Men’s Health Month: Prioritizing Wellness For Senior Men

June is Men’s Health Month and we’re dedicating some time to raising awareness about the health issues that specifically affect men and encouraging them to take proactive steps toward better health. For senior men, maintaining wellness is crucial for enjoying a high quality of life and preserving independence. At Community Home Healthcare, we are committed to supporting senior men in their journey toward optimal health. Here’s how to prioritize wellness for senior men and make the most of Men’s Health Month:

Understanding Senior Men’s Health

Did you know that men are significantly less likely than women to seek preventative care services? They are also more likely to report not having a primary care provider. In fact, the life expectancy of men in the U.S. is around 73 years old, almost six years less than that of women.

The goal of Men’s Health Month is to encourage men to take control of their health by adopting healthier lifestyles and seeking regular medical care. For senior men, this awareness is especially important as the risk of chronic diseases and other health issues increases with age.

Key Areas of Wellness for Senior Men

Regular Medical Check-Ups

Why: Regular medical check-ups are vital for early detection and management of health issues. Senior men should have routine screenings for conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and prostate cancer.

What: Schedule annual visits with a primary care physician and keep up with recommended screenings.

Physical Activity

Why: Staying physically active helps maintain mobility, strength, and cardiovascular health. Exercise also has mental health benefits, reducing the risk of depression and anxiety.

What: Engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. Activities can include walking, swimming, or yoga.

Balanced Diet

Why: A nutritious diet is crucial for maintaining overall health, managing weight, and preventing chronic diseases. Senior men should focus on a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.

What: Incorporate a variety of nutrient-dense foods into daily meals and limit the intake of processed foods, sugars, and unhealthy fats.

Mental Health

Why: Mental health is just as important as physical health. Senior men are at risk for conditions like depression and anxiety, which can significantly impact their quality of life.

What: Stay socially connected, engage in hobbies, and seek professional help if experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety.

Medication Management

Why: Proper management of medications is essential for controlling chronic conditions and preventing adverse effects.

What: Keep an updated list of medications, take them as prescribed, and consult with healthcare providers regularly to review their effectiveness and potential side effects.

Preventive Care

Why: Preventive care, including vaccinations and routine health screenings, helps detect potential health issues early and keeps the immune system strong.

What: Ensure vaccinations are up to date and follow through with preventive health screenings.

Community Home Healthcare & Senior Men’s Health

At Community Home Healthcare, we understand the unique health needs of senior men and provide comprehensive home care services to support their wellness goals. Our dedicated caregivers are trained to assist with a variety of tasks, including:

Personal Care: Assistance with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and grooming to maintain personal hygiene and dignity.

Meal Preparation: Preparing nutritious meals tailored to dietary needs and preferences.

Medication Reminders: Helping manage medications to ensure they are taken as prescribed.

Exercise Assistance: Encouraging and assisting with physical activities to promote mobility and strength.

Companionship: Providing social interaction and emotional support to enhance mental well-being.

Health Monitoring: Depending on the type of caregiver you have, they may be qualified to regularly check vital signs and monitor health conditions to catch any changes early.

By incorporating these wellness strategies and utilizing the support of Community Home Healthcare, senior men can lead healthier, more fulfilling lives. This Men’s Health Month, take the initiative to prioritize wellness and encourage the senior men in your life to do the same. For more information about our services and how we can help, contact us today. Together, we can make a significant impact on the health and well-being of our community’s senior men.

Spring Cleaning For Seniors: Creating a Safe and Comfortable Home Environment

As the days grow warmer and spring approaches full bloom, it’s time to embark on the age-old tradition of spring cleaning. But for seniors, this yearly ritual goes beyond just tidying up; it’s about creating a safe and comfortable home environment where your loved one can thrive.

The Benefits

Promoting Safety: Clutter and disorganization can pose safety hazards for seniors, increasing the risk of trips, falls, and accidents. By decluttering and organizing the home, seniors can move around more freely and safely.

Improving Air Quality: Dust, allergens, and pollutants can accumulate indoors during the winter months, exacerbating respiratory issues for seniors. The dusting, vacuuming, and airing out the home helps improve indoor air quality and promote better respiratory health.

Reducing Stress: A clean and organized living space can have a positive impact on mental well-being. For seniors, a clutter-free environment can reduce stress, anxiety, and feelings of overwhelm, contributing to overall happiness and peace of mind.

Spring Cleaning Guide

Decluttering: Start by going through each room and getting rid of items that are no longer needed or used. Donate, sell, or discard items responsibly.

Deep Cleaning: Once the clutter is removed, focus on deep cleaning tasks such as dusting, vacuuming, mopping, and washing windows.

Organizing: Use baskets, bins, and shelves to keep belongings organized and easily accessible. Labeling items can also help seniors locate things more efficiently.

Safety Checks: Perform safety checks throughout the home, ensuring that smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers are in working order. Replace batteries as needed.

Spring cleaning is an essential task for seniors to maintain a safe and comfortable living environment. It can be challenging for seniors to maintain cleanliness throughout the year, a Home Health Aide from Community Home Healthcare can help! Along with providing quality at-home care, our caregivers extend their assistance to household chores such as laundry, meal prepping, and tidying up.

If you or a loved one could benefit from help with daily tasks while aging in place, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at Community Home Healthcare to find the right care plan for you.

Tech & Seniors: They are more Closely Correlated than you Thought

Tech & Seniors: They are more closely correlated than you thought

When you think of technology, you may think of things like 4d movies, AI chatbots and teenagers.
You most likely would not associate technology with seniors. But technology is advancing every aspect of society- from waste disposal to wealth management- and senior care is not left out. Technology is transforming the landscape of senior care, providing innovative solutions that enhance the quality of life of seniors and improve their overall health outcomes.

Learn about some of the ways technology is impacting seniors and how you can utilize it to better care for yourself or the seniors in your care.

Telehealth:

With the advent of telehealth, seniors can receive medical consultations and treatment from the comfort of their homes. This is particularly important for seniors who have mobility issues or live in remote areas. Telehealth also provides easier access to specialists and reduces the need for hospitalization.

Wearables:

Wearable devices, such as fitness trackers and smartwatches, can help seniors monitor their health and wellness. An invaluable device for seniors, to wear on a lanyard or belt clip, is an emergency call button that they can press to send an emergency alert to designated contacts or emergency services. This can be especially useful in case of a medical emergency or if the senior feels unsafe. Devices may also track vital signs, activity levels, and sleep patterns, alerting seniors and caregivers to potential health issues.
If you or the senior in your care doesn’t have one already, consider purchasing and setting one up for 24/7 safety.

Medication management:

Technology has made medication management much easier for seniors. There are now medication reminder apps and automated pill dispensers that can help seniors take their medication on time and avoid missed doses- something very valuable at this stage of life when prescriptions are piling up but memory is slowing down.

Home automation:

Smart home technology can help seniors age in place safely and comfortably. For example, smart thermostats can regulate temperature and smart locks can secure homes.
Voice-activated assistants, such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple’s Siri, can be valuable tools for seniors to help them with daily tasks. For example, they can set reminders and alarms to help seniors remember important appointments, take their medication on time, or perform daily tasks.
Voice-activated assistants can be particularly beneficial for seniors with limited mobility, vision, or hearing. They can use them to help with simple tasks such as checking the weather or putting on some music. They can also provide a sense of companionship for seniors who live alone.
To ensure that seniors get the most out of voice-activated assistants, it’s important to set them up properly and provide training and support as needed.

Social connectivity:

Social isolation can have a negative impact on the health and well-being of seniors. However, due to their limited mobility, seniors may not be able to get out to see friends or family. With the advance of technology, seniors can easily stay connected with family and friends through social media such as Facebook, Whatsapp, and Twitter, video conferencing such as Zoom, Google Meet or Skype, and numerous other online platforms. With these technologies, seniors can enjoy speaking to their family and friends across the globe, ‘seeing’ their grandchildren grow up and staying updated with all the family news.

Overall, technology is providing innovative solutions that improve the quality of life for seniors and allow them to age in place with dignity and independence. As a senior citizen or a carer for one, make it your business to explore new aspects of technology and see what benefits you can gain from it.

At Community Home Health Care, we offer home health aides who can help you do just that. Find additional caregiver resources on our website, and explore a variety of timely topics such as medical assistance, personal care, and senior companionship.

Reach out to us today to learn more about our team of caring and experienced personal caregivers, registered nurses, and home health aides who expertly serve families just like yours. We’re here for you and are happy to assist your family at any time. Give us a call at (845) 425-6555 with any questions.

Prescription Drug Misuse: Ways to Avoid Misuse among the Elderly

Prescription Drug Misuse: Ways to Avoid Misuse among the Elderly

When people talk about addiction, the elderly age group is the last thing to come to mind.
However, you won’t be surprised to find that in the United States alone, over 40 % of prescription drugs are used by the elderly. And according to NCADI, over 17% of adults aged 55 and above misuse prescription medicines such as painkillers, sleeping pills, and sedatives.

Why seniors?

Many adults begin to experience significant body changes as they advance in age. Their bodies tend to have increased sensitivity or reactions to medications they were previously comfortably using. These reactions may include increased body pain, slowed metabolism, memory loss, and sleeping disorders.

Older adults are likely to misuse medical prescriptions accidentally. Due to various body complications resulting from aging, the elderly take more medications than other age groups to help them live a comfortable life. Chronic health conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease may result in combined prescriptions leading to higher exposure to addictive drugs.Over 50% of people aged 55-85 use prescription drugs over five times daily, increasing the risk of misuse.

Since our bodies’ ability to absorb medications slows down with age, seniors may become prone to addiction or experience adverse side effects from prescription drugs, even at a lower dosage.

Misuse of Prescription Medicines: how this plays out with older people

The elderly are among those most exposed to prescription abuse. They take more over-the-counter (OTC) tablets and prescribed medicines, and the potential to misuse them is higher by:

• Taking alcohol with medications

• Taking the medications for a prolonged period against the prescription

• Taking higher doses to reduce the pain or anxiety faster than the prescription

• Taking non-prescribed medications

• Using multiple medications at the same time, resulting in drug interactions

Common prescriptions drugs that are most likely to be misused by the elderly

Medications mostly used by seniors to relieve symptoms associated with anxiety, chronic pain, and insomnia have the highest potential of abuse resulting in addiction.
They include:

• Opioids

Opioids such as oxycodone and acetaminophen are commonly used to relieve or control pain. An older adult will likely become addicted by taking these medications for a prolonged period or in higher doses.

A person can develop feelings of euphoria after taking opioids in higher doses which may eventually lead to dependence and addiction, and even death.

• Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines such as Xanax, diazepam, and lorazepam relieve sleeping disorders, anxiety, and depression. An older adult may become addicted by self-medicating or taking higher doses than the prescription.

Signs to look out for if you suspect an elderly is misusing or abusing prescription drugs

Recognizing the signs of prescription drug misuse among the elderly can be complex. This is because the signs are sometimes similar to those associated with aging, such as feelings of confusion and loss of memory. Becoming familiar with your loved one’s medication routines and behaviors will help you to identify warning signs of medication abuse:

• Taking more pills than the prescription instructs. This is a definite red flag. You can confirm this by looking at the dosage instructions on the medication container to clarify whether or not they strictly follow the prescribed dose.

• Change in behavior or moods by becoming argumentative, secretive, or nervous.

• Giving a lot of excuses for taking excessive medications.

• Becoming remorseful or concerned about using the prescriptions.

• If the older person has been previously treated for substance abuse.

• Changing their physicians or drug stores should be a cause for alarm.

• Receiving similar prescriptions from more than two drug stores at the same time.

• Becoming agitated when you ask or talk about their prescription usage.

• Losing interest in fun activities that they once enjoyed.

• Hiding or sneaking medications is a common sign of drug misuse.

• Showing signs of confusion and forgetfulness.

• Showing signs of slowed reflexes and slurred speech.

• Becoming afraid of going out without taking the medication.

• Storing “extra” tablets in their pockets.

• Showing signs of decreased attention.

• Exhibiting repetitive behaviors.

Physical signs like dilated pupils, dry mouth, watery eyes, or itchy skin are also common signs of prescription misuse.

How you can help an older person to effectively manage their prescriptions:

As a caregiver or responsible family member, there are many ways you can help the senior in your care to manage their medications safely:

• Keep a close eye to ensure you know the type and reasons for taking the prescribed medications.

• Ensure the senior in your care follows the prescribed dosage consistently.

• Draw up a medication table or purchase a pill organizer to so it’s clear which medications, and how much, should be taken each day.

• Ask the relevant drug stores if they can provide all medications in compliance packaging. (That means they custom pack blister packs with the specific meds for each day & time of day that they need to be taken.)

• Offer painkillers or sedatives only when really needed and reduce/remove them as soon as possible.

• Seek alternative pain management methods in the case of long-term pain A pain management professional or therapist can be a great help, managing and reducing the pain so that your loved one needn’t depend on drugs.

• Frequently remind older people in your care to avoid taking alcohol when on medications such as opioids or sedatives.

• Ensure that your loved one has all their prescriptions with them when they attend their periodic health check-ups. This will help the doctor to have an up-to-date prescription record, avoiding further unnecessary prescriptions that could result in misuse.

• Keep a close watch on the older person in your care and help them with keeping track of their medications to help avoid prescription misuse. If you are not available for assistance due to a busy schedule, seek the services of a caregiver or professional.

• Finally, another option is to store medications in a place where a senior can’t access them, allowing them only when necessary.

How to help an elderly person suffering from prescription abuse

If you are suspicious that the senior in your care is misusing their prescriptions or have noted some warning signs as a result of medication abuse, you should contact their healthcare practitioner for immediate intervention. The doctor may book an appointment and ask you to take them for an evaluation.
If the practitioner diagnoses prescription abuse, they can devise a treatment procedure to help the patient overcome addiction. The practitioner may propose lower doses or change the medications to less addictive options to alleviate the symptoms of drug misuse.

Reach Out

Are you looking for more helpful resources? Community Home Health Care has a caring, experienced staff of trained in-home caregivers, including personal care aides and nurses, to help care for the elderly.
Get more insights about our caregiving services and networks and fill out the online form to receive more information about the medical, personal care, and companionship services we provide. You can call (845) 425-6555 with any questions, and we’ll be happy to assist.

7 Strategies to Cope With Anxiety for Caregivers (And Their Seniors)

7 Strategies to Cope With Anxiety for Caregivers (And Their Seniors)

Recent reports indicate that approximately 20 million people in the United States are struggling with anxiety and depression due to various reasons.

And as a caregiver, you stand a higher risk of struggling with anxiety than the ordinary person. This is because of the emotional and physical strength they utilize to give proper care to their loved ones. Hence, there is a great need to help caregivers cope with anxiety as they take care of seniors.

Providing round-the-clock care to an older person who depends on you for almost everything can be strenuous, even for the strongest person. As a caregiver, you may gradually develop anxiety resulting in anger outbursts, sadness, isolation, and exhaustion.

Caregivers’ anxiety and depression has become a silent health crisis, with reports stating that over twenty percent of caregivers are struggling with anxiety.

What are the Leading Causes of Anxiety for Caregivers?

The caregivers are tasked with many responsibilities to ensure that their loved ones, including the seniors, are comfortable with life. Besides, caregivers spend most of their time and energy offering care which may deprive them of enough sleep and time to do the things they love most in their personal lives.

At times, the caregivers may feel out of control, feelings of fear concerning their loved one’s physical well-being, and other financial strains. These emotions may eventually result in anxiety, which, if not care for in good time, may gradually develop into depression.

A caregiver’s shift in roles and emotions is bound to happen, leading to anger, frustration, exhaustion, sadness, and loneliness. Fortunately, our team has developed strategies to cope with anxiety for caregivers to help them lead mentally and physically stable lives.

Common Causes of the Seniors’ Increased Anxiety

America Association for Geriatric Psychiatry shows that 10-20% of older adults suffer from anxiety, which can adversely affect their lifestyle. However, there are various ways to help cope with the condition.

The most common causes are:

• Frequent worries about being reliant on others
• High cost of medical costs
• Grief
• Severe side effects from medications
• Separation and loneliness
• Limited mobility
• Chronic health conditions such as arthritis pain and diabetes

What Are The Signs of Anxiety in Caregivers and Seniors?

Anxiety signs may vary from one person to another. Typically, the following are the behavioral and mental signs of anxiety:

• Overwhelming feelings of panic and fear
• Compulsive thoughts or beliefs
• Responses that are disproportional to the triggering fear
• Nervousness
• Frequent feelings of agitation
• Loss of focus due to troubled memory
• Sleeping disorders (too much sleep or deprived sleep)
• Hallucinations
• Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
• Frequent bouts of fatigue
• Changes in weight (gain or loss)
• Alcohol or drug abuse, including prescriptions misuse

Most caregivers and the elderly suffering from anxiety may exhibit the following physical signs:

• Shortness of breath
• Fast heartbeats
• Hot flashes
• Shivers
• Constant headaches
• Dry mouth
• Frequent urination
• Nausea
• Extreme sweating
• Cold or sweaty hands

What are the Strategies to Cope with Anxiety for Caregivers and their Seniors?

Anxiety is considered challenging when it hampers your daily activities and eventually affects your health.

At Community Home Health Care, we advocate for mentally and physically stable caregivers and seniors as we strive to help them lead quality and enjoyable life.

We understand that the emotional and physical burdens that come with caregiving can consume a considerable energy even on the strongest person.

Our team has, therefore, prepared 7 strategies to cope with anxiety for caregivers as follows:

#1. Admit that you need help and ask for it

Caregiving can result in burnout, especially if you carry out your responsibilities alone. It would be best never to think you are imposing yourself on others when you ask for help.

It would help if you came up with a list of the needs that others can step in and lend a hand. You can start with relatives, close friends, or neighbors. Someone can choose to help you walk the senior or loved one around, help take care of your young children or family if you have one, and to run up your errands when you have limited time to do them yourself.

Besides, consider hiring in-house help to lend a hand when you feel overwhelmed. You can also arrange a day-care facility for the seniors and enjoy some free time away from caregiving responsibilities.

If you have anxiety, feel free to talk with your local physician. They can determine whether you need medication or refer you to a counselor for some therapy sessions.

#2. Give attention to what you are able to deliver

As a caregiver, you must understand that “no one is a perfect.” While its normal o suffer from guilt, you need to believe that you are offering the best services or decisions to the senior or loved one.

#3. Attend a Local Support Group

Most support groups provide a serene environment for caregivers to share their emotions and fears. The support groups offer emotional and moral support, and you get to meet other people who are also experiencing similar caregiving challenges.
Additionally, by joining a support group, you can acquire new coping strategies or skills to overcome your anxiety trigger as a caregiver as you create new friendships with people who understand what you are going through.

#4. Have personal realistic goals and pace yourself

Prioritize your tasks and do one thing at a time. Come up with a daily routine list, and don’t focus so much on activities that can drain your energy early in the day. You can give more attention to the tasks that must be done daily and plan other tasks when you have the time and energy to do them.
Setting realistic goals allows you to accomplish more tasks within a specified time frame and free yourself from burnout and emotional outbursts.

#5. Seek Respite Care

Respite care plays a significant role in providing short-term relief for caregivers. This helps them to have time off from their demanding duties and focus on their personal lives. The care can take place around your home, a day-care facility, or facilities that offer overnight stays.

#6. Have Personal Health Objectives

Due to the demanding nature of a caregiver’s job, you can set some health goals to boost your mental and physical health. You can create a sleep routine, time for exercises or walks, and a healthy diet.

#7. Stay connected

Working round-the-clock as a caregiver can lead to an isolated kind of life. You need to lookout for caregiver resources within your locality to enlighten yourself more about caregiving services.

Further, it would help if you remained connected with your family members, friends, and close people who can provide frequent emotional support when you feel overwhelmed.

Key Take away:

Anxiety can impact your life as a caregiver, which may aggravate and require medical attention. Many caregivers experience anxiety disorders caused by exhaustion and emotional outbursts.

While you cannot watch your loved ones or the elderly suffer, you can use the above strategies to cope with anxiety and live a balanced life. This will, in return, give you the strength to offer better care to your loved ones.

Remember, if you don’t take good care of yourself, you will not effectively provide care to someone else.

For more information about caregivers’ anxiety and depression, you can find numerous resources on our website.

You can also get in touch with us today and learn more about our team of caring and experienced personal caregivers, registered nurses, and home health aides who expertly serve families like yours. Call us at (845) 425-6555 with any questions.

Remember, if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to care for anyone else.

Winter Safety for Seniors

5 Tips for Helping Older Adults Stay Warm and Healthy.

While there is nothing as serene as sitting at the window watching the snow fall, the winter season brings along its host of challenges for all ages, as well. Icy walkways, compromised driving conditions and cold temperatures can cause a wide range of injuries for anyone, especially the senior population that is at higher risk for pneumonia, flu, and low immunity.

How can older adults take better care of themselves to avoid being affected by winter-related conditions? What can caregivers do to proactively protect seniors when the temperature drops? Here we’ve gathered 5 practical tips for keeping older adults safe, warm, and healthy throughout the coldest days of the year.

1. Winterize the home.

For seniors living independently at home, as opposed to being cared for in a nursing or assisted living facility, it is important to make sure that the rooms of their private home are properly insulated against drafts and leaks. Older windows or roofing can easily let unwanted cool air inside, as well as significantly compromise energy efficiency. Investing in weather stripping, caulking, gutter cleaning, and structural inspections can help ensure that your loved one’s home is protected and safe to withstand harsh winter conditions.

2. Dress Warmly to Avoid Hypothermia

Being properly outfitted both while inside and when outdoors is the first proactive step to take against temperature-related health conditions. Hypothermia can occur when the body temperature dips too much, which is below 95 degrees F, and can cause severe health problems like heart attack, liver damage, and worse. Being out in the cold for an extended period of time or even living in a home that is not properly heated can lead to hypothermia. It’s important for caregivers to be aware of the symptoms that indicate early onset or later stages of hypothermia and be vigilant in monitoring the conditions in which older adults are spending their time.

Early signs of hypothermia include:

  • Cold feet and hands
  • Puffy or swollen face
  • Pale skin
  • Shivering
  • Slower than normal speech or slurring words
  • Sleepiness
  • Being angry or confused

Later signs of hypothermia include:

  • Moving slowly, trouble walking, or being clumsy
  • Stiff and jerky arm or leg movements
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Slow, shallow breathing
  • Blacking out or losing consciousness

In an effort to avoid danger when heading outdoors, older adults are advised to layer themselves with warm socks, insulated boots, a heavy coat, a warm hat, gloves and a scarf. In locales with a very frigid climate, seniors should cover all exposed skin, especially the head, and use a scarf to cover their mouth, as well.

While in the house, caregivers should monitor the temperature in the rooms to make sure it is consistently between 68-75 degrees Fahrenheit and ensure seniors are well outfitted with several layers, using warm bed sheets, and have additional blankets on hand to use, as needed.

If you confirm via thermometer that your older loved one’s temperature has dipped below 95 degrees, seek medical assistance immediately.

3. Prevent snow-related injuries.

With muscle weakness and compromised strength, older adults are alway at a high risk of losing their balance and incurring a fall-related injury. Especially in icy and snowy conditions, it’s easy for anyone to slip and fall when outdoors in the winter, so extra caution is critical for older adults when walking on wet or icy sidewalks, and especially on stairs. Encourage your loved one to use handrails whenever possible or ask a friend, family member, or neighbor for extra support while walking outside. It is extremely dangerous for seniors with balance issues or osteoporosis to be out on wet or icy surfaces that compromise their steadiness. Strenuous activities like snow shoveling put too much strain on the heart, especially for seniors with chronic heart conditions. Establishing an outdoor maintenance plan that ensures prompt snow removal, salted ice, and cleared walkways is another proactive way to maintain senior safety in the winter.

4. Plan for senior safety on the roads.

If your loved one is independent enough to drive on their own, keep in mind that winter driving can be hazardous for anyone, and especially poses higher risks for older drivers who may not drive as much as they used to or whose reflexes are not as quick as they once were. Be sure you get your loved one’s car professionally inspected and serviced before winter arrives. Changing tail lights, tires, brakes and wipers can make a big difference on winter roads and prevent dangerous accidents in inclement weather. Also make sure your loved one’s roadside assistance plan is up-to-date in case of emergencies and keep the car stocked with emergency essentials, such as batteries, snacks, flashlights, and blankets, just in case. Unless driving is absolutely necessary during severe winter conditions, it may be worthwhile to explore local options for reliable senior transportation services as a safer alternative.

5. Have an emergency plan in place.

A winter emergency plan is the best way to keep your loved one safe at home. If you are a caregiver and are unable to check on your loved one due to personal illness or emergency, have a trustworthy family member or friend on-call to step in when needed. Be sure to keep the house stocked with essentials such as non-perishable goods, flashlights, and warm blankets, in case a severe weather event occurs and leaves your loved one without electricity. Plan for someone to keep track of the supply of groceries and medications, as well as snow removal services in case a blizzard hits. By frequently checking in on an older adult, even if you can’t be there in person, and making a list of all emergency phone numbers, your loved one will be able to remain calm and know who to call for help if needed.

As you gear up for the season, it’s important to explore the ways in which wintertime can be memorable for everyone, even with being cautious and limiting time spent out of the house. Allow your older loved one to explore new hobbies and opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be available — and don’t leave out the camera as you create memories in the process.

At Community Home Health Care, we’re here to help you all around the year. No matter the caregiving challenge, you can navigate this winter season with safety, warmth and calm. Find additional caregiver resources on our website, and explore a variety of timely topics such as medical assistance, personal care, and senior companionship.

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

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

Happy winter from your friends at Community Home Health Care!

Physical therapists (PTs) are experts

Physical therapists (PTs) are experts in how the body moves. They identify and treat movement problems in people of all ages and abilities. They do this by providing hands-on care, education, and by prescribing specific exercises or activities.

Using the latest research, physical therapists design a treatment plan for each person’s specific needs, challenges, and goals. PTs help patients to better manage pain, and support recovery from injury. They also have the skills to educate and empower patients to prevent injury and manage or prevent chronic disease. These health professionals help you stay independent and do the things you want to do.

Nearly 80% of PTs practice in settings that typically treat older adults. They are trained to:

Understand the normal changes in aging

Recognize how recovering from an injury or managing a chronic disease might be a different process for older adults compared to younger adults

Integrate their knowledge of aging into an effective program designed for an older adult to successfully achieve their goals

The PT will take each person’s unique history into account to create a program that meets their personal needs. That way they can safely, and successfully, work to improve their strength and endurance.

What does a physical therapist do?

Physical therapists perform comprehensive evaluations to understand a person’s mobility abilities. This may include assessing your ability to do activities important to you such as:

Strength and endurance
Balance
Mobility
Coordination
Flexibility
Environment
Anything else specific to your goals

A PT may also perform a screen of your cognition, vision, medications, mood, and any other health issues or concerns to identify if other health professionals should be involved in your plan of care. PTs will often work with physical therapist assistants (PTA). These individuals are critical members of the team. They are educated and licensed clinicians who provide care under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist.

After an evaluation is complete, the PT will design treatment plans specific to each person’s needs, challenges, and goals.

Treatment plans will include steps that you and the PT will take to meet your goals.

They also include how often you will work with the PT, in what setting (your home or clinic; face-to-face or telehealth), and for how long. After your initial evaluation, the PT will check your progress during each treatment session and update your plan based on your progress.

For example, an older adult with knee pain may start to have difficulty going up and down the stairs in their home. They may go to an outpatient clinic to be evaluated by a physical therapist. The physical therapist will determine the reason for the knee pain. They will then provide treatment in the clinic to improve the mobility of the knee and decrease the pain, and then prescribe a series of exercises for the older adult to do to get stronger. These exercises may also include activities to improve balance and endurance as well as strength.

How does physical therapy help with falls?

Many falls are preventable. Physical therapists are trained to identify the many reasons someone may experience a fall. These are called fall risk factors. A PT can work with you to identify your risk factors and create a plan to help manage them. They may also check your feet, including how your shoes fit.

Fall risk assessment also includes a review of medications, vision, and blood pressure. They will provide you with the education you need to understand your risk and what you can do to address your risk factors. When appropriate, a physical therapist may recommend that you see other health care professionals.

Can physical therapy help with balance?

Yes! Physical therapists are experts in identifying why someone is experiencing challenges with their balance.

They can help determine if the balance problem is due to muscle weakness, issues with the inner ear, problems with your sensory system (knowing where your body is in space), poor reaction times, or other contributing factors.

Physical therapists will then create a treatment plan to help you improve your balance. This can include creating a program for you to improve your strength, balance, and reaction time. If the problem is related to your inner ear, there are exercises for that, too.

How do I choose a physical therapist?

When you are looking for a PT, you can ask:

If they are certified specialists, or if they have advanced training in an area like fall risk management or pain science?

If they see patients that look like you and have similar challenges?

What their goals with their patients are?

You want to work with a PT who is vested in you achieving your own goals. It is also a good idea to ask what additional services they offer. For example, do they offer a wellness program after therapy?

What should I do to prepare for a physical therapy visit?

Your first visit with a physical therapist will be very similar to your first visit with any other health care provider. Be ready to be asked a lot of questions and to ask questions of your physical therapist!

Consider writing this information down so you have it handy:

Any symptoms you have been experiencing like pain, what makes it better or worse

Any activities you had to stop doing or modify that are associated with this problem

Key information about your history, even if it seems unrelated

Bring with you:

Comfortable clothes that you can easily move in

Hearing aid or glasses if you wear them

Any assistive devices you use regularly (walker or cane)

List of medications you are taking including over the counter medications and herbal supplements

Any medical test results like x-rays or MRI that you had related to this problem

Your goals and hopes—and never think you are too old or too weak to do what you want to do. Be honest with your PT, make sure you are getting the therapy session you want, and be prepared to be amazed by you what you can achieve!

Healthy Eating Habits For Seniors

Incorporating a balance of nutritious food choices in daily meal planning is essential at every stage of the life cycle. Yet for older adults who are at a greater risk of chronic health issues and changes in muscle mass and bone density, eating well is all the more so a critical component of being able to stay active and healthy. Many associate healthy eating with restricting calories and weight gain, however, a well-balanced diet does much more than just that. While providing the body with vital nutrients to regulate its systems, it also positively affects brain function and emotional health.

So, what should go into a well- planned meal? How can caregivers ensure they provide the adults in their care with the nutrients they need to stay active, feel energetic, and maintain healthy functioning? Which foods are best enjoyed or restricted?

In an effort to promote public health, the USDA has published a comprehensive guide to healthy eating for all ages, entitled Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Using this thorough guide, along with exploring the USDA website entitled MyPlate, older adults can find helpful meal-planning tips, important nutrition information, and key recommendations that support a healthy lifestyle. Read on to explore some practical tips and pointers on how seniors can make healthy food choices part of daily life.

Plan meals with food group variety.

Healthy eating starts with a balanced diet that includes a variety of vegetables, fruits, grains, proteins, and dairy or soy alternatives. Each food group offers a combination of nutrients that supply the body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to regulate its functions. The Food Group Gallery helps adults categorize foods they are familiar with and incorporate a proper balance of numerous food group items into their daily diet. MyPlatePlan is another helpful tool seniors can use to tailor meal planning and help them efficiently shop for ingredients. Even while making an effort to vary food choices, it is important that caregivers consult with a qualified dietary advisor who can offer guidance on necessary intake and special considerations.

Choose healthy snacks.

Many seniors benefit from eating two healthy snacks per day, which stabilizes blood sugar between meals, prevents overeating, and keeps their energy levels consistently high. Snacking on fruits and vegetables, as opposed to store-bought, processed foods that have plenty of added sugar, fats, and sodium, is a great way to integrate healthy food into daily living. Caregivers can help with chopping seasonal produce, or look out for pre-chopped varieties in local supermarkets. Some nutritious snacking options include:

  • Veggies with hummus, Try carrots, celery, or cucumber sticks paired with a variety of hummus flavors that are available on the market.
  • Citrus fruits, Sliced oranges, tangerines, and grapefruits are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, helping to boost immunity and fight off infection.
  • Unsalted nuts, Almonds, cashews, walnuts, and pistachios are great heart-healthy options that keep fresh for a while and need no prep.
  • Cottage cheese , Enjoy a great source of protein and calcium that can be paired with whole grain crackers to be more filling, or with an added spoonful of jam or berries for flavor.
  • Smoothies, Get the combined benefits of fresh fruits and yogurt, while sneaking in some nutritious add-ins that are easily disguised. Try spinach, avocado, protein powder, and wheat germ for added nutritional value.

Eat with others.

When planning and cooking meals becomes a tiring chore, it’s time to be sure you’re eating in good company. Occasional potluck meals, where everyone brings one part of the meal, are a great way to make mealtime enjoyable and cooking a lot easier for seniors. There may also be dining options at a nearby senior center, community center, or religious facility, where attendees can enjoy a free or low-cost meal, while socializing as they eat.

Keep hydrated.

Older adults don’t always notice when they get thirsty, putting them at risk of dehydration, even when it isn’t necessarily warm outside. Caregivers should supervise and make sure the adults they care for are drinking fluids on a regular basis, which ideally should be at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water over the day. While sugary drinks are not recommended, seniors can also keep hydrated by drinking natural juices, tea, soup, or even water-rich fruits and vegetables, such as fresh watermelon or cucumbers.

Avoid food that aren’t good for you.

This statement sounds obvious and unnecessary, yet it’s always important to emphasize those foods that negatively affect one’s well being. While sometimes convenient, pleasurable, or even more budget-friendly, these items are best avoided always, especially for older adults:

  • Alcohol overconsumption can decrease brain volume, disrupt neurotransmitters, and lead to behavioral changes, memory loss and sleep difficulties.
  • Mercury, found mostly in wild seafood, where the heavy metal can contaminate fish and have adverse effects on those who ingest it. Mercury toxicity concentrates the brain, kidneys and liver, and disrupts the central nervous system.
  • Refined carbohydrates, such as white flour or sugar, can spike blood sugar and insulin levels. A study published in the medical journal entitled Nutrients has shown high glycemic overload can impair memory and has been linked with risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia.
  • Trans fats, While natural unsaturated fats in dairy and meat aren’t harmful, artificial trans fats in frosting, margarine, pre-packaged foods, shortening, and snack foods can harm the brain. Studies have found that artificial trans fat consumption increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive decline, reduction in brain volume, and poor memory.

Tackle a lack of appetite.

Age-related changes to the body can cause some adults to feel full sooner than they did when they were younger and be less motivated to eat proper, filling meals. It is also possible for medication side effects to include lack of appetite, which makes it worthwhile for seniors to discuss alternative medication options with their doctors, when available.

If food becomes unappealing, caregivers can look out for ways to vary flavors, textures, and colors in each meal. Taking a trip to a local supermarket is a great way to look out for seasonal vegetables, fruits, or seafood options that haven’t been eaten or available in a while. Alternative cooking methods for familiar foods, such as quickly steaming vegetables instead of broiling, allows them to maintain their crunch and offers texture variety.

It is also essential that older adults keep physically active. Engaging in routine exercise burns calories and can help bring on hunger, ultimately motivating adults to take advantage at scheduled mealtimes.

Learn about senior food programs.

Through the Older Americans Act and other programs, such as Meals on Wheels, seniors can access local resources that ensure healthy eating and ease daily meal preparation. These programs often include group and home-delivered meal options to ensure that healthy meal choices are easily accessible. Visit the Eldercare Locator to search for resources in your area.

Here we’ve addressed some practical pointers and helpful resources that can encourage seniors and their caregivers to incorporate healthy food choices into daily living. With increased focus and a bit of effort, nutritious eating can become less overwhelming, more accessible, and perhaps an enjoyable lifestyle upgrade.

Feel free to further explore our website, where you can find additional caregiver resources and a variety of timely topics such as medical assistance, personal care, and senior companionship.

Reach out to us today to learn more about our team of caring and experienced personal caregivers, registered nurses, and home health aides who expertly serve families just like yours. We’re here for you and happy to assist your family. Give us a call at (845) 425-6555 with any questions.

Why Yoga Is Great For Seniors

In today’s multicultural world, Yoga is most commonly associated with a list of frequently used exercise modalities, comparable to resistance training, pilates, or stretching. The truth is, however, that Yoga is an ancient, complex practice with roots in Indian philosophy and dates back thousands of years. People used Yoga practices as a way of training the body and mind to become aware of their own nature. Yet, what was recognized as a spiritual practice centuries ago, by now has evolved into a popular method of promoting physical and mental well-being in today’s modern era, as well.

The term “Yoga” is an umbrella term that includes various styles and practices. A general reference to “yoga” would refer to the Hatha variety. Hatha is considered a gentle yoga that emphasizes static poses and is great starting point for those who are unfamiliar. It typically includes 3 components:

1. Pranayama or breathing exercises, are generally the first part of hatha yoga classes. As you move through the poses, the instructor will continue to remind you to focus on your breath and may offer different breathing exercises to try.

2. Poses: Yoga poses, also called postures or asanas, are a series of movements that help improve balance, flexibility, and strength. Poses range in difficulty from laying flat on the floor to physically challenging positions. If at any time during a class, a pose is too challenging, the instructor can provide a modified posture.

3. Meditation: Most classes end with a short period of meditation. During this period of quiet reflection, the instructor may take the class through a guided meditation.

Yoga offers various benefits at a low-risk capacity, and has therefore become increasingly favored among seniors. Caregivers can explore various methods of yoga and help by integrating basic poses into their routines with the adults they care for. Some Yoga positions, such as those included in gentle Yoga, are quite simple, and can be done with just the support of a chair. However, it is always crucial to exercise caution when starting a fitness program and consult directly with a doctor or physical therapist to ensure that their patient is at the appropriate fitness level for the new exercise plan.

With approval from a medical authority and/or therapist, go ahead and see why assorted Yoga practices are a great way for older adults to maintain their physical health and improve overall wellness. Here we highlighted some:

Better Balance

Older adults are at a higher risk of broken or fractured bones caused by them losing their balance and falling. Iyengar Yoga is methodical and precise, with a strong emphasis on maintaining good posture and finding proper form. Using props like bolsters, straps, blocks, and incline boards, participants are able to get into correct alignment and practice improved balance. For seniors with arthritis or other chronic conditions, Yoga helps fortify tiny stabilizer muscles that are typically unnoticed, yet once strengthened, can drastically lower the risk of injury caused by a dangerous fall.

Stronger Core

As a rule, muscle mass generally declines with age, starting when some hit their 40s, and picking up speed after age 50. This gradual change can leave older adults feeling increasingly weaker with time and, if nothing is done, cause them to feel that they are slowly losing control and independence in their lives. Yet, while declining muscle mass is an inevitable part of getting older, there are things adults can do to prevent or reverse muscle loss, as the old saying goes, ‘you have to use it or lose it’. With Yoga, transitioning into different positions challenges muscles to support the weight of the body and strengthens the muscle fibers in the process. Yoga builds strength in the muscles you don’t use in everyday living, while toning the ones that you do.

Super Stretching

Chronic back pain is extremely common, inconvenient, and can be debilitating for many seniors. A regular Yoga practice stretches and moves the body to include spine movement in all directions, such as laterally, forward and twisting from side to side. Therefore, as little as a 10-minute daily Yoga exercise may boost a senior’s flexibility, resulting in increased mobility and comfort. For those with a history of aggravating back ailments, Yoga helps to keep their spines healthy and avoid further damage.

Less Stress

By merging meditation and mindful breathing, Yoga exercises encourage one to focus on the present moment and arrive at a sense of inner peace. Research has demonstrated that Yoga can also lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression. It can also decrease inflammation throughout the body, which can significantly improve heart health. Yoga can help alleviate several of the conditions that are associated with heart disease, including high blood pressure and obesity.

While noting the relaxation effect that Yoga can have on its participants, it is also worth exploring Restorative Yoga, a meditative form of Yoga that is designed to release tension without stretching. In this style of Yoga, props are used to support the body, and poses are held for several minutes to maximize relaxation. It’s not uncommon for people to fall asleep while in a restorative Yoga class. Similarly, many seniors find that incorporating a nightly Yoga routine into their schedules helps relax their minds after the events of the day and prepare their bodies to fall and stay asleep.

Considering the various health benefits Yoga offers, there are several ways caregivers can help get started:

Yoga classes: Ask around in the community for Yoga classes in the area. Some local options may also offer free or discounted classes for seniors. It is worth noting that joining a group Yoga session also offers older adults the benefits of a productive social outlet. Consistently doing exercise in a group setting can help foster positive relationships and decrease the loneliness that many seniors experience as they age.

Yoga at home: In an area or circumstance where in-person classes are not available or attractive, search online for yoga videos available for individual use. Here are a few yoga videos for seniors to begin with:

Gentle Chair Yoga for Beginners and Seniors: ideal for those with limited mobility or those recovering from an injury.

30-Minute Restorative Yoga and Meditation: a slow-paced class suitable for seniors, focusing on the mental and meditative benefits of yoga

Full Length Gentle Yoga Class for Beginners and Seniors: a slow-paced, 30-minute yoga flow, featuring a number of seated and standing poses. Includes modifications for beginners.

We’ve addressed some helpful points that can encourage seniors and their caregivers to explore incorporating Yoga as a new health practice. With numerous physical and emotional benefits, many have found it to be a great outlet and healthy lifestyle choice, however, be sure to consult with a physician before adopting any new exercise regimen.

Feel free to further explore our website, where you can find additional caregiver resources and a variety of timely topics such as medical assistance, personal care, and senior companionship.

Reach out to us today to learn more about our team of caring and experienced personal caregivers, registered nurses, and home health aides who expertly serve families just like yours. We’re here for you and happy to assist your family. Give us a call at (845) 425-6555 with any questions.

Helping Seniors Move With Ease

In the best of cases, major life transitions are most often experienced with a mix of apprehension, excitement, and curiosity. Adults are typically eager to embrace new opportunities, yet, by the same token, frequently experience varying levels of anxiety towards the changes that come along with transitioning into an unfamiliar environment or life circumstance.

Moving can evoke a plethora of emotions, as the individual is triggered to process that which is being left behind and embrace a new reality in a place that is unknown. For seniors who require assistance in their daily routines, moving is very often not their personal choice and is most commonly accompanied by heightened levels of stress, frustration, and bewilderment.

In medical terms, moving from one location to another puts seniors at risk of Relocation Stress Syndrome, or transfer trauma. RSS refers to a combination of physiological and psychological disturbances that an individual exhibits upon being transferred from one environment to another. In elderly adults, transfer trauma can trigger depression, distress, and social withdrawal. There are multiple factors that exacerbate RSS symptoms as well, including dementia, mild cognitive impairment, frailty, lack of social support, and sensory impairment. As a result, older adults become confused, depressed, and agitated, leading to increased falls, weight loss, and self-care deficits. RSS also presents a risk of premature death because of the decline in physical and emotional well-being.

With awareness and appreciation for the grave impact moving can have on seniors, it is worthwhile to focus on how to best prepare older adults for their transition to a new environment and make an effort to minimize the stresses of moving, wherever possible. We’ve compiled some practical tips and resources that can help caregivers prepare older adults for a smooth transfer to a new place of living.

1. Keep the planning process collaborative.

While some older adults are limited by a medical condition or cognitive impairment, it is helpful to allow those who are capable of making sound decisions to feel they have an active part in planning their move, as much as possible. Discussing the possible changes and outlining the details offers clarity and a sense of control in the transition process.

However, there are many cases seniors in which seniors are not given the choice of moving, and circumstance requires that they relocate to a new place that is far from ideal in their opinion. Relocation for older adults frequently occurs as a result of a fall, accident, or medical incident. Family and caregivers may need to arrange for moving because of a crisis that suddenly made them aware that a higher level of care is now necessary. They also may gradually come to feel unequipped to provide the appropriate support and opt for better care services in another environment. In such circumstances, seeking out ways to honor the older adult’s preferences regarding where they will be moving to, as well as taking a tour of relevant options may somewhat ease the transition and allow for better outcomes in their new place.

2. Offer support throughout the moving process.

Involving family and friends in the moving process can alleviate the feelings of abandonment or loneliness that many seniors experience when exchanging their familiar surroundings for an environment that is foreign to them. Family and friends can be asked to casually engage the senior in conversation about their upcoming move while taking care to offer validation for their concerns and disappointments. If the older adult is moving into a nursing home, assisted living facility, or another supportive housing setting, consult with staff about how to minimize the likelihood that they will experience Relocation Stress Syndrome. They may be able to assign a staff member to the new resident who will help them get acclimated, encourage them to take part in activities, and introduce them to the residents and staff.

3. Safeguard the senior’s personal possessions.

It is likely that downsizing and relocating will be an emotionally challenging experience for the older adult. Many seniors have lived in their homes for decades, experiencing a variety of lifecycle events and marking numerous significant milestones over their time there. They may have invested a significant amount of resources and effort into their home structure and property, built their families, or amassed an accumulation of personal possessions that they are now forced to move away from. It can be difficult to come to terms with leaving their experiences behind and go through the process of selecting which items to keep and which to part with. Therefore, family members and caregivers should exercise extra sensitivity in the packing process and offer their support throughout. Be available to patiently help them sort their possessions into items they want to take along, donate, or give to friends or loved ones.

There is also a strong possibility that this process will trigger many memories and spark conversation that is meaningful to the older adult. Ensuring that there is sufficient time for reminiscing while handling the logistics of the move is a gift that will allow the adult closure on the past, and ease their transition into their new environment.

4. Involve the senior in setting up their new place.

Making the new place resemble the old home as much as possible is another way to help seniors settle comfortably into their new home. Choosing sentimental items to put on display will allow the older adult to maintain a connection to their past experiences and present opportunities for them to share with others when they attract the attention of visitors. It may also be helpful to take a trip shopping for home decor that will spread warmth and allow for personal expression. Stores such as Homegoods, Target, or Walmart offer a wide selection of knickknacks and decorative items that will increase the adult’s positive association with their new home.

5. Get help from senior move managers.

Move managers help plan and oversee any move, including moving from a longtime home to a communal home. In addition to hiring movers and supervising them, they help sort and pack belongings, as well as unpack at the new home.

Move managers are experts in navigating the tricky emotional terrain involved in moving someone who has accumulated a lifetime’s worth of possessions, in addition to handling the time-consuming and often backbreaking logistics. They’re especially useful for those who have decades’ worth of accumulated belongings, whose health is frail, or who don’t have adult children nearby. A senior move manager can also help you downsize possessions if someone is moving in with you (or vice versa) so you can accommodate multiple generations.

Pricing for move management services varies greatly. Some senior move managers charge by the hour (usually $25 to $75, depending on the region) or by the job. Visit the National Association of Senior Move Managers to find a move manager near you.

Here we’ve addressed 5 helpful tips that can help family and caregivers smooth the moving process for a senior they are caring for. Regardless of the circumstances that prompt the move, be sure to stay focused on the factors that can ease the transition and reduce the risk of transfer trauma.

On our website, you can find additional caregiver resources and explore a variety of timely topics such as medical assistance, personal care, and senior companionship. Reach out to us today to learn more about our team of caring and experienced personal caregivers, registered nurses, and home health aides who expertly serve families just like yours. We’re here for you and happy to assist your family. Give us a call at (845) 425-6555 with any questions.

Community Home Health Care wishes you and your loved one a smooth transition into the new environment they will soon call home!