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AHC Blog

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!!

2017

As we prepare to say goodbye to 2016 and welcome 2017, many of us are thinking about our New Year’s Resolutions. Every year we resolve to change or improve something such as losing weight, eating better, exercising, quitting smoking, and so on. Unfortunately over 70 percent of us break our resolutions by the end of January, which can lead to discouragement. While there are obviously underlying reasons for many of our bad habits, here are some ways to help create and maintain new healthy habits:

1. Be specific with your goals. If you want to lose weight, develop a specific weight loss plan.
2. Write your resolution down. Place your written resolution somewhere, such as a bathroom mirror, where you will see it every day.
3. Hold yourself accountable. Let others know about your resolution.
4. Plan coping strategies to deal with obstacles. If you tend to overeat at parties or in restaurants, try avoiding those events, or eat first so you’re not hungry!
5. Reward yourself at each milestone. Have that small hot fudge sundae once you lose your first 10 pounds!
6. Ask for help. Know when you’ve lost control and seek professional help to get back on track!

All of us at Advanced Health Care wish you good health and happiness in 2017, and best of luck with your New Year’s resolutions!

 

Halloween For Seniors

 

halloween-blogHalloween is quickly approaching, along with adorable children in costume, trick-or-treating for candy.  It’s a well established tradition and fun, family-friendly event. Did you know this holiday can also be a stressful time for seniors?  Some of the challenges seniors may face include:

  • Nighttime visitors/strangers, ringing the doorbell and clad in costume
  • Fear of falling when making numerous trips to and from door to pass out candy
  • Dark and alone – can cause fear and anxiety – any night, and especially Halloween!
  • Driving – small children can appear out of nowhere, and masks and excitement may make it difficult for them to pay attention to cars

Seniors may feel particularly vulnerable opening the door to mask clad strangers, especially if they’re home alone.  While they may love seeing the little ones with their jack-o-lantern candy pails, they are less enthusiastic about the teenager with a pillowcase.  Not opening the door can be just as worrisome, fearing retaliation or pranks for not giving out candy.

How can we help the seniors in our lives alleviate these fears?  Suggestions include:halloween

  • Don’t leave your loved one alone. Be with them, or have a trusted friend, family member or caregiver at their side.  If this is not possible, consider having the senior in your life visit you at your home for the Halloween holiday.
  • Keep the trick-or-treaters outside! Never invite children or their parents into your home – no matter how adorable their costume.
  • Keep the lights on! House lights, porch lights, outdoor lights – keep everything on and bright!  This helps with vision and prevents falls, and also is a deterrent to those pranksters who might be looking for easy prey!
  • Don’t drive! The streets may be crowded with the little trick-or-treaters on Halloween.  This is a good night for our senior friends to stay off the road!

Advanced Health Care will be giving out treats all day long on Halloween to our little ghosts and goblins.  We encourage our clients and employees to enjoy the holiday and stay safe.  And, if you’re looking for a caregiver to enjoy Halloween with your loved one, call us at Advanced Health Care, and we’ll arrange a perfect companion!

 

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

sadLeaves are falling, the wind is brisk, and the skies are perpetually gray with rain looming.  This is autumn in the Northwest.  While all of us tend to spend more time indoors during this cold, dark and wet season, there are some who experience actual “winter depression” or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

People with SAD tend to experience symptoms from late fall until spring.  SAD is more common in women, and is thought to be caused by decreased exposure to natural sunlight, which leads to decreased levels of serotonin in the brain.  Those with SAD sleep more, eat more (especially carbohydrates), are irritable, gain weight, and have a sensation of heaviness in their arms and legs.  SAD may also have a negative effect on interpersonal relationships.

There are several treatments for SAD that include light therapy and medications.  However, the first step is consultation with the physician to accurately diagnose this condition and prescribe specific treatment modalities.  Some things we can all do to feel better during these dark months include:14496084small

  • Spend time with other people
  • Participate in social activities
  • Use a dawn simulator, a device that gradually increases light in the bedroom in the early morning hours
  • Avoid the temptation of carbohydrates or “comfort foods”
  • Get outside and walk as much as possible

Advanced Health Care can help by scheduling caregivers to provide socialization and activities.  We can accompany on walks and provide transportation for outings.  Our caregivers can shop and prepare healthy meals that limit energy zapping carbohydrates.  Call us today to find out how we can help during this dark season at 800-690-3330.

 

 

Eliminate the “No”

“No,” is a frequent response when I ask my one-year-old granddaughter to do something.  It doesn’t really matter if it is something she doesn’t like – such as coming in the house from outside, or if it’s something she actually loves – such as having a snack.  It’s a powerful and controlling word, so no surprise it’s one of the first words a child learns, and learns to execute!  “No,” is the response we find ourselves giving her frequently as well.  “No, you cannot eat the dog food”, “No, you may not run in the parking lot,” and the “No’s” go on and on.

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Now, imagine you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum, you’re not one, but maybe you’re 81 or 91 or even 101!  And, once again, you’re being told “No”.  “No, you cannot drive your car”, “No, you must use your walker,” and so on.  How does that feel, for someone who once held the power of “No”? Is it any wonder that this same individual will say “No” to taking their medication and “No” to getting up in the morning?  Once again, the power and control with this simple word commands authority – which is so important to the person who feels they have no control.

What can we do in these situations to try to get the desired response, and at the same time keep the individual safe, and eliminate the “No”?

We have all heard of positive reinforcement, seeking and acknowledging success and accomplishment, rather than focusing on failures or problems.  Good teachers and good parents know this, and use it successfully in the classroom and in the home.   Good caregivers know this too – whether family members or professionals.  Encouragement, distraction, and redirection are all helpful tools as well, and can make the individual feel empowered and in control, and help eliminate the “No”!

The next time you want to say “No”, think about how you can turn that into a “Yes”!  Instead of saying it’s time to take a bath, try asking a question, such as, “Do you want to use the yellow towel or the blue towel today?”  Or, “Should we have bubbles in the bath?”   Offering choices, to a one-year-old, or to a 91-year-old, can change the outcome, and dramatically change the interaction.

Eliminating the “No” requires quick thinking and adaptability.  However, once you recognize the techniques and start using them you will be happily hearing more “Yes” than “No”!