Research shows that lifelong learning is crucial to maximizing brain functionality throughout aging. In fact, certain lifestyle factors, including maintaining an environment enriched with social, mental, and physical stimulation, are now known to enhance our brain’s natural resilience, and to allow us to tap into cognitive reserve (CR) – our brain’s ability to resist damage. A recent study explored this further to determine if “…tertiary education later in life can reduce age-related cognitive decline, significantly delay the onset of dementia, or even help prevent it completely.” And the results were astounding: a full 92.5% of participants achieved a significant increase in cognitive functioning following 12 months of education, while cognitive levels of participants who did … [Read more...] about Back to School: It’s for Seniors, Too!
As summer winds down, our in-home care professionals have the information you need to prepare for the next season: flu season. August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and it’s important for all of us to ensure we’re protected. For older adults in particular, vaccinations are crucial, as complications from the flu, pneumonia, and other diseases can be deadly. Yet surprisingly, a low percentage of all adults age 65 and older in the United States are receiving recommended immunizations, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Reasons given for skipping vaccinations include: Fear of pain from the injectionMiseducation and misconceptions about immunizationsProblems with accessing vaccines (related … [Read more...] about It’s Time to Immunize! The Vaccines Every Senior Needs
The warm summer months provide wonderful opportunities for older adults to celebrate with family and friends: graduations, picnics, pool parties, and enjoying the beauty of nature. Yet it’s important to be aware of heat-related dangers that can sneak up quickly on seniors, and to know what to do to help seniors in hot weather stay cool and comfortable. Take note of the following three conditions, and what to do if suspected in a senior : Heat cramps. When the body is overworked and overheated, cramping in the legs, arms, or stomach can occur, and although the person’s pulse and body temperature will remain in a normal range, the skin will become damp and cool to the touch. A senior experiencing heat cramps should go into an air-conditioned room or a shaded area and drink plenty … [Read more...] about Help Seniors in Hot Weather Avoid These Heat-Related Conditions
When we think of senior falls, we envision a variety of injuries that can occur – bruising, fractures, and head injuries, for instance. Yet there’s an increasingly common injury that may seem surprising: eye trauma. Injuries to the eye typically result from blunt force trauma leading to black eyes, damaged eyelids and/or tear glands. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) offers tips to reduce the chance of eye injuries from senior falls: Ensure older adults receive annual eye exams.Review medications with the doctor to determine if any dangerous side effects might be at play that could increase fall risk, such as drowsiness or dizziness.Assess the home for fall hazards:Clear away any clutter blocking walkways, both inside and outside of the homeRemove all throw rugs, … [Read more...] about Eye Injuries from Senior Falls and How to Prevent Them
When providing care for an older adult, it’s easy to slip into a habit of taking over tasks. After all, it’s often easier to do things yourself and to provide the senior with the opportunity to sit back and enjoy being pampered. While our intentions are certainly in the senior’s best interest, particularly with regard to safety concerns, it’s important to make sure we’re not overdoing and taking over activities the senior can still do independently. Dr. Barry Jacobs, clinical psychologist and co-author of the book AARP Meditations for Caregivers, shares his own experience with this in providing care for his mother: “…I mostly succeeded in curbing her independence and squelching her spirit. She didn’t see me as her caring son so much as the overbearing usurper of roles she cherished.” … [Read more...] about Show Support While Encouraging Senior Independence
Of the many and varied effects of Alzheimer’s disease, distress is one of the more difficult to manage. Maintaining a sense of calm yourself, and mastering effective calming strategies to help the senior, are crucial for the wellbeing of both the person with dementia and yourself. Dementia care expert Teepa Snow recommends the following four techniques to address the root cause of the senior’s distress and to effectively de-escalate strong, negative emotions and behaviors Step into the person’s shoes. When a senior with dementia is distressed, mimicking that distress, combined with active listening techniques, lets the person know you empathize with his or her feelings. Try repeating back what you hear the senior saying in a similarly distressed tone of voice. This will reassure the … [Read more...] about Zen Master: Calming an Alzheimer’s Patient