Working Toward a Stress-Free Heart

By THE MEDICAL TEAM

Life is full of stressors, and high levels of stress have been linked to a number of health concerns, particularly for the heart. The good news, however, is that taking steps today to reduce and better manage the stress in your life can help protect your heart and improve your overall quality of life. THE MEDICAL TEAM offers the following tips:

  • Stay connected. Sharing life with others is so crucial for older adults who may find themselves spending a lot of time alone. When family and friends live at a distance, seniors can utilize technology, such as Skype, to recreate the feeling of a face-to-face visit. And although it may seem like a lost art, writing letters and cards is still a great way to stay in touch as well. But nothing can replace in-person contact. Help seniors stay socially active through joining classes or participating in activities of interest in the community where friendships can be formed.
  • Stay active. Daily physical activity provides a mental boost that helps relieve feelings of stress, while optimizing heart, lung, and muscle strength. Good options for older adults include swimming and water aerobics, walking, yoga, and tai chi. Even those with limited mobility can participate in modified exercise programs. Be sure the doctor is first consulted before any exercise program is started, and seek out his or her suggestions on exercises that are most appropriate for the individual.
  • Stay serene. It’s amazing what a change of perspective can do for our level of stress. Rather than becoming overwhelmed by life circumstances, letting go of things that can’t be changed and focusing on those over which we do have control is empowering. It may even be possible to find humor in some stressful situations; if so, lightening up the mood with laughter can also help.

THE MEDICAL TEAM is on hand to reduce stress levels for seniors and their families with professional in-home senior care services such as:

  • Friendly companionship to spend quality time with seniors and alleviate isolation
  • Assistance with routine tasks around the home such as laundry, general organization, light housework, preparing meals, etc.
  • Accompaniment to activities, classes, outings, shopping, and medical appointments
  • Help with personal care such as bathing, dressing, grooming, medication reminders, and assistance with moving around and staying active
  • A full range of skilled nursing care services
  • And much more

Our services are customized to each individual’s needs, and are available throughout New Orleans, Detroit, Austin, Dallas and the metro DC area. Contact us to get started on reducing stress levels and improving quality of life for a senior you know.

Helping Seniors Stay Flu Free

By THE MEDICAL TEAM

As we kick off the New Year and resolve to make lifestyle changes to improve our health, one of the top resolutions on our list should be to steer clear of coming down with the flu – particularly for seniors, who are more susceptible to complications from the flu. At THE MEDICAL TEAM, our goal is to help seniors remain as healthy and well as possible, especially during flu season. Keep these flu facts and prevention strategies in mind:

  • Is it the flu, or just a cold? While flu and cold symptoms share a lot of similarities initially – running and stuffy nose, sneezing, coughing, fatigue – flu symptoms escalate to include fever that can last for several days, muscle aches, worsening cough and shortness of breath. The flu can also lead to more serious health concerns such as pneumonia and sepsis. The doctor can determine whether an illness is from the flu or an ordinary cold virus, and prescribe a treatment plan accordingly.
  • What treatment options are available if it is the flu? An antiviral medication may be prescribed by the doctor, particularly for those over age 65 and in other high-risk groups. This medication is most effective if taken within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. Rest, plenty of fluids, and over-the-counter medications can also help ease symptoms.
  • What about flu shots? Doctors recommend that everyone 6 months of age and older receive the flu vaccine, but particularly older adults and others who are considered high-risk. The flu vaccine cannot cause the flu as it is comprised of weakened or dead strains of the virus. Side effects can, however, include mild muscle aches, low-grade fever, and soreness in the area of the injection that can last a day or two.

Because the flu is highly contagious, it’s important, of course, to steer clear of seniors when you are ill. However, those with the flu virus are contagious even before symptoms appear. To reduce the chance of spreading the flu and other illnesses, wash hands often, and cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue (and dispose of tissues immediately).

For more tips on helping seniors remain flu free this winter, and for hands-on assistance in caring for those who do become ill, contact THE MEDICAL TEAM. Our compassionate, fully trained and experienced care team is available as needed to provide professional in-home care for seniors – even if the need is for just a few hours. We serve seniors in New Orleans, Detroit, Austin, Dallas and the metro DC area and welcome the opportunity to assist the seniors in your life.

Conquer Winter Blues with Companion Care

By THE MEDICAL TEAM

Many of us feel a bit more sluggish during the shorter days of winter, and older adults are no exception. One possible cause is seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which can mimic depression and other mental health conditions, but can also be effectively treated once accurately diagnosed.

Symptoms of SAD can vary widely, and may include low energy, loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, feelings of hopelessness, sleeping problems, weight gain, and difficulty concentrating. If you notice these or other concerning signs in an older adult, the first step is to schedule an appointment with the physician, who can diagnose or rule out seasonal affective disorder. If SAD is indeed affecting the senior, treatment options can include light therapy, psychotherapy/counseling, antidepressants or other medications, such as alternative herbal remedies.

Additionally, help may be obtained from relaxation exercises such as meditation, yoga, music, or art therapy. The home environment can also be modified to provide some relief. Try keeping blinds open to allow maximum sunlight into the home, and positioning frequently used pieces of furniture (such as a favorite chair or sofa) in a sunlit spot. Also, as much as possible, ensure that the senior spends time outdoors, particularly in the morning hours.

It’s important for those with SAD to follow the doctor’s recommended treatment plan, to ensure they are getting the right amount of sleep (neither too much nor too little), exercising, and maintaining a balanced diet. Remaining socially active is also key. If possible, planning a trip to a warm, sunny destination with family or friends can be beneficial as well.

The in-home senior care team at THE MEDICAL TEAM can also help improve quality of life for older adults with seasonal affective disorder. Our companion care staff are skilled in providing friendly encouragement to remain active, to engage in appropriate and approved exercise programs, to prepare healthy, nutritious meals, and to ensure medications are taken exactly as they are prescribed, leading to maximum health and wellbeing.

With home health services available in New Orleans, Detroit, Austin, Dallas and the metro DC area, we invite you to contact us to learn more about how THE MEDICAL TEAM can help seniors discover an enhanced quality of life.

Therapeutic Activities for Each Stage of Alzheimer’s

By THE MEDICAL TEAM

Although each person experiences Alzheimer’s disease uniquely, the disease typically progresses through three main stages, and each stage brings with it different challenges to address in order to provide the best level of care. Understanding these stages, and where a senior falls within the continuum, can help in delivering the most appropriate therapeutic approach.

THE MEDICAL TEAM’s Alzheimer’s disease and dementia care team offers these details on what to expect in each stage, and suggests appropriate activities to help seniors reach their highest potential.

Stage 1 (Mild): In the early stage of Alzheimer’s, mild forgetfulness and misplacing items is common. It can become challenging for the senior to recall names of new acquaintances, to plan out tasks, and to remember recently learned information. Repetitive speech may also occur.

Recommended Activities:

  • Enjoying music together
  • Reminiscing/talking with friends and family
  • Doing puzzles, or playing trivia and memory games

Stage 2 (Moderate): During this stage, memory issues are magnified, such as forgetting information about themselves, the current date, season, time and location. There may be confusion around clothing choices, hygiene, meals, and more. Sleeping patterns may change, and assistance may be needed with starting and continuing tasks.

Recommended Activities:

  • Repetitive tasks, such as folding laundry or sorting items
  • Listening to stories
  • Activities that provide comfort and tactile stimulation, such as with stuffed animals or dolls

Stage 3 (Severe): In the final stage, memory loss has continued to progress, and significant assistance is needed with meeting basic needs, such as eating, dressing, bathing, and ambulation.

Recommended Activities:

  • Aromatherapy and other sensory activities
  • Companionship
  • Listening to favorite music from the past

The challenges of providing care for a senior with Alzheimer’s disease can be mitigated by partnering with professional caregivers who are trained and experienced in each stage of the disease, such as those at THE MEDICAL TEAM. Our skilled, patient, and compassionate care team understands the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease, and allows family caregivers the opportunity to take much-needed time for themselves while knowing their loved one is receiving the very best possible care.

We invite you to contact us with any questions about Alzheimer’s disease care, or to arrange for specialized in-home dementia care services. Our services are available throughout New Orleans, Detroit, Austin, Dallas and metro DC. We look forward to the opportunity to serve you.

Helping Older Adults Beat the Winter Holiday Blues

By THE MEDICAL TEAM

The holiday season truly feels like a wonderful time of the year for so many people, but for some older adults it can bring about feelings of wistfulness and loneliness. Loss of loved ones, physical challenges, and remembrances of seasons past can dampen the holiday spirit for seniors. Fortunately, we can all help brighten the lives of our older loved ones.

THE MEDICAL TEAM’s in-home senior care experts offer the following suggestions to bring joy to this year’s winter holidays for seniors in your life:

  • Host a decorating party at the senior’s home. It can be difficult for a senior who lives alone to manage holiday decorating. At the start of the holiday season, bring family and friends together at the older person’s home. Coordinate a potluck lunch or order in a festive holiday meal, and spend an enjoyable afternoon reminiscing over favorite ornaments, decking the halls, and filling the home with festivity.
  • Make a special holiday treat together. Pick a favorite holiday cookie recipe and spend an afternoon making it together and then enjoying the rewards of your efforts. Baking fills the home with delicious aromas to warm the heart and brighten the mood, and sticking to one recipe keeps it simple and enjoyable.
  • Get involved in community activities. Community centers, schools, churches, and more offer opportunities to go caroling, watch plays and holiday musical programs, attend bazaars and luncheons, and more. Pull together a list of community events and provide transportation for seniors to attend and enjoy holiday happenings.
  • Help another. Nothing boosts the spirit like helping those in need. Older adults can fill a great many needs over the holidays. They can visit other seniors who are alone, collect blankets, food, and other needed items for animal shelters, donate books or toys to the local children’s hospital, and write cards for veterans. Talk with the senior to find out what needs he or she is most passionate about, and then implement a plan to help.

If you’d like more ideas on ways to brighten the holidays for seniors, contact THE MEDICAL TEAM. We can also provide hands-on assistance to help seniors live happier, healthier, and more independent lives at home, through customized skilled home health care services, friendly companionship to keep isolation at bay, assistance with home care needs such as bathing, dressing, meals, light housekeeping, and more, specialized care for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other chronic conditions, and so much more.

Serving seniors throughout New Orleans, Detroit, Austin, Dallas and the metro DC area, contact us any time to learn more about how our in-home care solutions improve quality of life for older adults, right in the comfort of home.