By Julie Ferguson, AHC Administrator
My 95-year-old mother has always been active and very health conscious. As she becomes more frail and debilitated with age she works hard to maintain a level of activity and good physical and emotional health. Although she is dependent on a walker for mobility, and is stooped with painful arthritis, she still participates in daily exercise and is able to live alone in her own home relatively well. Since so often we hear from our clients that they “can’t” get around and “can’t” do anything, I wanted to share some of the things my own mom does every day.
• She greets the day with a positive attitude – whether she has had good, fair or poor sleep – she is grateful for another day. She has a morning routine, which takes a long time, but includes personal care, dressing, and making her bed.
• She has a nutritious breakfast that includes whole grains (typically oatmeal), fruit – usually an orange and/or a banana, and occasionally an egg. She usually enjoys a cup of coffee or tea a little later in the morning, with another piece of fruit, often while doing the daily crossword puzzle from the newspaper.
• She knows she has trouble drinking enough fluids, so she keeps a water bottle nearby at all times (it hooks to her walker – check out Amazon.com for lots of options).
• She schedules and participates in daily physical exercise. “Sit and Be Fit” https://www.sitandbefit.org/ is a great television show that she enjoys every day at 9am. She sits on a chair in front of the television and does her chair exercises, as she is able, along with the instructor.
• She reaches out to family and friends. Every day my mom makes a point to call one person just to chat. She is very hard of hearing so we have purchased an amplified phone that is portable and she can keep in the basket of her walker. Check out the internet for phone options – there are many varieties and we tried several before we found one that worked for her and didn’t interfere with her hearing aids.
• She stays current. Every day my mom watches the news, she reads the newspaper, and glances through magazines. She knows how to use the internet and emails with family and friends. She knows the status of all the local sports teams, basic pop culture, and fashion and fads. She can hold her own in a conversation with just about anyone!
• She wears a lifeline. This was a reluctant agreement. She knows she is a fall risk, and has had several falls. None of us want her on the floor for hours or even a day, before we find her. The lifeline gives us all peace of mind.
Even though most days my mom suffers severe and disabling pain, and is basically housebound, she enjoys her life, and is an important and positive contributor to our family. A positive attitude, healthy routines, and contact with other people keep her going, despite her limitations. Aging can be difficult, but as with all challenges, difficulties can be overcome if you look for and practice the positive!
Advanced Health Care works with many people like my mom – helping them to stay active and independent in their own homes. We have lots of ideas that can help! Call us for suggestions!
Happy New Year!!
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 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:
- 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!
Leaves 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:
- 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.
“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.
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”!