Giving Your Caregiver a Game Plan A Guest Post by Maggie Drag

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Nothing makes me happier than hearing about the way our caregivers bring a smile to their clients’ lives. In fact, that is what makes us so dedicated to our work- the men and women that are genuinely excited to spread joy and love wherever they go. After celebrating our 6th Annual Caregiver Party with our most dedicated staff members and caregivers, we felt that it was necessary to bring some inspiration to their daily routine. Here are some tips for each and every caregiver to feel empowered, valued and dedicate themselves to working in “me time” to each and every day.

Better Diet, Better You!

No matter if you are a live-in caregiver or an hourly caregiver, be sure that you are dedicating some time to prepare a hearty, balanced breakfast for yourself each morning. Enjoy your mornings- don’t dread them. You are what you eat, so look up some healthy recipes that you’ve never tried before. Regardless of what others may say, there are so many easy ways to prepare healthy dishes for yourself (especially salads ) that will lift your mood while filling you up with plenty of nutrients. Try preparing rice and different vegetables to have nearby to fill up your lunchbox quickly and to avoid eating junk food on the go.

Get moving!

The best way to stay motivated after getting through your week is to get moving (trust me!) If you love to dance, go to Zumba classes, swim, job, bike – anything, make sure you aren’t putting it off! Not only will you feel better after fitting in a short workout into your day, but you’ll be able to take on the week with much more confidence! If you hate the idea of going to the gym, try this: buy yourself a pair of light weights (preferably 2-5 lbs), soft workout mat and sleek new workout outfit. You can find a great variety of workout gear in fun colors and designs at TJ Maxx or Marshalls. This, plus any workout video on YouTube (from kickboxing to Pilates) = your best workout routine yet. And did we mention that you can do these while you’re on break from your caregiving assignment in the comfort of your own room?

Reach out to your Support Team

Always set some time aside to let the people who care about you know how you’re doing. Make a list of friends and family that you can count on for anything. It can include former clients and even some of your client’s family members that you bonded with over the years. Last but not least, don’t forget the staff at your agency. We, as well as any agency should live for caring for their caregivers.

Embrace your inner and outer beauty

Nothing boosts confidence more than the simple act of taking care of yourself. Of course, putting yourself first takes a bit of time and effort. Whether you have a job or are looking for a caregiver job at the moment, here are some simple ways to rediscover what you love about yourself- inside and out.There’s nothing better than a free makeover at your favorite beauty counter, or a refreshing swim or workout at your local gym. These special moments are known as, “me time”, and you should know that you deserve every minute of it. Besides getting a massage or spa treatment, there are countless ways to pamper yourself at home if you’re on a budget. Since you are on your feet most of the day like many caregivers, treat yourself to a soothing bubble bath try looking up do-it-yourself face masks on YouTube and video guides to meditation and yoga.

What are some ways you as a caregiver or agency motivate yourselves to care for yourself? Comment below, we’d love to hear some of your ideas!

BIO:

Maggie Drag is the owner and founder of a homecare agency located in central Connecticut. With over 27 years of experience in the industry, Maggie shares her knowledge and tips about care at home.  Visit homecare4u.com  to learn more about Maggie Drag.

 

Navigating Medicare – Understanding Medical Supplies vs. Durable Medical Equipment A Guest Post by Rodger Sims

Medicare

Medicare is a health insurance program that covers people who are over 65 and can cover younger people with disabilities and people suffering from kidney failure, known as end-stage renal disease (ESRD). With over 71.3 million people enrolled, Medicare is one of the largest insurance providers for seniors in the United States. If your loved ones are enrolled in Medicare, it is important to know how to navigate your options.

There are four different parts to Medicare:

Medicare Part A

Part A covers your hospital insurance. This coverage includes inpatient hospital stays, care in a nursing facility, hospital care and even some home health care. If you’ve worked over ten years and have paid into social security taxes, this coverage is free to you. In 2015, Medicare Part A had served 7.7 million patients.

Medicare Part B

Part B covers medical insurance and includes certain doctor’s services, outpatient care, medical supplies and preventative services. In 2015, Medicare Part B had served over 33.8 million seniors.

Medicare Part C

Part C is a health care plan offered by a private company that can help you with both Part A and B benefits. Known as a Medicare Advantage (MA) Plan, services offered include health maintenance organizations (HMO), preferred provider organizations (PPO), private fee-for-service plans, special needs plans and Medicare Health Savings Account (HSA) plans. Most of the Medicare Advantage Plans offer coverage for prescription drugs.

Medicare Part D

Part D of Medicare adds prescription coverage to the original Medicare, as well as to some Medicare cost plans, Medicare HSA and some private fee-for-service plans. In 2015, 38.9 million Americans utilized Part D of Medicare. Original Medicare is the tradition fee-for-service Medicare. The government pays directly for the health care services the patient receives.

Durable Medical Equipment vs. Medical Supplies

With all that in mind, it is also important to know that there are two main types of products: medical supplies and durable medical equipment (DME). Both DME and medical supplies are used to make meeting the basic needs of the elderly, ill or disabled patients at home.

Durable Medical Equipment

As suggested by the name, durable medical equipment is meant for long-term use. Medicare defines DME by the following criteria: durability, ability to be used in the home, not usually useful to someone who isn’t sick and must have a life span of three years of use. Examples of DME include hospital beds, mobility aids, prostheses (artificial limbs), orthotics (therapeutic footwear) and other supplies. Medicare pays for DME partially under Part A if the patient qualifies for home health benefit.

To qualify for home health benefit, the patient must be unable to leave his/her home, require care from a skilled nurse and does not require custodial care, such as bathing and toilet-usage. If the patient is eligible for home health benefit, Medicare will cover 80% of the allowable amount for DME.

An example of the allowable amount is the following: a patient needs a walker that costs $200. The allowable amount for the walker in that state is $100. Since Medicare will cover 80% of the allowable amount, the patient will then have to pay $120 for the walker. Under Medicare’s Part B coverage, the co-pay is the same at 20% of the allowable amount and any other additional expense after that.

For Medicare Part B, the patient does not need to qualify for home health benefit to be eligible for coverage. If a doctor or medical professional considers the product medically necessary, Medicare will partially reimburse the patient for it. One benefit of this is the ability to rent the product being needed and still be eligible for reimbursement.

Some DME products that are not covered by Medicare include hearing aids and home adaptation items like bathroom safety and ramps. Additionally, to be reimbursed, your product supplier must be enrolled in Medicare and adhere to their guidelines. If they are not, Medicare can refuse their claims.

Make sure your providers are eligible before purchasing any products.

Medical Supplies

Medical supplies are made for short-term use. They are typically used once then thrown away. Examples of medical supplies include diabetic sugar testing strips, incontinence products (diapers, catheters, etc.) and items like bandages and protective gloves. Generally, medical supplies are not covered by Medicare, though there are a few exceptions for patients with diabetes, ostomy patients and those currently using feeding tubes. These items, however, are limited.

Ostomy products can be limited to a certain number a month. If necessary, a patient can appeal to increase the number of products received a month but must go through a process to do so. This process includes re-approval through Medicare and by a doctor.

Your Options

If you can provide insurance for your loved ones and cost isn’t a large factor, it is useful to know that Medicare can be paired up with other private insurance companies. Doing so can help get over some of the limitations that are imposed by Medicare and ensure your senior has an overall health coverage. If this is not an option, then medical supplemental health insurance, known as Medigap, can help provide funds for expenses Medicare doesn’t cover.

To qualify for the Medigap program, you must be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. Medigap can cover excess costs, like co-insurance costs such as stays in the hospital or nursing home, and deductibles in Part A and Part B plans. Costs will vary according to coverage.

Medigap is available through private insurances or organizations that cater to the elderly.

Final Thoughts

Medicare covers durable medical equipment primarily under Part B, but also for DME for people under Part A with the home health benefit plan. Most medical supplies are not commonly covered by Medicare, and those that are covered tend to have limitations. Other options to ensure your senior has all their needs covered including pairing Medicare with a private insurance company or enrolling them in medical supplemental health insurance to help cover excess costs.

With the introduction and popularity of the internet, finding the supplies you need at the right cost is easier than ever before. Different websites offer low-cost medical supplies to help ensure the basic needs of your seniors are met. It is also easier to find the right insurance company for them with all the information available online.

For more information about Medicare and what it covers, got the Medicare website at Medicare.gov.

Images

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/medicare-enrollment-form-glasses-398418109?src=YZoPqz-O9WK3A8VVD8TyZg-1-2

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/empty-bed-on-hospital-ward-247358674?src=Q9ck6CAXE6czGlRyWlBoZA-1-2

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/diabetes-test-blood-medical-equipment-506370463?src=jqL9R3jY1Q44pQysfDM6NQ-1-4

Sources:

https://www.medicare.gov/sign-up-change-plans/decide-how-to-get-medicare/whats-medicare/what-is-medicare.html

https://www.cms.gov/research-statistics-data-and-systems/statistics-trends-and-reports/cms-fast-facts/index.html 

 

Desirable Traits in a Caregiver: A Guest Post by Lara Janssen

Desirable Traits in a Caregiver

 

One of the most important thing in caregiving business is to have the seniors and their caregivers get along. Old people are commonly set in their ways, so it is unlikely that they will be ready to change much. That means that the caregiver is the one who will have to adjust to the senior they are caring for.
Not just anyone can do this, however. It is important to have a special personality to make it as a caregiver. Care giving professionals at A Better Way In Homecare offer some activities which may help the caregiver and the senior bond in this article
Work Habit
Seniors tend to be used to a routine, whether it’s their sleeping schedule, eating habits, or exercise. A good caregiver must be able to follow this routine in order not to disrupt the senior’s life. This is especially important if the senior needs some medication. It is up to the caregiver to make sure they don’t forget to take it.
Patience
Seniors can be a bit difficult and act childish at times. It is therefore important that the person who cares for them shows enough patience and tact in difficult situations. Seniors with dementia or other degenerative illnesses can be particularly difficult to work with and require additional amounts of patience.
Compassion
Much like patience, old people require compassion and understanding from
people they spend time with. A good caregiver must be able to put themselves into the shoes of the senior to really understand what they are going through. With enough compassion and attention, seniors can really experience a transformation.
Physical Strength
With seniors who have trouble getting out of bed or walking in general, it is important that the caregiver is physically strong enough to assist them. Furthermore, if the senior is wheelchair bound, they will need assistance with every aspect of their life like getting out of bed, taking a shower, toilet needs, or getting back to bed. When it comes to exercise, even though seniors need to keep exercising to stay healthy, they should not exceed their abilities, and a good caregiver is supposed to be there to make sure that training sessions go as smoothly as possible.
Qualifications
Even though it is not a personality trait, it is very important for a caregiver to have some medical experience, especially when dealing with ill clients. Useful skills such as the ability to administer injections or use oxygen masks can be the thing which decides whether a caregiver is hired or not.
 
Apart from these skills, CPR is probably the most common and the simplest medical training people can get. It is also useful, not only for work but also for life in general. Even though it is important that the caregiver is qualified and mentally and physically ready to do the job, there needs to be a kind of chemistry between the caregiver and the senior. Otherwise, the situation can be tense and despite the qualifications and affinities of the caregiver, the senior is not going to be happy with the care they are receiving.

Alzheimer’s and Incontinence: How They’re Related A Guest Post by Eric I. Mitchnick, MD, FACS

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Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive illness of the brain that gradually destroys a person’s cognitive capabilities and, eventually, interferes with the performance of basic daily self-care functions. People in the latter stages of Alzheimer’s tend to experience incontinence, which is loss of control of either the bladder or bowels, or both. However, not everyone who has the disease will become incontinent.

The relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and incontinence is complex. Alzheimer’s may cause incontinence by taking away a person’s ability to recognize the need to go to the bathroom. However, Alzheimer’s also can be an indirect cause, by posing issues of mobility or confusion that may prevent the Alzheimer’s sufferer from reaching a bathroom in time. Furthermore, a person with Alzheimer’s can have incontinence issues arising from medical causes that might be independent of Alzheimer’s, such as a urinary tract infection, weak pelvic muscles, an enlarged prostate gland, or the side effects of certain medicines, to cite just a few. The Alzheimer’s Association offers a more comprehensive discussion of the possible causes of incontinence among persons with Alzheimer’s here.

When an Alzheimer’s patient begins to experience incontinence, the most important step to take is to consult his or her doctor for an evaluation of the cause. If the incontinence is a result of a problem unrelated to Alzheimer’s, it may be possible to address the issue with medical intervention. If a medication is contributing to incontinence, as might be the case, for example, with some anti-anxiety drugs and sleep aids that relax the bladder muscles, a substitute medicine might be available. In all cases, however, here are some actions that a caregiver or the incontinence sufferer should consider taking to reduce the potential incidence of incontinence:

Reduce consumption of diuretic liquids. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it stimulates urination. Consumption of liquids that contain caffeine, such as most coffees, teas and colas, should be restricted or perhaps avoided entirely, especially close to bedtime. Alcohol also has a diuretic effect. However, medical authorities warn against restricting the intake of water. Staying properly hydrated is extremely important.

Simplify bathroom access. Whether from the Alzheimer’s patient’s bed or from the easy chair where he or she watches TV, make the route to the bathroom simple and free of obstruction. Be sure no furniture blocks any portion of the journey, and no area rugs pose any hazards. Avoid clutter in the bathroom itself. Keep the route(s) illuminated with low-wattage nightlights after dark. It also may be advisable to keep the bathroom light on all night.

Avoid cumbersome clothing. Clothing should be loose fitting and allow quick access to underwear, which should easily slip on and off. Keep in mind that a late-stage Alzheimer’s patient is likely to have poor coordination and can easily get confused by such items as buttons and clasps.

Make bathroom breaks routine. Encourage frequent trips to the bathroom, even when the need is not urgent. It will help reduce “emergency” situations.

Maintain dignity. Even the mere prospect of incontinence can create a trying experience for both Alzheimer’s patient and caregiver. When assisting the patient, allow him or her the greatest amount of privacy or autonomy that is practical in any given situation. If a loss of control should occur, avoid overreaction and do not use words that are shaming, scolding or condescending. Instead, use matter-of-fact language and try to convey a sense of “accidents will happen.” Try to   minimize his or her embarrassment and maintain dignity.

In addition, there are several products available that make it possible for those with incontinence to experience a higher quality of life, such as washable panties and briefs that control leakage and eliminate odor. Also, waterproof underpads and bed pads are available to protect chairs, wheelchairs, mattresses, and bedding.

Eric I. Mitchnick, MD, FACS is a Board Certified Urologist at  Advanced Urology Centers of New York in Northport and Port Jefferson Station, NY. He serves as Chair of the Credentialing Committee and Surgical Performance Review Committee at Huntington Hospital. In addition, he is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a member of the New York chapter of the American Urological Association, and the President of the Board of  Integrated Medical Foundation, an organization that promotes awareness and early detection of prostate cancer.

Dr. Mitchnick received his Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Natural Sciences, from Johns Hopkins University, and his MD degree from SUNY Health Science Center. He completed his four years of residency training at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, N.Y, from 1989 – 1993. Read more about Dr. Mitchnick’s expertise and practice at http://www.aucofny.com/eric-i-mitchnick-md-facs/.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
https://www.salkinc.com/product-category/incontinence/womens-panties/

https://www.salkinc.com/product-category/incontinence/mens-briefs/

https://www.salkinc.com/product-category/incontinence/underpads/

 

Natural Healing Methods For A Family Member With Alzheimer’s Disease: A Guest Post by Katrina Jane Rice

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First of all it is important to note that no cure has been yet found for Alzheimer’s Disease.

Unfortunately science has not yet identified any definite medical treatment that can halt the progression of this disorder. For now all we can do for our loved ones is to give them a better quality of life while doctors and researchers continue to look for a  cure to this lethal disease.

Because there is not a single cure for it right now, doctors are gearing towards fighting the symptoms of the disease and the different ways of managing them. The main goal is to improve patients’ quality of life and it can be achieved by incorporating traditional and alternative treatments.

While most supplements are not approved by the FDA, some members of the medical community have supported their use.

These natural treatments are not just here to help a patient deal with the Alzheimer’s Disease, they are also utilized to stave off diabetes, strokes, and other age-related health problems that can cause more discomfort to your loved one.

If you are interested in alternative medicine, below are some of the natural treatments that a patient can use to improve his or her condition. Make sure to consult with your physician first. They know the true scope and the severity of the disease and they will help you identify which of these alternative treatments can be the most effective.

Herbal Medicine

Most herbal medicine claiming to treat neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s are effective due to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and one good example is ginkgo biloba. A number of clinical studies were conducted on this herb and its benefits on cognitive impairment among Alzheimer’s patients.

But this herb could also hinder or interact with other prescribed medication and instead of improving their health, it can possibly pose a threat to it. So make sure you talk to your doctor about taking herbal supplements.

Though the research on ginkgo biloba have proved a positive connection with the disease, there are still some people in the medical community who are not convinced by it.

Bright Light Therapy

One of the symptoms many Alzheimer’s patient suffer from is their disrupted circadian rhythm. It causes them to stay awake at night and wander around. This problem is due to the disruption of the portion of the brain that regulates the sleeping and waking cycle of the body. And one popular therapy to correct this problem is bright light therapy.

Studies state that the use of bright lights help restore the balance of patients’ circadian rhythm and improve their sleeping pattern. It also helps reduce evening agitation and daytime wakefulness.

Acupuncture

It is a traditional Chinese alternative medicine known to promote self-healing by the use of fine and sterile needles. This treatment is known to stimulate and improve the energy flow in your body.

According to some medical studies, acupuncture helps improve a person’s energy levels and mood swings. It also has the ability to relieve pain and improve cognitive functions.

It is advised that you get this treatment from a licensed practitioner who has experience in using this method to other Alzheimer’s suffering patients.

Since it also has other health benefits that can assist in improving a person’s quality of life, it may be worth trying this for your loved one.

Omega-3

You can get omega-3 from eating nuts, healthy oils and fish. A recent study found that consuming omega-3 fatty acid regularly improves one’s cognitive function. If you are worried of the mercury content from eating fish every day, you can give fish oil supplements to the patient instead.

CoQ10

Coenzyme Q10 is an important antioxidant to aid healthy body functions. It is also known to help prevent and slow Alzheimer’s disease. This supplement is quite easy to find as it is sold in most drug stores.

Coconut Oil

The fatty acid found in processed coconut oil is called caprylic acid. It is broken down in the body into a protein called ketone. A similar protein is used in a drug for Alzheimer’s called Ketasyn.

According to recent research, Ketasyn is used to improve the patient’s memory performance and prevent cognitive decline. Some people utilize coconut oil as an alternative to this drug.

Coral Calcium

Coral calcium is sourced from sea life and seashells. Though some believe that it is an effective alternative treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease, its claimed benefits are not yet proven by science.

Before you try this, ask the patient’s doctor first and know his or her thoughts about it. There was a formal complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commision against companies that strongly promote its healing properties for Alzheimer’s and you might want to read about it first..

What you can do now is research thoroughly on the different alternative treatments that can help heal Alzheimer’s Disease. No, they cannot cure the disease but they can definitely improve the patient’s overall health and quality of life.

After all, their treatment plan is their choice and you can help them make an informed decision by reading on different yet reliable research, reviews and testimonials about alternative medicine.

Once you and the patient make a decision, talk to your doctor right away to prevent any interactions caused by mixing prescription meds with alternative treatments.

For Further information Katrina can be reached at katrina.earthwell@gmail.com 

Assisted Living Could Mean Better Quality of Life for Seniors: A Guest Post by Paul Birung

the best vision is insight phrase  on a vintage slate blackboard
the best vision is insight phrase on a vintage slate blackboard

When our parents retire, we are so busy with our jobs to care for them at home. It is tempting to put our folks in homes where they can receive round the clock care but mostly, they are against the idea. We may bend to their wishes and keep them at home but as time goes by, their needs increase and it can be quite daunting for the family.

Why Assisted Living over Home Care for Seniors?

Seniors can definitely enjoy security, contact, and support in a residential community. In such an area there is access to nutrition, wellness services, and personal care tailored to each one of them. All this is achievable without having to compromise their independence.

Assisted living is different from a nursing facility where seniors receive medical care 24/7. For example at assisted living in Hilton Head, the elderly can receive any help they need even if their family is far away. These are the reasons you should think about assisted living for the sake of your loved ones’ quality of life.

  1. Opportunities for Physical Fitness

As assisted living communities there are group exercises, top notch gym facilities and personal trainers who do more than a caregiver would at home.

  1. Chances of Social Contact

It can be quite lonesome for a senior lying alone at home where they cannot reach their friends. Assisted Living offers common areas, planned trips, and activities that make it inevitable for seniors to socialize with peers.

  1. Safety

You must senior-proof and make modifications at home to make sure that your loved ones are safe. Such changes are definitely expensive and needs keep adding up as physical health wanes. Assisted living centers are designed for the seniors with keen attention to mobility, avoiding accidents and accessibility.

  1. Monitored Nutrition

Family members may not be able to keep up the nutrition demands of seniors who may not be able to make their own meals. There are chances of better nutrition in an assisted living facility where meals are prepared according to each resident’s needs.

  1. Help with Daily Activities

Bathing, dressing or feeding a loved on may be stressful for family members. With assisted living, residents get help with these activities. This is one of the basic offerings for assisted living and it, therefore, saves families the cost of a homecare assistant. This way, older adults can keep their independence.

  1. Housekeeping

The task of caring for seniors at home leaves families with extra chores to do. It isn’t easy to keep the house clean, weed the garden or cook with a senior in need of care. When these adults reside in assisted living, this burden is relieved so family members have more time to focus on themselves.

  1. Transportation

The facility will be responsible for residents’ transportation needs to the hospital, social engagements, and other appointments. With this taken care of, family members can enjoy more free time on their daily activities.

Assisted living certainly offers more independence to the seniors and their families. By giving each individual a chance to live life to the fullest, assisted living ensure that families stay happy, and this is the hallmark of quality living.

Unknown Facts How Diet Affects Mental Fatigue & Burnout A Guest Post by Katrina Jane Rice

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When you first think about fatigue, what usually comes to mind is the physical kind. But there is another form of fatigue that potentially wreaks havoc on your thought processes, motivation and overall success – it is called mental fatigue.

Mental fatigue is usually a result of carrying out extensive and difficult cognitive tasks. One good example to mention is studying for the bar exams. If you put your body in this kind of stress day in and day out, you will start to feel a strong case of mental fatigue. They call it burnout.

Karla Ivankovich, professor of psychology at the University of Springfield, Illinois said that a key sign of mental fatigue is the difficulty in initiating and sustaining cognitive performance and voluntary activities.

Typically, mental fatigue is a normal thing. It usually disappears after you take a break from tedious cognitive tasks. But if you do not rest, you potentially jeopardize your efficiency in every task you perform. It means it could feel too difficult to go to the gym, go back to work or even buy some groceries..

According to Ivankovich, mental fatigue affects your motor control and coordination and it is normally expected that mental fatigue can truly impact your optimal performance in every aspect in life.

Your body can only take so much stress until it starts to burn out. 

In serious cases, mental fatigue can become extremely draining that the associated health problems become chronic or irreversible. As per Ivankovich, employing effective coping mechanisms can be helpful to combat mental fatigue, and this starts with living a healthy lifestyle and eating a balanced diet.

Anybody who is experiencing mental fatigue or burnout has surely not followed a healthy eating pattern. If you feel like you are headed down this path, there are a number of dietary reasons behind it. Below are only some of the common causes that you can immediately reverse making changes your diet.

Lack of Magnesium

Magnesium helps support your nervous system.

It can alleviate stress levels by boosting your energy production and improving your quality of sleep. You can help reverse this lack of mineral in your body by eating more nuts, seeds, legumes and tofu. It is also found in whole grains, wheat bran and leafy vegetables.

Lack of Vitamin C

The adrenal gland has a huge responsibility in regulating your stress.

And when you do not get enough vitamin C, it cannot produce the stress hormones, particularly cortisol, your body needs. Cortisol helps regulate your metabolism, control your blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation. It also assists memory functions which are vital when you are feeling mentally fatigued.

Increase your vitamin C intake by eating more fruits like oranges, mandarins and kiwis. some vegetables like broccoli and other green leafy vegetables are rich in vitamin C too. For most people who do not have the time to eat right, they source their vitamins from dietary supplements.

Lack of Vitamin B

Your adrenal gland has a huge responsibility in regulating stress and it needs vitamin B to maintain its optimal function. The B vitamins are considered to be your friends in helping fight stress and supporting your energy levels. You can get more B vitamins from fish, milk, legumes, whole grains, chicken and red meat.

Too Much Caffeine

Every stressed person probably has a love for caffeine. It stimulates your fight and flight response and helps generate cortisol which gives you that temporary energy boost. But drinking too much caffeine can ultimately contribute to sleeping problems and anxiety.

Reverse this problem by swapping your morning coffee to a decaf tea. Watch out for other caffeine sources like chocolate, sodas, and black tea. Drinking green tea is preferable as it contains lower levels of caffeine but ranks high in antioxidants.

Adding an exercise routine to your lifestyle can also help you relieve mental fatigue and burnout.

Try to lose the fat you have gained from all the stress you just went through. After cutting out the other stressors in your life, get a gym membership or join a fitness club. This will also help your body release endorphins – a “feel good” hormone responsible for that happy feeling you get after every workout session.

The lack of vitamins and minerals is not just the only source of your stress. Though getting that in check will help you reverse mental fatigue, you also need to learn how to delegate your work.

If you are in the position to give away some of your tasks to other, do it for your own sake. If not, find the main source of your mental fatigue, prioritize what needs to be kept and cut out what you can. Know where your limits are so that you can alleviate and prevent mental burnout in the future.

Email Katrina at katrina.earthwell@gmail.com with any questions.

A Senior Caregiver’s Guide to Prevent Falls A Guest Post by Roger Sims

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Falls are the primary cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in the elderly. Every year, more than two million seniors are rushed to the emergency room after falling.

Several things can lead to the elderly falling, such as:

  • Vision problems
  • Difficulty walking
  • Medication side effects that cause vertigo
  • Foot or leg pain
  • Household hazards

There is nothing to worry about, as it is easy to eliminate risk factors for falling. Fortunately, falls are easily preventable. Taking the right precautions can make your loved one’s home a safe environment. To ensure the safety of your loved ones, take the following steps to avoid these accidents.

Removing Household Hazards

Household hazards are the easiest risk to eliminate. As your parents get older, mobility can become an issue. Start by removing clutter around your house. These potential hazards include things like electrical cords, loose rugs, and knick-knacks. Clear all pathways of objects they might trip over, and do a thorough examination of their home.

You may find you’ll have to do minor repairs to correct a sloping step, broken tile, or loose floorboard. Rearrange their furniture so they will always have something stable to hold onto as they walk around. If they use a mobility device like a cane or wheelchair, increase doorway widths to 36 inches so they can maneuver easily.

Addressing Eye Problems      

Of course, removing excess clutter and creating safe pathways won’t help much if they can’t see where they’re going.

Failing eyesight that comes with age can cause elderly people to misjudge distance and depth. Not only would it be hard to determine how far away a table edge is, but they could also have difficulty navigating staircases when going down.

The best way to avoid this issue is to regularly get your elderly loved one’s eyes checked in case their prescription needs to be updated. Encourage them to always wear their prescription glasses, even if it’s just for a short trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Ensure your home is well-lit and light switches are easily accessible. A lack of literal blind spots will aid your aging loved one in moving around the house, regardless of the time of the day.

Reading glasses should not be worn while walking, especially outside. Those who wear progressive lenses should ask their doctors for a separate pair for general outdoor activities, as these types of glasses may interfere with distance perception.

Increasing Physical Activity

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 One of the best ways to help prevent falls is to improve their balance by strengthening their core and lower muscles. As your loved one ages, their physical fitness and abilities may begin to decline. Muscle tone will gradually disappear and flexibility will decrease. This can be easily combatted by regularly engaging in light exercise.

Activities that focus on strengthening the core, improving strength in the lower extremities, and improving balance are suggested to any senior looking to start a new exercise program. For caregivers, check out your local community centers to find fitness classes that are senior citizen friendly. Tai Chi is one often-recommended exercise. If you can’t find a class your aging loved one would like to join, simply encouraging them to walk a little bit each day is fine.

Some older people may not be inclined to start a new exercise program, for any number of reasons. In such a situation, offering to join your aging loved one in classes or short walks every day may encourage them to participate. Not only will you be helping them stay fit, but you’ll also be able to bond with them over a new activity.

For elderly individuals who already have trouble walking unassisted, it may be advisable to invest in equipment that allows them to walk independently while still having constant support. Canes and walkers are ideal for a senior who still wishes to get around but who may already have trouble doing so without a little helping hand.

Implementing Other Safety Precautions

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 Even the ideal physical fitness level for your loved one’s age stands no chance against slippery floors or just plain bad luck. As a final precaution against easily avoidable falls, it’s best to look into safety equipment that can be installed around your home to eliminate any chance of an accident.

 Bathrooms are particularly notorious for slips and spills, for both elderly and young patients. Implementing assistive devices should be a top priority. Look for grab bars that can be attached to shower walls and bathtub sides, as well as non-slip bath mats that allow the elderly to stand without worrying about sliding on wet tiles. For those unable to stand in the shower, a bath chair can make showering a safer and more independent experience. Transfer benches are another option to help your senior get in and out of the shower.

Additionally, installing handrails on both sides of your stairs is recommended to ensure your loved one’s safety when they use the stairs. These handrails can provide a stable device for them to hold onto, but they can also be used in the event of a fall. Grabbing onto the rail can either stop the fall and allow them to steady themselves or can be used for them to get back up.

Providing the elderly with proper-fitting shoes is another important step. Make sure they wear comfortable, well-fitting—and, in the case of the ladies, low-heeled—shoes with a non-slip sole. These are essential in allowing them to move around without added difficulty and preventing them slipping on a wet surface.

Final Thoughts

Remember, if you are caring for an elderly relative, falls don’t have to happen. They are easily avoidable with the right safety precautions and a few additions like assist bars in the shower stall or handrails on the staircase.

Images

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/smiling-young-female-assisting-mature-woman-176324681?src=yz8OPnBNmLZjvdB8rJDgIA-1-70

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/interior-bathroom-disabled-elderly-people-handrail-525831979?src=GJ1MmVS4wrhtvzpJLLZmsQ-1-0

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/senior-couple-doing-sport-outdoors-jogging-127325003?src=G3W_tz2mojGm_EHzoGZn2w-1-4

Sources:

https://www.agingcare.com/Articles/Preventing-elderly-Falls-110499.htm

https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html

https://www.agingcare.com/articles/falls-in-elderly-people-133953.htm

http://training.mmlearn.org/blog/senior-fall-prevention-help-for-caregivers

https://www.ncoa.org/healthy-aging/falls-prevention/preventing-falls-tips-for-older-adults-and-caregivers/6-steps-to-protect-your-older-loved-one-from-a-fall/

 

 

 

From the AARP Press Room: AARP Remains Steadfastly Opposed to Health Bill

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Plans to hold Members of Congress accountable while renewing opposition in Senate

WASHINGTON, DC — AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond reiterated AARP’s opposition to the health bill passed in the U.S. House of Representatives that would harm American families who count on access to affordable health care:

“AARP is deeply disappointed in today’s vote by the House to pass this deeply flawed health bill. The bill will put an Age Tax on us as we age, harming millions of American families with health insurance, forcing many to lose coverage or pay thousands of dollars more for health care.  In addition, the bill now puts at risk the 25 million older adults with pre-existing conditions, such as cancer and diabetes, who would likely find health care unaffordable or unavailable to them.

“AARP will continue to oppose this bill as it moves to the Senate because it includes an Age Tax on older Americans, eliminates critical protections for those with pre-existing conditions, puts coverage at risk for millions, cuts the life of Medicare, erodes seniors’ ability to live independently, and gives sweetheart deals to big drug and insurance companies while doing nothing to lower the cost of prescriptions.

“We promised to hold members of Congress accountable for their vote on this bill. True to our promise, AARP is now letting its 38 million members know how their elected Representative voted on this health bill in The Bulletin, a print publication that goes to all of our members, as well as through emails, social media, and other communications.”

About AARP
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name.  As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world’s largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.

For further information: CONTACT: Media Relations, 202-434-2560, media@aarp.org, @AARPMedia