Tag Archives: Seniors

Care Gaps and How They Affect


Patients in the United States
In an ideal world, every person in need of quality healthcare would receive outstanding care and service. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. While there are a variety of methods for measuring the quality of care received, one thing is certain: gaps in healthcare exist across incomes, states and regions.

Tens of millions of people in the United States experience what are known as care gaps, which can manifest in many ways. While the effects are numerous, the end result can impact everything from quality of life to life expectancy.
As such, healthcare providers and patients alike have vested interest in uncovering what care gaps are, how they impact patients, and what can be done to equalize outcomes. Let’s examine the concept of care gaps and how they’re impacting public health in the US.

Examples of Care Gaps

Perhaps the most common definition of care gaps is situations where individuals are not receiving the recommended services and care that their age, gender or health status indicate as necessary. This can be anything from mammograms and prostate exams to regular check-ups and cancer screenings.

Because preventative care is both more affordable and more effective than treatment, both individuals and insurers have a vested interest in leveling this playing field. However, all too often, care gaps appear and then continue to grow in scope. Healthcare Finance News reports that providers should simply try to get these patients into the office, and use this as an opportunity to work through whatever logistics are leading to their individual care gaps.

Another example of care gaps – though different in scope – relate to managerial and bureaucratic inefficiencies. Often referred to as “paper gaps”, these inefficiencies are not inherently the result of a lack of care, but they can be present under select situations. Anywhere from one-fifth to one-half of the actual care gap in a given area can be due to quality management issues. Thankfully, these kinds of gaps are much easier to fix than tangible care-related gaps.

Te Impact on Individuals and Healthcare

Regular healthcare check-ups, screenings and simple access to medical services as needed are exponentially powerful in improving quality of life. Particularly among those who are between the ages of 50 and 65, care gaps mean increased spending for healthcare providers and patients alike. One report discovered that patients affected by care gaps only amount to around one-quarter of the population, yet end up comprising roughly 40 percent of future healthcare costs. Roughly $250 billion per year in lost economic productivity is contributed to care gaps within the US health sector.
While the cost factor is a major consideration for healthcare insurance providers and the federal government, the effects on quality of life are arguably much more important. It is estimated that approximately 35,000 Americans die each year from diseases that could have been prevented or treated if caught sooner.

Care gaps are real, they cost the US economy hundreds of billions each year, and the effects on patients are devastating. While some of the care gap can be attributed to poor record keeping and a lack of analytical prowess, much of this relates to income and availability of medical services within communities. Healthcare professionals must take proactive steps to intervene with patients as needed to shrink this tragic reality.

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Everything You Need to Know About Going Back to School after Retirement


If you have been reading the articles that we posted here on Senior Outlook Today, you know that being a retiree does not mean you stop being productive. There are so many things you can do in your retirement days, including traveling more and starting your own business venture.

In recent years, more seniors are returning to school and pursuing higher degrees. This trend is picking up traction, as there are more students aged 55+ today than there were five years ago. Some universities even have programs for seniors.

The real driving force behind this new trend, however, is the online degree. Top names like Baylor University are opening up their online programs to more students across the country, giving everyone – from professionals to seniors – a chance to go back to school.

There is no shortage of programs and degrees to choose from either. Before you start looking into different courses and degrees you can pursue, here is everything you need to know about going back to school as a retiree.

Why should you return to school?

Taking a course in a field that you like on its own is satisfying. It is a way to achieve more in life; a way that is now more accessible than ever. You no longer have to jump through hoops to enroll in programs from top universities and pursue degrees such as a nursing masters degree online.

Pursuing a higher degree is a great way to keep the mind sharp. You will be learning new skills and studying course materials as you pursue the degree of your dreams. You’ll start reading more and putting your experience to good use.

On top of that, going back to school is a great way to expand your personal and professional network. Even when you choose to study online, you can meet fellow online students – many of them younger than you – and widen your horizon in the process.

You can even return to a career – or start a new one – after completing the course. A graduate or postgraduate degree can help you secure a teaching position. The degree is valuable in today’s market, so you can return to work as an expert in your field once you complete the course.

What are the challenges?

Going back to school as a retiree has its challenges. Don’t think for a second that you will be treated differently just because you are a senior. Online programs from top universities follow the same strict standards as their offline counterparts, so you still need to perform well as a student to graduate.

For younger online students, time management is often a big hurdle. Since you are in your retirement, finding one or two hours every day for studying should not be a problem. You also have the freedom to study from anywhere as long as you are connected to the internet.

Even better, you can choose to pursue a degree while realizing other retirement dreams. I know a lot of retirees who are spending their time traveling more while still working towards earning a master’s degree from halfway across the world.

The programs themselves have enrollment requirements that you need to meet. If you want to pursue the aforementioned nursing master’s degree online, for example, you need to be a nurse practitioner who meets the course’s specific enrollment requirements.

Is it difficult to get started?

No; not at all. You’ll be surprised by how easy it is to find a good online course to enroll in. As mentioned before, more universities are opening their online programs to students from all parts of the country, so you have more courses to choose from right now.

Online courses are substantially more affordable than the equivalent offline programs, so tuition isn’t something you need to worry about either. Besides, there are grants, scholarships, and programs designed to help seniors return to school.

A good example is when you are interested in teaching after acquiring your master’s degree. Using the right scholarship, you can go back to school, earn a master’s degree, and start sharing your lifelong experience with younger students.

You also need to prepare yourself for the course, but this too is an easy task to complete. As long as you can allocate some time – and know how to stick to the schedule – you will have no trouble taking the course and pursuing the degree of your dream. It is never too late to study. The number of graduates who are in their retirement is already close to 10%, so you know there are plenty of opportunities for you to seize.

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Can you claim compensation for a faulty pacemaker?


When they work properly, pacemakers can be lifesaving and have the potential to significantly improve quality of life even for those who are not at immediate risk of death.

Unfortunately, however, there have been a growing number of stories recently about people fitted with faulty pacemakers, which can have very serious health consequences, including the potential to be fatal for those with serious health conditions.

If you or a loved one have suffered harm to your health as a result of being fitted with a faulty pacemaker, you may be able to claim compensation depending on the circumstances. The manufacturer or retailer of the pacemaker (or anyone else involved in the production, distribution and sale of the device) may be legally responsible for the consequences of a faulty device. This could be grounds for a claim.

Who is liable for a faulty pacemaker?

This will depend on the circumstances. If the pacemaker was manufactured in the EU, you may be able to make a claim against the manufacturer or the retailer of the device. If the pacemaker was produced outside of the EU, you may be able to claim against the importer or the retailer.

It is also possible that others involved in the production, distribution and sale of the pacemaker may hold some degree of legal responsibility for the device, depending on the situation.

How have unsafe pacemakers ended up in use?

Under current EU rules, there is no single organization responsible for certifying medical devices as safe for use within the European Economic Area (EEA). Instead there are 58 different companies, known as ‘notified bodies’, who are allowed to issue CE marks approving medical devices for use in Europe.

This has resulted in varying standards between organizations for what is considered “safe”. Manufacturers, importers and retailers of medical devices are able to apply to as many of these organisations as they wish to try to secure a CE mark, meaning that even if a device is not considered safe by one notified body, companies seeking certification can simply keep trying other notified bodies until they get the result they need.

This scandal was uncovered as part of an investigation led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, working in partnership with 59 media organisations around the world, including BBC PanoramaThe Guardian and the British Medical Journal.

How to claim compensation for a faulty pacemaker

If you or a loved one have been harmed by a faulty pacemaker, having expert legal guidance is essential to give you the best chance of securing fair compensation. Many claims can be resolved out of court, through negotiation and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), but court action may sometimes be required to achieve the right outcome for your interests.

Medical equipment failure claims can be complicated and contentious due to the high value of the potential compensation involved, so it is important to work with specialists with specific experience in these types of claims. That way you can be confident that all of the right details will be identified and considered, and no potential angle will be overlooked.

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How to Keep Your Body Healthy as You Age


There is no way to stop aging. Though it is often seen negatively, with many people wishing to grasp onto their youth, there is a certain beauty in having lived a life full of great memories and special moments.

However, you would be lucky to encounter next to no health problems when you begin to age, as your body becomes more vulnerable to chronic conditions and health threats. It can be easy to feel as though you are fighting a losing battle when it comes to aging, but there is a multitude of ways in which you can keep your body healthy in your everyday life.

If you are struggling to find ways of doing this, you should take note of some ever-important advice.

  1. Watch out for health problems

No matter what age you are, people have a habit of ignoring their body when there are clear problems that need addressing. As you get older, these problems can impact your quality of life more if they are not resolved. Though you should bear in mind common health problems like fatigue and indigestion, you should also note any symptoms of issues like arthritis, which are more prevalent in the older generations. Among the most common of these are blood clots, which can lead to heart attacks. Taking a low-dose aspirin like Cartia can reduce the risk of having blood clots to begin with.

  1. Visit your doctor often

Spotting these problems is one thing, but doing something about them is another. Although certain remedies can be made and enjoyed at home, there will be times when it is better to seek support from your doctor.

While it is a good idea to speak to a medical professional at the first sign of a health problem, it is better to go for regular check-ups with your local doctor. This means they can check if everything is in working order, and they can give you some handy tips on how you can improve your health at home. Perhaps most importantly, they can spot any underlying health problems that you may not have noticed yourself.

  1. Exercise regularly

Having regular exercise is something that everyone can benefit from. As you age, there is no exception, but there are changes you must make to your exercise routine if you want to maximize your health.

Though you should aim for maintaining a healthy weight, you should also remember that high-impact sports may do more harm to your bones and muscles than good. Instead, you should find some gentler sports to participate in a few times a week. For example, exercises like Pilates can improve your bone and muscle health, without the strain that sports like weightlifting may afford. It has also been proven to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, which is something your body will need as time goes on.

  1. Spend time outside

It is a sad truth that many older people spend less time outdoors than they did before. Mostly, this is due to adverse weather conditions increasing their risk of having an accident. Yet there are many benefits your body can enjoy by spending as much time in the great outdoors as you can. Ideally, you should try and spend a few minutes in the sun each day with sunscreen on, so your body can glean all the Vitamin D it needs for youthful skin. You might consider combining exercise and the natural world by going on long walks, where your body can absorb lots of oxygen and your mental wellbeing will also improve.

  1. Eat a balanced diet

Rarely is regular exercise recommended without having a balanced diet on the side. In fact, your body will need lots of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants to keep it healthy. It is easy to find such nutrients in colorful fruits and vegetables, but lean meats and carbohydrates are also an essential part of any diet. Every day, you should dedicate some time to cooking easy, wholesome meals, which will ensure you are getting all the goodness you need.

One thing you should never neglect from your diet is water, as drinking above the recommended daily intake will keep your body free from toxins and prevent your skin from showing signs of aging.

  1. Cut out unhealthy foods

Though there are many foods you should make a conscious effort with to include in your diet, there are some others which should be cut out when you get older. It is imperative to enjoy some of your favorite foods sometimes, but this should not be all the time, as foods rich in fats, salt and caffeine can only cause more health problems than it is worth. This is also the same with alcohol and any other dangerous substances, which can put a big strain on your heart and mind over time.

  1. Sleep more

Fatigue is something that people of any age can experience, but it is, unfortunately, something that becomes more common as you age. You may find new ways of stopping this fatigue, such as having peppermint tea to wake you up every morning, but you must also listen to your body.

If you are feeling tired, it is wise to make some time to sleep, so your body can regain enough energy to enjoy the activities you love. Eating a nutrient-rich diet and following a good exercise routine are both great ways of tackling this problem.

  1. Prioritize your mental wellbeing

One of the biggest myths out there is that your mind and body are separate. What affects your mental wellbeing will also affect your body, such as when depression leads to severe episodes of fatigue. It may also be true that you get lonelier as you get older, which can have some impact on your mental health.

When it comes to prioritizing your wellbeing, you should make time to practice self-care, like reading your favorite book or seeing old friends. Giving yourself small moments of happiness will have a positive effect on your brain, and therefore your body.

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How to travel the world in your 60s


Just because you are getting older it doesn’t mean that your traveling days are over. Of course, you might need to slow down a bit and work around your physical limitations, but visiting different places around the world and exploring new cultures in your 60’s is definitely possible. To help you navigate through big cities and go on new adventures, here is our list of useful tips for senior travelers.

  1. Make Smart Connections

Instead of making connections in massive airports where you’ll need to drag your suitcases through multiple terminals, choose a smaller airport for a better and easier flight connection. You will also save valuable time and avoid long lines at the passport control.

  1. Get Travel Insurance

As a senior traveler, you are more likely to need travel insurance. In case you get sick or need extra medication, investing in a medical insurance while traveling overseas might come in handy. Senior travelers with pre-existing conditions should pay attention on the type of medical services that are covered in their insurance.

  1. Watch What You Eat

Travelers in their 60s are known to have more sensitive stomachs and some of them are on restricted diets. Therefore, it is necessary to watch what you eat while traveling the world. It is recommended to avoid spicy food, as well as dishes with high levels of cholesterol. In case you are taking any medication, make sure to talk to your doctor before the trip and find out if these medications interfere with certain foods.

  1. Pack Light

If you are a senior traveler in your 60s, make sure to pack light. This means taking fewer clothing items and fitting everything inside a roll-aboard suitcase. Instead of dragging your big bag through airports and having to carry heavy luggage to your hotel room, try to pack only the necessities and fit them all in two smaller bags.

  1. Accommodation

If you have mobility problems and find it difficult to climb stairs, request a room on the ground floor. Senior travelers should also book accommodation which is close to their arrival point. Staying in the city center comes with many advantages and provides easy access to major sightseeing attractions.

  1. Medications and Health

The best thing to do is take a full supply of all the necessary medication with you. There is a chance that a pharmacy in a foreign country doesn’t have the medication you are taking and running out of medication during your travel is definitely not something you want to happen. Travelers with hearing aids should bring extra batteries, as it can be quite difficult to find a specific size on other continents.

  1. Take Advantage of Senior Discounts

The great thing about being a senior traveler is that you are eligible for a variety of discounts. All you need to do is show your passport and ask if there are discounts available for senior citizens and tourists. From concert tickets to entry fees to sightseeing attractions, there are many places that offer senior discounts. If you are traveling to Europe, countries like Belgium, Austria, Germany, and Italy offer rail discounts to holders of a senior card which can be purchased at the local train station. If you wish to make some extra cash while traveling, you can always rent out your empty driveway as a parking spot.

To sum it all up, it’s relatively easy to travel the world when you’re old. Whether you are a senior citizen who is visiting his relatives in a city across the state or an elderly person who is planning to travel to a different continent and explore new things, these tips will definitely help you on your travels.

Sarah Kearns is a hard working mother of three daughters. She is a Senior Communications Manager for BizDb, an online resource with information about businesses in the UK. She loves cooking, reading history books and writing about green living.

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How to Best Communicate With Someone Who Has Alzheimer’s


If someone you know or care about has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, you are probably already preparing for the ways your relationship will change. Alzheimer’s disease, as defined by Psychology Today, is a progressive, neurocognitive disease characterized by memory loss, language deterioration, impaired ability to mentally manipulate visual information, poor judgment, confusion, restlessness, and mood swings. It is the leading cause of dementia in the elderly.

With these symptoms impacting your relationship with the person afflicted, you will benefit to know how to best communicate with someone who has Alzheimer’s.

Effects on Communication at Different Stages

The stage at which someone’s illness has progressed may impact your best tactic for communication. Alzheimer’s disease facts outline the stages by which communication is affected.

In the early onset of the disease, the person may find it difficult to say the right words and will use familiar words repeatedly, even describing objects because they cannot recall the words they aim to speak. Speech challenge progressions will include losing train of thought easily and difficulty forming a coherent sentence.

If the patient is multi-lingual, they may also start speaking their birth language. An Alzheimer’s disease fact is that the patient may speak less often and rely on gestures instead of speech. One of the perplexing attributes of the disease is how differently it affects each person.

Be Patient

In most early stage patients with Alzheimer’s, they will have the ability to communicate with others. You should make every attempt to maintain conversation, just with more patience. Still look at your friend or family member directly and in the eye when speaking to them, and wait for their response. Try to refrain from jumping in while they are talking as they may take longer to form and articulate their thought and you could throw off their answer. Make your conversation reciprocal, asking questions to continue the dialogue.

As their Alzheimer’s disease progresses, it is possible that with the aforementioned changes in speech, their stories may present as incoherent or unlikely to be realistic. It is still best that you help them to continue the conversation. Don’t be argumentative, even if you know the story they are sharing isn’t theirs, they are calling you by the wrong name, or other common communication challenges.

Alzheimer’s disease facts outline that the patient may develop delusions (false beliefs despite a lack of evidence of truth) and hallucinations (like a waking dream without outward stimuli) in their current or recall. Caring.com outlines that the patient doesn’t realize that the memories or stories they are sharing aren’t true. They are not lying, they are victim to the effects of their disease.

Ask How the Person Prefers to Communicate

The experts at Alzheimers.org suggest learning how the patient prefers to communicate. As they may themselves grow frustrated with the challenges of speech, they may prefer to talk over the phone rather than in person, or be most at ease communicating via text or email.

It is beneficial to the patient to continue to communicate in any form. By trying to speak, recall words and stories, their brains are remaining active.

Triumphs in speech can also have a positive emotional response for the patient. Reports have shown that remaining socially and cognitively active may help build the cognitive reserve of a patient with Alzheimer’s. While it cannot cure or reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s, it can help to reduce depression, apathy, sleeplessness and other side effects such as challenges swallowing.

It may be difficult for you to watch your friend or loved one change through the disease, but your presence and efforts are essential to their treatment and care.

Keep Questions and Task Instructions Simple

In opening dialogue with an Alzheimer’s patient, it may be helpful to ask simple yes or no questions. By removing the more complicated open-ended thoughts, the patient may be more at ease in evaluating the question and associating their answer.

So rather than asking, “What would you like for a snack?” ask a series of questions and be patient for each answer. For example, “Would you like a snack?” To a yes, you might follow by asking – even showing – the options, “Would you like a piece of cheese?” If the answer is no, offer and show another option.

This slower step-by-step thought process can help in communicating. If physical examples aren’t on hand such as you’re ordering or going to another location to pick up food, you can try to write down options, or use flash cards.

Likewise, if providing task instructions, offer steps slowly and articulately, one at a time. Saying to a patient that it is “time to go” could lead to confusion or lack of direction. Instead, taking them through the task list can lead to results and understanding.

Ask if they have their shoes on? If they don’t, talk them through locating and putting on their shoes. Do they have a sweater or coat? Do they have their keys, wallet or purse? The same mental checklist that you might go through before preparing to leave or a similar task list will be helpful to an Alzheimer’s patient when presented slowly, clearly, and patiently.

Connect Directly

In the mid- and late-stages of Alzheimer’s, a patient may need your further reassurances. It is likely that to engage you will need to reintroduce yourself upon each visit, even when speaking to a close relative or lifelong friend. Be patient but respectful – remember, it’s the disease and out of their control. Maintain eye contact after your re-introduction and assist in communication with verbal and visual clues. You may also need to engage all senses – sight, sound, touch, taste and/or smell, to be sure they are understanding you.

Listen Carefully

As it is an incurable, progressive disease, Alzheimer’s disease facts state that it will become more challenging to communicate with a patient. Even as you ask shorter yes/no questions, use visual aids and other clues, responses to questions or stories shared may be harder to understand. Try to listen to the sentiment of what the patient is telling you, not only the words.

It’s possible that they will mix up words but the context of their story is where you can engage. Or you can read their happiness, sadness, or other emotions. Sometimes, a caregiver who is with the patient regularly can also help you to communicate. And most of all, being there to lend your continued support and care are what is most important to helping them through this difficult disease.

 

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Caring For A Loved One And Their Skin


There is approximately 43.5 million caregivers in the US that are unpaid, meaning they’re usually taking the responsibility of caring for family and friends. Skin thins and loses its elasticity as it ages, making it more prone to dryness, injury and ulcers. These can all be serious for a senior as they can’t fight off infections as effectively, so if you’re their caregiver you need to stay informed of skin conditions, how to prevent them and how to treat them.

Worried About Wrinkles?

As you hit middle age it’s common to start focusing on creams to eliminate wrinkles, but various skin conditions can present themselves posing a bigger problem. 1 out of 10 middle aged men and women will experience the redness, stinging, spots and regular cheek flushing of rosacea, making it a physically and emotionally distressing condition. While there is no cure for rosacea, it can be treated, and triggers can be avoided to improve symptoms. Triggers can be stress, food, alcohol and caffeine, so identifying what causes your flare ups will benefit your skin. Home treatments include regularly hydrating the skin with antibacterial moisturizers, like coconut oil, and cleaning the skin with cold green tea, which is known for its antibacterial properties.

Pressure Ulcers 

Elderly skin can become complicated to care for with a lot of issues, often dependent on lifestyle, habits and genetics. In America 43% of senior citizens require help with daily tasks with many being entirely dependent on caregivers. Being confined to a bed or sitting for the majority of the day can cause skin to breakdown and result in pressure ulcers. These are sores that need regular medical attention and can go as deep as the muscle and bone. They are notoriously difficult to heal; especially as elderly skin doesn’t repair or renew skin cells as quickly as younger skin does. If you’re a caregiver for an elderly person it’s important to regularly check their skin in pressure areas, such as their buttocks and heels of the feet. If skin is discoloured or starting to break down seek medical help to avoid them getting worse, reposition the person regularly and apply barrier creams to reduce the risk of pressure ulcers.

Tips For Caregivers 

As we age we don’t need to bathe as often as we move around a lot less. Frequent washing can cause skin to dry out, so showering or bathing your loved one three to four times a week is better and applying a moisturizer afterwards will help to keep it hydrated. Dry, itchy skin affects more than 30 million Americans, and while it may seem like a small problem, it can quickly escalate into bigger issues for senior skin. Trimming your loved ones nails will reduce the risk of them scratching accidentally catching and tearing the skin, which can easily lead to infections. If they do get a cut make sure it’s kept clean to reduce the risk and monitor how it’s healing.

Being a caregiver is one of the most rewarding things you can do in your life, especially when you’re giving back to a loved one by doing so. It’s also a very emotional and stressful experience as you are responsible for another person’s wellbeing. Skincare is an easy aspect of caregiving to overlook when there is many other medical conditions going on and needs to be met. Having a simple skincare routine to follow with them is the easiest way to also meet their skincare needs.

Guest blogger Jess Walter  is a freelance writer and mother. She loves the freedom that comes with freelance life and the additional time it means she gets to spend with her family and pets. You can contact Jess at: jesswalterwriter@gmail.com

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How to Ensure Your Loved One Gets the Right Care


One thing that is sometimes inevitable is people becoming unwell. Whether it is a result of lifestyle choices or actions that could have been avoided, it could end up having lifelong effects. Caring for someone who is sick can be difficult and often requires a great amount of patience. It is also imperative that they get the best care possible to make getting through every day easier. You may be reading this because you’re a caregiver or responsible for a loved one who’s battling a long-term or terminal illness. If that happens to be the case, you’re in the right place as this article is going to tell you how to ensure your loved one gets the right care.

Know What Their Needs Are

Before you can ensure your loved one gets the best care possible, it’s imperative that you understand their needs are. In order to do this, however, you should learn as much about their disease or illness as possible. It could mean taking time out to research their condition so that you can learn about what the best solutions available are to help them cope. Another alternative is to ask a medical professional about how best to take care of them, and this is relevant whether you’re their caregiver or looking for someone else to help with regular care.

Offer the Right Care

Taking care of a loved one when they’re suffering from a terminal illness can be difficult. It is often a full-time job, so you should seriously think about if you have what it takes to give them the care they need. Some tips if you do decide to be their primary caregiver include being patient, making time for yourself, and getting help if you need it. If you do decide to get a professional caregiver to offer help, it’s important that you’re confident in the services they offer. You should also pay attention to any signs that something may be wrong. If you feel your loved one is experiencing clinical negligence, then you should contact an organization like Minton Morrill Solicitors as they may be able to offer help and advice on what you can do and if you can be compensated.

Look After You

If you decide to be a primary caregiver for an ill loved one, it’s important that you take the time out to look after yourself. It’s key that you don’t underestimate the amount of work that goes into being a caregiver and how demanding as well as emotionally, physically, and mentally tasking it can be. If you want to give the best care, it is therefore essential that you spend time doing things you love, getting out of the house for fresh air and endeavor to retain a personal life.

Getting the right care for your loved ones is extremely important, so taking the time out to explore your options is key. Aside from the tips mentioned above, your goal should be to pay attention to their needs and find ways to meet them. By doing so, you should find that you have peace of mind knowing that they get the best care possible.

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How to Help Your Loved One Overcome Insomnia


14 percent of elderly persons between the ages of 65 and 80 take prescription sleep medications on a regular basis, according to the United States National Poll on Healthy Aging. 23 percent of seniors rely on sleep medication occasionally. When a caregiver helps a loved one to create a pre-bedtime routine, avoid computer monitors and smartphones before turning in and stay away from food three hours prior to bedtime, and a senior’s sleep habits may improve dramatically.

Create a Pre-Bedtime Routine

According to the Sleephelp.org website, creating a pre-bedtime routine for a senior is one of the keys to helping a loved one avoid the ill effects of sleep deprivation, which include daytime sleepiness, cognitive problems, irritability, depression, cardiovascular health problems and greater risk of chronic diseases. To establish a routine, a caregiver should make sure that a senior has a set bedtime each night. A warm bath before bedtime is also a smart component of a good pre-bedtime routine. A study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology shows that pre-bedtime warm baths positively impact the sleep quality of seniors.

Keep Seniors Away from Computer Monitors

Lots of seniors enjoy using computers and smartphones, just like everyone else. However, using electronic toys before bedtime may make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep, according to a wellness blog post at The New York Times website. Devices that emit blue light, such as many electronic gadgets, are enriched with short wavelengths which negatively impact melatonin levels. Melatonin is a hormone which induces sleep. Encouraging seniors to stay away from blue light emitting-devices sixty minutes prior to bedtime should help them to enjoy better rest.

Avoid Offering Food 3 Hours Before Bedtime

According to the Health.harvard.edu website, everyone (including the elderly) should try to avoid eating for three hours before bedtime. It’s one of the secrets of stopping the endless tossing and turning. Healthy, small snacks are ok and may even be beneficial. Examples include apples and beverages which are known to promote sleep. Big meals are tough to digest and they keep the body working when it should be in sleep mode.

Try These Sensible Tips Today

Seniors sometimes need support to feel their very best. This is where loving and dedicated caregivers come in. When a caregiver puts these sleep-enhancing tips into action, a senior may fall asleep with ease and enjoy restful sleep all night long.

Guest Writer  Jess Walter  is a freelance writer and mother. She loves the freedom that comes with freelance life and the additional time it means she gets to spend with her family and pets.  You can reach Jess at <jesswalterwriter@gmail.com>

 

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Healthy Benefits of Gardening


Helping Your Loved One To Carry On Gardening In Later Years

If you are caring for someone in their twilight years, you will know just how important hobbies and recreation are for them, and indeed for you as the caregiver. It’s not just the fact of getting out in the fresh air and having something to do – although this is, of course important. The CDC has carried out research and found that just two hours of gardening per week can have a profound effect on health issues that include blood pressure, depression, maintaining a healthy weight, osteoporosis, and many other conditions.

Clearly, there are plenty of reasons for your loved one to want to carry on gardening for as long as possible – even if they have reduced mobility or other physical or medical conditions that might mean they cannot do quite as much as they used to. How can we make it easier for them?

Choose your battles

There are some activities that are clearly going to be outside the scope of someone who is frail or has restricted mobility. Trimming hedges and cutting grass are prime examples. Outside assistance is going to be necessary with the labor-intensive tasks, and you might consider weighing up the benefits of doing away with the lawn entirely in favor of artificial grass.

Maintaining flower gardens and tending vegetable beds, however, are activities that anyone can enjoy. And if you invest in a few handy tools and accessories, there is nothing to stop your loved one from continuing to enjoy his or her hobby.

Useful tools

Vertical planting beds are ideal, as they negate the need to bend or crouch down. Alternatively, raised beds have a similar effect, and can easily be made from simple containers. Even better, you can put them on casters to make them easy to move around. Also, look out for lightweight gardening equipment such as shears and clippers, or ones with easy-grip handles. These are particularly useful for those with arthritis. At a push, you can adapt existing tools using plastic tubing, foam, and tape.

Stay safe, and enjoy the garden

Take care to keep walkways clear, and sweep them regularly to avoid slip hazards. Make sure there is plenty of shade for those hot summers days, and ensure any injuries or even minor scratches are treated promptly. Finally, provide plenty of seating, so that your loved one can take time to rest and enjoy the garden – it doesn’t all have to be work, work work!

Jess Walter  is a freelance writer and mother. She loves the freedom that comes with freelance life and the additional time it means she gets to spend with her family and pets and can be reached at jessalterwriter@gmail.com

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