every hour under the sun to assist an aging parent, think about all the advantages that a homecare service can provide. Once a relative reaches their final years, families want time to savor their company, before it is too late. Offering care at home is the ideal solution for the elderly and their relatives.
It has become more and more popular to opt for home care — given that it has several advantages and is proven to increase the happiness of seniors. Therefore, you should give serious consideration to this option, and offer your parents the love, care, and dignity that they want.
Boca Home Care Services pairs seniors in Palm Beach and Broward counties with certified and fully screened home care aides, who will keep your loved ones independent and safe in their own homes. For further information, please get in touch with us today by calling: (561) 989-0611
When elderly people live by themselves, the fear of falling down is always present. Although seniors want to walk freely from one room to another, they don’t want to wear digital monitors or consider the possibility of going to an assisted living community.
If you are concerned about home safety and interested in fall prevention, there are a few things that you can do. This could be something as simple as wearing the right kind of footwear.
Start the process by talking to your doctor. Your doctor can develop a fall prevention plan, but you must talk with him and ask plenty of questions. Your doctor will probably ask about your medications. This can include supplements, prescriptions, OTC items, and vitamins.
Thus, remember to take your actual medications or a list of medications to your doctor appointment. This step in the process is very important because many medicines have side effects that could lead to dangerous falls or accidents.
Your doctor may also ask if you’ve had accidents in the past. Don’t be afraid to tell him the details. This information helps him personalize your fall prevention plan. Provide info such as where you fell, what you were wearing at the time, and what you were doing fell. Also, don’t forget to include those times when you almost fell. These near accidents are important as well.
You may have health conditions such as ear or eye complications that could lead to potentially dangerous falls. It is important that your doctor knows about current or previous health conditions. Also, he might run tests to determine whether you have medical conditions that you may not know about.
Did you know exercising can actually hinder accidents in the home? How? It helps to make your shin bones stronger. As you get older, many times, the shin muscles aren’t used as often. This results in an activity where you shuffle your feet, and this leads to more accidental falls.
Your doctor may suggest that you exercise with Tai Chi. This involves moving in graceful dance movements. They are slow and gentle, but they help strengthen weak shins. He could also suggest that you walk around the block or take senior water aerobics classes.
The good thing is that initiating this gentle type of exercise can aid in fall prevention. But then again, exercise is good for you, even if it doesn’t cut down on your fall accidents. Exercise makes you healthier and more flexible in the long run.
If standing exercises are cause for concern, ask your doctor to suggest exercise programs that can be performed in a chair or in other monitored locations such as in a clinic or gym.
Footwear greatly impacts your feet as well as your body. High heels can negatively impact your body balance. The same thing can be said for flip-flops and floppy house shoes. These are all shoes that can make you fall down more.
But then again, shoes with slippery soles can also make you slip and slide all over the floor. This is why it is best to purchase non-skid or non-slip footwear.
A lot of seniors like to wear socks or go barefoot, but this too is a very risky move. This is especially the case if your home doesn’t have carpet. Purchase socks and shoes that are skid resistant.
There are different types of hazards in all homes. Think about the ones that are present in your home and try to get rid of them all. Become proactive about fall prevention and eliminate as many of these hazards as possible. For instance, electrical and phone cords are hazardous if they are in a location where you can walk through them. Simple things such as boxes and newspapers are also hazardous if they are left in places where you can trip over them and fall.
Move personal belongings to places in the home where you can walk around them instead of through them. For instance, coffee tables, plant stands, and magazine racks can be positioned where you won’t have to encounter them every time you walk from room to room. Put them as close to the sofa as possible.
Save space and cut down on accidents by putting little items such as magazines and books under the coffee table. Also, consider getting rid of rugs or tacking them down so that you don’t stumble over them.
The goal is to increase fall prevention by securing loose items within your home. This includes things such as floor coverings, floorboards, and even carpeting. The goal is to either secure it or get rid of it.
Consider using nonslip bath mats or purchasing those that actually stick to the bathtub bottom. Also, think about your bathing situation. Get a shower chair or remodel your bathroom so that it includes a walk-in tub.
Improving the lighting in your home can also cut down on accidents. Always turn on the light when you walk into a new room. Yes, you may know every nook and cranny in your home, but it is best to be safe than sorry. Make sure that you can see everything before walking into a room.
If you don’t like bright lights because of your eyes, then consider getting night lights in the hallways or putting lamps in various places throughout the house. You could also put dimmer switches on different lights.
If your neighborhood loses power quite frequently, then put flashlights all through the home so that you can get to one very quickly. Purchase flashlights that plug into the wall socket. These work wonderfully as night lights. But the main thing is that they are always charged for when you really need them.
Sometimes senior care involves being able to step into their shoes before you can properly care for them. View the world as to how they see it. When you think about it, caring for an elderly loved one is just like caring for a child. You have to go through the home and make sure that everything is safe for them.
The difference is that seniors want to live in their own homes instead of in an assisted living community. This means that you must account for each person’s needs and how their home can accommodate those needs. Is there enough physical space and is it properly secured? Consider your loved one’s medical challenges when securing their home. Does he or she have decreased mobility, diminishing eyesight or hearing? This means taking special precautions to ensure that each room is free of hazards.
-Each room must have adequate lighting. Put as many light switches in the home as possible.
-Put light switches as close to doors as possible. Your loved one should be able to turn on the light before walking into the room.
-Put bright lights in dark places such as foyers, hallways, stairs, and corners.
-Put night lights in locations such as hallways, foyers, stairs, bathrooms and even bedrooms. Place flashlights in frequented spots such as their favorite chair. Purchase table lamps that are easy to turn off and on and place them in various places throughout the home.
-Ensure all flooring has a good grip. Slippery floors should be covered with rubber flooring. If you cannot afford new flooring, use non-skid wax on slippery flooring.
-Remove rugs because seniors can slip and fall on them.
-Make sure all stairways have dual railings.
-Make sure the home has ramps instead of steps. Put them above the door sill or remove them so that wheelchair access is available.
-Make sure handrails are installed on each side of a hallway or staircase.
-Put grab bars in the bathroom in places such as in the shower or near the toilet. Also, install bath mats that stick to the bathtub. Bath rugs should be anti-slip.
-Add bath stools and chairs.
-Make it easy for your loved one to reach everything with ease.
-Ensure that the tube is skid-proof.
-Ensure the faucets are properly marked with both hot and cold taps.
-Ensure door locks are easy to lock and unlock from both the inside and outside of the door.
-Make sure the kitchen has numerous choices of foods that are easy to open, heat and reheat.
-Make sure food is rotated so that it does not spoil. Watch the expiration dates.
-Ensure utensils are safe and within easy reach.
-Put sharp items such as knives out of reach. Also, when they are not used, make sure that they are stored in racks.
-Put heavier kitchen items at waist level.
-Replace heavy dishes and glassware with unbreakable items.
-Separate hazardous items from food items.
-Inspect all medication. Make sure all required medication is on hand.
-Take your loved one to his or her scheduled doctor appointments.
-Make sure all medication is clearly labeled.
-Get rid of expired medication.
-Ensure all medication is dispensed or bubble packed.
-Ensure all alarm systems such as smoke detectors work. Replace batteries when necessary.
-Make sure the home has an accessible fire extinguisher.
-Ensure there is a buddy system or medical alert system set in place.
-Attach rubber tips to all walking support items. This helps with fall prevention and cuts down on skid and slip accidents.
-Remove all clutter from the home. Try to eliminate low furniture such as footstools and coffee tables. These items increase the possibility trip and fall accidents.
-Remove low furniture from all hallways or other high trafficked areas. Also, get rid of loose cables and cords that could be hazardous in these areas.
The goal is to allow your loved one to live freely within his own home. This means ensuring home safety and monitoring activities from a safe distance. Consider hiring a home care aide to help you with this responsibility. Not only will this help your loved one keep his independence, but it will also provide emotional and moral support. This could include anything from helping them with simple spills to rising out of their chair. Help loved ones enjoy life comfortable and safely on their own terms, within their own home.
Heart attacks are responsible for one in five deaths. Although not all heart attacks are fatal, there are factors that can increase your risk of dying. However, it is not impossible to survive a heart attack, and appropriate steps may help you avoid one entirely. You can increase your chance of a longer, healthier life.
What Is A Heart Attack?
Myocardial infarction occurs when the blood supply to the heart muscle is suddenly lost. This generally occurs when a blood clot creates a blockage in a coronary artery. When this artery cannot supply nutrients and blood to the person’s heart muscle, it results in the death of the muscle.
Symptoms Of A Heart Attack
Many people believe excruciating pain is the main, if not the only symptom of heart attacks. While chest pain can occur, it is not the only symptom. You can experience a heart attack with or without chest pain. In fact, women are less likely than men to experience chest pain during a heart attack.
Men and women alike can experience other unusual symptoms in their chests. A common example is a sense of pressure. You may feel as if something very heavy is on your chest. You may also feel an aching, squeezing, or tight sensation. You may feel these sensations spreading to your back, neck, arms, or jaw.
Heart attacks are often accompanied by unusual perspiration. You may break out in a cold sweat. You may feel pain in your abdomen, or experience heartburn, indigestion, or nausea. You may experience sudden lightheadedness, dizziness, or fatigue. Shortness of breath is another common symptom of a heart attack.
In some cases, heart attacks occur suddenly, with no symptoms or warning signs at all. Many individuals, though, do experience symptoms. You may have one or more warning signs days or even weeks before a heart attack happens. Often, recurring chest pain is the first sign that something is terribly wrong. You may feel pain after physical exertion, and it may disappear after you rest. As this can be the first sign of an approaching heart attack, never ignore this symptom. Obtain medical help immediately.
What To Do If You Have A Heart Attack When You Are Alone
What you do when you are having a heart attack can save your life. If you are alone, immediately call for an ambulance. Surviving a heart attack is only one reason you should have a fully-charged cell phone or a medical alert device with you at all times. Do not try to drive yourself to the hospital, and do not seek assistance from a neighbor. Only a trained paramedic or EMT can provide the medical assistance you need on the way to the hospital.
If you experience a heart attack while driving, stop the car immediately. Unconsciousness can occur quickly.
If you are not taking medication that interacts with aspirin, slowly chew one aspirin tablet. Aspirin works as a blood thinner and can stop the blood clot from growing. Use a non-coated aspirin, and take it with a cool glass of water. The aspirin will get into your bloodstream faster if you chew or crush it. If you swallow it whole, it will take longer to work. You cannot afford to waste time when you are having a heart attack. Do not forget to inform the paramedics that you have taken an aspirin.
As heart attacks progress faster when you are physically active, relax your body. Cooling your body temperature is another important step to increase your chance of survival. You can place cool cloths on your wrists or in your armpits.
Risk Factors For Heart Attacks
Anyone can experience a heart attack, but you should know if you have issues that increase your risk. While not all risk factors can be changed, there are some that you can change.
Age increases your risk of a heart attack. Men who are over 45 and women who are over 55 are in a higher risk category.
Tobacco smoke is a risk factor. This includes smoke from your own cigarettes and second-hand smoke from other people.
High blood cholesterol levels and high blood pressure both damage your arteries.
Diabetics have a higher risk than non-diabetics.
Your family history can be a risk factor. This includes a grandparent, parent, or sibling who had an early heart attack. If a close male relative had a heart attack before age 55, or a female relative had one before age 65, you are in a higher risk category.
Obesity, in general, increases your risk, but your risk can be even higher if the excess weight is on your abdomen.
A sedentary lifestyle increases your risk. Another risk factor is difficulty coping with stress. Individuals who use illegal stimulant drugs are also at a higher risk of heart attacks.
A diet that is high in salt, cholesterol or saturated fats can increase the risk of a heart attack.
Heart Health: Heart Attack Prevention For Seniors
Often, it is not impossible to prevent a heart attack. Prevention can begin by reducing risk factors that are within your ability to control. You should not wait until you are experiencing symptoms of a heart attack to make healthy changes in your life. Now is the time to make heart health a priority.
Take an active, responsible role in your own health care. If you do not have any health problems, make and keep annual appointments with your personal physician. Visit more often if he advises you to do so. Cooperate with tests and medications, and take time to do your own research. As family history is second only to age as a risk factor, make sure your doctor knows if anyone in your family had a heart attack.
If you smoke, give up the habit. Make your home smoke-free so you are not exposed to second-hand smoke.
Choose a diet that is good for your heart. Restrict the sodium in your diet. It is not enough to avoid adding salt to your food. Many foods that are ready to heat and serve are high in sodium. Read labels before buying canned, boxed, or frozen foods.
Reduce foods that are high in cholesterol, saturated fats, and trans fatty acids. Your heart will be healthier if your diet is not based on fast foods, whole-fat dairy products, and red meat. Instead, choose dairy products that are low fat or fat-free, poultry, and fish. Fish provides the extra benefit of Omega-3 fatty acids. Cold water, oily fish are especially good for your heart.
Have plenty of foods that are high in nutrients and fiber. Build your diet around legumes, fresh vegetables, and fresh fruits. Eat oatmeal and whole-grain foods.
Too much sugar is bad for your heart. Avoid snacks, desserts, and beverages with empty calories. Instead of sugary treats, snack on nuts and seeds. Drink fresh fruit juice instead of carbonated beverages.
Avoid alcohol unless you drink in moderation. Women should not have more than one drink each day, and men should have no more than two.
The way you prepare and serve meals matters, too. You may be adding unhealthy fat and calories to your diet without realizing it. If you normally use fat for cooking, choose olive oil or vegetable oil instead of butter, margarine, or grease. You can avoid fat for cooking altogether by changing your cooking methods. Bake, broil, or boil the food instead of frying. If you use mayonnaise or butter at the table, replace it with fresh lemon juice.
A heart-healthy diet is nutritious, but it can also help you lose weight. Obesity is a significant risk factor for heart attacks. If a balanced diet that is low in fat and calories does not help you achieve your weight loss goals, ask your doctor for advice. Avoid diet pills and fad diets, and focus on nutrition. When you reach and maintain your ideal weight, it can keep your heart healthy.
Daily exercise is essential for seniors who want healthy hearts. If you are not accustomed to exercise, it does not need to be extreme. Walking is an easy form of exercise. You can walk outdoors, or around the mall. The key to making exercise work for you is to do it every day. Devote at least one-half hour each day to physical activity.
Reduce the stress in your life. If you think about it, there are situations that cause anxiety, anger, or worry that you can actually avoid. As it is impossible to eliminate all stress, stress-reduction techniques can be useful. A warm bath, reading, and yoga are some examples.
If you have a health condition that increases your risk of a heart attack, cooperate fully with your physician. Common examples include high blood pressure or cholesterol, and diabetes.
If you are a senior and live alone, consider hiring a home care aide. There are many ways an aide can help you stay healthy and happy during your older years.
Non-medical aides are excellent companions for seniors. This is especially important if you do not have family members or close friends nearby. Talking to your aide about anything that is bothering you will relieve much of your stress. Your aide will enjoy hearing about you and your life, including your past. You can relive joyful times and sad times with someone who listens and cares. With an aide, you will not have the burden of loneliness. You can have a more active life, and participate in the community. You will love to share good times with your home care aide.
Aging in place is easier with a home care aide, too. Even if you are healthy, your aide can assist with chores. She can prepare tasty, nutritious meals for you, and make sure you have a well-balanced diet. Your aide can remind you to take medication on time. If you need help with light housekeeping, you will see your home is neat, clean, and fresh. Your aide can also help with errands, such as picking up items at the grocery store, or taking mail to the post office.
While all of these factors can help you stay healthier and happier, there is an additional reason to consider hiring a non-medical home care aide. The worst time to be alone is when an emergency situation occurs. It can also be the most dangerous time. If you have a heart attack, for example, you may panic and not know what to do, or you may lose consciousness before you can call for help. In a situation where fast, appropriate action is needed to save your life, surviving a heart attack can depend on your home care aide.
Your aide is trained to deal with medical emergencies. However, while prompt care can help you survive a heart attack, there are other reasons it is beneficial to have an aide present during an emergency. She can call for an ambulance, and she can help you stay calm and comfortable until the ambulance arrives. You will have a better chance of surviving, and a heart attack will not be such a frightening experience when your home care aide is with you.
Enjoy Your Senior Years With A Healthy Heart
When you are healthy, you can enjoy your life. Heart health is a top example. When your heart is healthy, you can be more active. You can have peace of mind instead of constant worry.
Whether you are elderly or in your early senior years, you should not hesitate to take steps to become healthier. Many of the health risks you currently have can be changed. Only a few changes in your everyday life can make a difference.
A home care aide can make a difference, too. When you have an aide, you can avoid loneliness, and chores will be completed when you cannot do them yourself. Equally important, you will have someone with you if you do experience an emergency. You will know you are with a capable, responsible person who cares about you and will help in any emergency situation.
Dementia is basically an umbrella term that encompasses a group of disorders characterized by misperception, memory problems, disorientation, mental confusion and in some cases, behavioral problems. At this point, it is important to note that dementia is not a normal sign of aging. According to researchers, there are more than 50 underlying causes of dementia, including diseases such as stroke, head injuries and Alzheimer’s disease. While each dementia type has its own unique features, they all cause brain cells to die quicker than normal. As a result, dementia patients often suffer from judgment, personality and memory problems.
Dementia typically progresses slowly in three stages (early, middle and late stage). As it slowly damages the brain, it causes substantial impairment in cognition and thinking, interfering with a patient’s ability to live independently.
According to the World Health Organization, about 50 million patients suffer from dementia worldwide. Out of these, about 35 million suffer from Alzheimer’s dementia, which is the sixth leading cause of death among seniors in the US. In fact, the Alzheimer’s Association says that one out of every three seniors in America dies with dementia. Even worse, the WHO expects this number to double and triple by 2030 and 2050, respectively. What’s more, dementia is the main cause of dependency in seniors, putting a severe strain on the nation’s healthcare system. Currently, dementia costs the US healthcare system an estimated $600 billion annually. With that in mind, here is a detailed look at dementia.
Types of Dementia
As mentioned above, dementia is a collective name for a group of mental disorders. The most common types of dementia include:
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD)
Caused by the accumulation of a toxic protein called prion in the brain, CJD is a fatal but rare type of dementia that affects only about 300 seniors (age 60 and older) annually in the US. Prions damage the brain, causing it to shrink. CJD progresses rapidly, moving from the initial stage to the final stage within a year or so of onset. The disease can be spread through direct contact with infected body fluids.
Some of the most common CJD symptoms include:
• Poor balance and coordination
• Personality changes
• Visual impairment, cognitive impairment and inability to make judgments
• Muscle jerks (myoclonus), which can eventually cause blindness
In the late stage, patients experience loss of mobility and can become comatose.
There is currently no treatment for CJD.
Huntington’s disease (HD) is a genetic disease that causes progressive brain damage, causing the loss of physical, intellectual and memory abilities.
Some of the common symptoms associated with Huntington’s disease include slurred speech personality changes, significant weight loss, mood swings, depression, forgetfulness and impaired judgment, anxiety, depression, myoclonus, and difficulty swallowing. It is worth noting that these symptoms typically appear between the ages of 30 and 50 and get progressively worse over a 10 to 15 year period. Moreover, the common causes of death from HD are an inability to swallow, slip-and-fall injuries and pneumonia.
HD Risk Factors
Because HD is an hereditary disease, a child born to parents with HD has a 50% chance of inheriting the disease.
To diagnose HD, doctors typically review a patient’s family medical history, perform a neurological and psychiatric exam, as well as ask the patient certain questions in order to judge the patient’s mental status, coping skills, reflexes, mood, and memory.
You can prevent HD through genetic testing and taking the necessary preventative measure if you or your partner carry the Huntington’s gene.
Frontal Temperal Dementia (FTD)
This disease affects the temporal and frontal lobes of the brain. These are the parts of the brain responsible for processing sensory input and memories, as well as cognitive skills, such as problem-solving skills.
Patients often exhibit antisocial behavior, impulsiveness, speech impairment and memory problems.
To lessen the undesired behaviors associated with FTD and ease FTD symptoms, doctors often use behavior modification therapy and antidepressants.
Caused by the accumulation of a snipped protein called amyloid-ß (amyloid beta) in the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for memory, Alzheimer’s dementia is a neurodegenerative condition that damages brain cells, leading to cognitive decline and memory loss. In particular, this condition interferes with a specific type of neuron synchrony called gamma rhythm. It starts mild and gets progressively worse. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5 million Americans currently have some type of Alzheimer’s disease, making it the most common type of dementia in the US. Worldwide, about 60 to 70% of patients who have dementia have Alzheimer’s disease, too, according to figures from the WHO.
The main causes of Alzheimer’s disease include stroke, head injuries, brain tumor, infections to the brain, lifestyle and environmental factors.
Alzheimer’s symptoms generally depend on the stage of the disease. More specifically, the early stage of the disease is typically characterized by confusion and short-term memory loss. The symptoms of the middle stage of Alzheimer’s dementia include constant questioning, slurred speech, communication and language difficulty, tremors and difficulty performing regular tasks. The final stage is characterized by long-term memory loss, emotional and physical instability and major personality changes.
Currently, there are no effective treatment options for Alzheimer’s disease because researchers do not yet know enough about the underlying biology of the disease. This is due to a number of reasons. Firstly, researchers are yet to understand how amyloid-ß plaques and tau tangles accumulate in the hippocampus or why the progression of the disease varies from one patient to another. Secondly, Alzheimer’s symptoms typically develop slowly over time, preventing the timely diagnosis of the disease before the brain undergoes irreversible neurodegenerative changes. Thirdly, Alzheimer’s may coexist with types of dementia such as vascular dementia. Finally, researchers are yet to manufacture Alzheimer’s drugs that can effectively cross the blood-brain barrier.
Caused by both large and small strokes in the brain, this is the second most common type of dementia after Alzheimer’s dementia. In essence, this condition occurs when the blood vessels that supply the brain with oxygen-rich blood are damaged, depriving the brain of enough oxygen. This means that brain injuries, tumors, and brain infections can also cause vascular dementia.
Diagnosis typically involves MRI screening as well as assessments of a patient’s cognitive functions.
The risk factors for vascular dementia include age (seniors age 60 and older are at a greater risk), gender (men are at a greater risk compared to women) heart disease, stroke and vasculitis.
Some of the common symptoms of vascular dementia include communication and language difficulty, confusion, disorientation, trouble understanding speech, emotional instability and partial vision loss.
Similar to other types of dementia, there is no cure for vascular dementia now. However, there are medications that improve a patient’s quality of life.
Caused by the accumulation of a protein called alpha-synuclein, Parkinson’s dementia manifests symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s dementia and can occur after years of having Parkinson’s disease. According to the National Parkinson’s Foundation, about 1 million Americans are currently living with Parkinson’s dementia. Out of those, 50 to 80% will Parkinson’s disease dementia. Moreover, the Alzheimer’s Association says that patients with Parkinson’s disease are six times more likely to develop dementia compared with patients without Parkinson’s dementia.
The risk factors for Parkinson’s dementia include gender, ethnicity, age, genetics, head injuries and environmental factors, such as exposure to toxins.
The common symptoms of Parkinson’s dementia include declining memory functions, tremors, slow shuffling gait, muscle rigidity, gait disturbance, bradykinesia, hallucinations, depression, anxiety, trouble interpreting visual information, sleep disturbances, and personality and behavioral changes.
The diagnosis of Parkinson’s dementia involves MRI screening and lab tests and a thorough physical examination.
There is no specific treatment for this condition currently. However, certain medications including cholineesterase (acetylcholinesterase) inhibitors, L-opa, antidepressants (SSRI) and Clonasepam can help stop the progression of the disease and the symptoms.
Lewy Body Dementia (LBD)
LBD is a Parkinson’s-like condition that often causes hallucinations, balance problems, and confusion. In other words, it causes function and cognitive impairments. It is worth noting that LBD is the second common cause of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. This condition is characterized by the presence of Lewy bodies in the cerebral cortex.
Lewy bodies are essentially small clusters of proteins, mainly alpha-synuclein protein, which occurs naturally in the brain and other body tissues and organs including the heart and muscles. In nerve cells, alpha-synuclein protein plays a role in the release of neurotransmitters, allowing nerves to communicate with each other effectively. This means that it perfectly healthy to have small amounts of alpha-synuclein in your body. However, when this protein is deformed due to mutation or damage, it clumps together, forming Lewy bodies, which eventually cause Lewy body dementia.
Some of the symptoms associated with LBD include confusion, concentration problems, hallucinations, tremors. stiffness and difficulty in walking, declining memory functions, sleep disturbances, and personality and behavioral changes, communication and language difficulty and bradykinesia.
The diagnosis of LBD involves a thorough physical examination.
Similar to other types of dementia, there is no current cure for LBD. Moreover, LBD patients tend to have a severe sensitivity to most antipsychotic drugs, which are used to manage hallucinations.
The risk factors for LBD include age (seniors are at a greater risk for LBD than young people), gender (affects more men than women), and genetics.
How to Cope With a Loved One Suffering from Dementia
Because dementia gradually diminishes a person’s mental and cognitive abilities, a dementia patient typically has difficulty understanding others, as well as expressing thoughts and emotions. Here are some tips to help you communicate with a loved one sufferings from dementia.
• When communicating with your loved one, always ensure you create a “kind voice.” To do this, speak gently and smile while you talk. At the same time, be sure to talk slowly and clearly.
• To orient your loved one and get his/her attention, always call your loved one by his/her name. To avoid startling your loved one, always approach your loved one from the front. Additionally, always tell your loved one who you are, even if your child or spouse.
• Avoid asking your loved one multiple questions at a time. Instead, ask hi/her one question at a time. At the same time, use short phrases and simple words, refrain from using reason and logic and more importantly, avoid asking, “Do you remember when…?” type of questions. Additionally, do not get impatient if your loved fails to respond to your questions immediately. Instead, be patient and allow him/her extra time to process your question. If he/she fails to respond after a reasonable amount of time, you may repeat your question, but be ensure to use a gentle voice and friendly tone.
• When having a conversation with your loved one, don’t interrupt, criticize, correct or argue with him/her. At the same time, let your loved one know you are listening and trying to understand the message. To do this, always maintain good eye contact and show the person you care about what he/she is saying.
• In case your loved one says something mean to you, do not take it personally. Instead, focus on your loved one’s feelings, not the negative information. You should understand that dementia may cause your loved one’s personality to change, causing him/her to be emotionally unstable and exhibit antisocial behavior. Because of this, your loved one might say some hurtful things to you. When this happens, simply let it go.
• As a home care aide, always allow your loved one to think about and describe whatever he/she wants. If he/she uses the wrong word or cannot find a word, try guessing what he/she wants. If you’re unable to understand what your loved one wants, ask him/her to gesture or point.
Some of the things you should avoid when caring for your loved one with dementia include:
• Avoid overstimulating your loved one. This could be in the form of too much physical activity without rest breaks or other activates such as quizzing. Overstimulation is a problem because it could easily overwhelm your loved one’s ability to cope, causing your loved one to become combative and more resistant to you. Additionally, it makes your loved one more prone to accident, including slip-and-fall accidents.
• As a caregiver, you should avoid being overprotective of your loved one. In fact, unless it’s a big safety issue, allow your loved one to do what he/she wants. This is particularly important because your loved-one may have lost his ability to make good judgment. However, if you treat your loved one as a child, he/she may see you as the unreasonable and become argumentative, combative, or resistant to you.
• Do not force your loved one to do things that he/she does not want to do.
• Avoid giving your loved one multiple choices. This is important because your loved one may have lost his/her ability to make decisions, as well as intellectual and cognitive abilities.
Although currently available medications, including acetylcholinesterase inhibitors and glutamate (memantine), temporarily manage the symptoms of dementia, they do cure the disease. Because of this, new treatment options are focused on slowing or reversing the disease process itself, by targeting the underlying biology. Fortunately, researchers have made promising breakthroughs in this area in the recent past. Current research in this field includes:
Optogenetic stimulation is a non-invasive procedure that uses flickering light to destroy amyloid beta protein, preventing brain damage, particularly in the hippocampus region. Previous research on light-therapy as a treatment for dementia has not produced the desired results. However, in late 2017, Dr. Li-Huei Tsai of the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT and her team used optogenetics to correct the gamma rhythm in the hippocampus of genetically modified mice with Alzheimer’s disease. By stimulating brain neurons in the 40 Hz range, at the optimal gamma rhythm amplitude, the researchers were able to correct the gamma rhythm in Alzheimer’s mice by activating genes in brain cells called microglia. Microglia are part of the brain’s immune system and function in part to ingest or clear away microorganisms that might cause disease.
Optogenetic stimulation (flickering light to restore the gamma rhythm and reduce the levels of amyloid beta) at the 40 Hz range activated microglia to promote the clearance of amyloid beta.
The 40 Hz flickering light caused enhanced gamma rhythm neuronal activity and reduced amyloid beta levels by over 50% in the visual cortex. In addition, the 40 Hz flickering light treatment caused microglia in Alzheimer’s mice to become more active and dramatically increase in size by engulfing amyloid beta.
Researchers at the Washington University have developed a compound called tau antisense oligonucleotides that, according to the researchers, stops the producing of tau protein in the brains of dementia patients. The researchers claim that this compound could possibly prevent and reverse the side effects caused by the tau protein. When present in the brain in large quantities, tau protein causes the brain to undergo neurodegenerative changes.
Immunotherapy involves creating antibodies that bind to the protein clumps in the brain, including amyloid-ß and tau proteins, marking them for destruction by a range of mechanisms. For example, a synthetic antibody called aducanumab that targets amyloid-ß has shown promise in clinical trials. Currently, this antibody is in its third and final clinical trial phase.
Ultra Sound Therapy
Ultrasound therapy entails using ultrasound to open the blood-brain barrier temporarily, allowing doctors to introduce therapeutic antibodies into the brain. This is important because, according to researchers such as Jürgen Götz of the Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research at the University of Queensland, only about 0.1% of antibodies (both natural and synthetic) enter the brain.
Researchers at the Clem Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research at the University of Queensland have successfully used this technique in lab mice. Using this treatment technique, the researchers were able to clear toxic plaque buildup in the brain of test mice. According to the researchers involved in this study, combining an antibody fragment treatment with ultrasound is more effective in eliminating plaque buildup from the brain and improving dementia symptoms than either treatment option alone.
Dementia is not one disease but a collective name for a group of mental disorders that characterized by the destruction of brain cells. These disorders include Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), Huntington’s Disease, Frontal Temporal Dementia (FTD), Alzheimer’s Dementia, Vascular Dementia, Parkinson’s Dementia and Lewy Body Dementia (LBD). Although dementia is commonly associated with aging, it is not a normal stage of aging. In fact, dementia can affect virtually anyone irrespective of a person’s age. Some of the common causes of dementia include brain injuries, brain infections, accumulation of certain proteins in the brain, certain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and brain tumors. Because there are different types of dementia, it is important to know which type of dementia a patient. This information helps to identify the symptoms and make a timely diagnosis. To manage the condition effectively, doctors recommend seeking medical advice as soon as the symptoms start to develop.
The risk factors for dementia include age, genetics, gender, and ethnicity. The common symptoms of dementia include communication and language difficulty, confusion, disorientation, trouble understanding speech, emotional instability. Dementia is a progressive condition that starts with short-term memory loss. Its rate of progress varies from one individual to another. Additionally, different stages of the disease manifest different symptoms. Currently, there is no cure for dementia, but there are medications for easing the symptoms. Because of this, dementia is one of the leading causes of death among seniors in the US. Additionally, dementia is a big burden on the nation’s healthcare system. Thankfully, researchers have made breakthroughs in finding a cure for dementia. Some of the possible treatment options that scientists are currently testing include ultrasound therapy, immunotherapy, antisense oligonucleotides and optogenetic stimulation, a non-invasive technique that uses flashing lights to reset the gamma rhythm to its optimum frequency.