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Tips to Help Seniors Avoid Hospitalization

Monday , August 3 , 2020

Tips to Help Seniors Avoid Hospitalization

Hospitals are usually thought of as a safe place where people can go for help when they’re sick or injured. But for older adults, even a short hospital stay presents risks such as medical errors, medication mistakes, or falls.

Add in the Covid-19 pandemic, and the risks are even greater.

Luckily, there are several things you can do to help keep safe at home – and to help keep you or your older loved ones out of the hospital. Here are our top tips:

Ramp up Physical Activity

Many seniors tend to reduce their physical activity as they age, leading to increased fall risk, poor mobility, decreased immunity, and more. But the benefits of physical activity for older adults are well documented – just a small amount of daily exercise can lower the risk of many common physical and mental health issues. Try adding in a simple daily walk or some stretching and reap the benefits!

Reduce Your Fall Risk

A fall at home can quickly land you in the hospital, but there are several things you can do to help reduce the risk. In addition to physical exercise, try the following:

  • Reduce clutter
  • Repair or remove tripping hazards
  • Install grab bars and handrails
  • Avoid wearing loose clothing
  • Keep rooms and hallways well lit
  • Wear non-slip shoes
  • Move around carefully!

Eat Well

Vitamins and minerals play a big part in keeping our bodies strong and fit, and many common health issues can be avoided simply by practicing proper nutrition. Here are four nutrients you should take care to include in your diet, especially as you age:

  • Vitamin B12 plays a key role in brain and nervous system functions. It can be found in fish, eggs, poultry, meat, and milk.
  • Fiber helps keep you regular and lessens the risk of heart attacks and heart disease. Most fruits and vegetables are packed with fiber, and whole grain breads, cereals, and pastas are a great source as well.
  • Potassium has many functions in the body, such as regulating water balance and aiding in muscle contraction. You can find it in beans, bananas, sweet potatoes, yogurt, and more.
  • Calcium and Vitamin D are important for maintaining bone density as we age. Calcium can be found in dairy products, dark leafy greens, and almonds. Pair it with a Vitamin D supplement for best results!

Keep Track of Medications

People aged 60 – 65 take an average of 15 prescription medications per year. Those over 80 take an average of 18. Not only are all these medications expensive, they can bring on adverse effects when not effectively managed. When you or an older loved on get a new medication, make sure to speak to the pharmacist about any side effects and how it might interact with an existing medication.

Stay in Touch with Friends

Loneliness can have a strong impact on both our mental and physical health. Socializing may seem difficult during the age of Covid-19, but it’s not impossible. Take part in social-distanced gatherings with friends or loved ones by taking a walk in the park or gathering on the lawn for a chat. Or consider utilizing technology for video chats, online book clubs, or even virtual game nights!

Ask People to Wash Their Hands

While we’re on the subject of Covid-19, let’s discuss cleanliness! If you must interact with others, make sure all people who come into your home wash or sanitize their hands as they enter and that they wear a mask. This includes medical professionals and home health aides!

Get Your Flu Shot

Flu season is quickly approaching and that means vaccines will soon be available. The CDC recommends that older adults get the shot in September or October for maximum effectiveness. It is recommended that seniors visit their doctor to first make sure they are healthy enough to receive the shot, and that they ask any regular visitors to their homes to receive the shot as well.

Don’t Ignore Symptoms

Many older adults end up in the hospital from illnesses that could have been easily handled at home with early diagnosis. Don’t ignore symptoms for fear of going to the doctor or because you think you can recover on your own. Many simple complaints, such as sore muscles or light headedness, can be signs of more serious issues.

ComForCare caregivers can help with companionship, disability support, grooming & hygiene, and much more. If you would like help living more comfortably at home, please reach out to speak with us about setting up a home care assessment today.

Posted in: Health

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The Surprising Ways Gardening Can Benefit Seniors

Monday , June 15 , 2020

The Surprising Ways Gardening Can Benefit Seniors

Exercise is an important part of daily life for seniors, and its benefits are well-documented. A regular fitness routine not only helps improve strength but can also enhance mental health and delay the onset of many age-related diseases.

Despite these benefits, many older adults don’t love the idea of going to the fitness center several times a week. We get it – exercise can get boring.

Luckily, fitness doesn’t have to mean aerobic exercise or weight training. It can be as simple as puttering around in the garden!

Studies show that spending time weeding, planting, and sowing is an excellent way to boost mental and physical health. It stimulates the senses, provides physical activity, and helps us reconnect with nature.

Keep reading to find out more about the benefits of gardening for seniors – and how to best grow your own garden.

How Does Gardening Benefit Seniors?

 

  1. It lowers stress. Studies have shown that gardening can lower levels of the stress-producing hormone cortisol and raise the levels of serotonin, a calming chemical that helps improve mood. Some studies have even linked gardening to a reduction in symptoms of depression. In addition, gardening increases hand-eye coordination, which helps to keep the brain and body in sync.

 

  1. It boosts heart health. Did you know that in the 60–79-year-old age group, 69.1% of men and 67.9% of women have cardiovascular disease? Luckily, studies have found that regular gardening can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke by as much as 30% for people over 60. Additionally, gardening can help you burn 200 to 400 calories and hour, which has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.

 

  1. It increases mobility. Mobility problems in seniors can stop them from taking part in activities they enjoy and can lead to social isolation and depression. Many older adults begin to limit what they do physically, believing they are saving themselves from injury – but remaining active is the key to good health. Gardening is known to engage lesser-used muscles and to help build strength and mobility.

 

  1. It increases brain health. No one knows exactly what causes Alzheimer’s Disease or how to prevent it, but studies show that positive live choices, such as gardening, can have an impact. In fact, the physical demands, critical thinking skills, and sensory awareness have been shown to reduce the risk of dementia by up to 36%.

 

  1. It encourages healthy eating. There are many reasons why it can be difficult for seniors to stick to a healthy diet. New food aversions. Difficulty chewing. Dietary restrictions. Boredom. The list goes on and on. But growing your own garden makes it easy to access healthy, delicious foods in season – including many you can pluck off the plant and eat on the spot, like snap peas, cherry tomatoes, or berries.

Final Thoughts

Gardening can be an enjoyable activity when the weather is nice, and the benefits are many. One of the best things about gardening for seniors is that it is adaptable for all skill and ability levels – for example, potted plants or raised beds can be used instead of a traditional garden for those who can’t bend or kneel.

Know your limits, take breaks as necessary, but – most of all – HAVE FUN!

Happy gardening!

Posted in: Health

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New Year’s Resolutions for Older Adults

Monday , December 30 , 2020

New Year’s Resolutions for Older Adults

As we head into the new year, it’s an excellent time to reflect on your life. Are you happy with your health? Do you see your friends and family as often as you’d like? Do you have hobbies and activities you enjoy?

Setting new year’s resolutions may seem like a young man’s game but having goals can be especially beneficial for older adults.

In 2020, consider a resolution that focuses on eating better, improving your social life, or learning a new skill:  It will improve your wellbeing for the year to come and far beyond.

The following are our suggestions for new year’s resolutions that every senior citizen should consider:

Make Time for Daily Exercise

Studies have shown that staying physically active is the key to healthy aging. Although experts recommend getting at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity each week, any amount is beneficial. If you’re just getting started, consider a quick walk around the block – or even around your backyard.

Take up a New Hobby

For many older adults, boredom and loneliness are a real threat. Taking up a new hobby or activity can help alleviate social isolation, as well as keeping the mind and the body active. There are plenty of activities for individuals of all capabilities – from art and crafts to exercise – so there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Explore Volunteer Opportunities

During your senior years, you may have more time to dedicate to charitable causes than you did in your younger years. Doing so can provide a great sense of fulfillment in your life. Volunteering provides a way to give back to the community and support causes that are personally meaningful to you. Bonus: It also connects you to like-minded individuals and introduces new opportunities for friendship and socialization!

Learn a New Technology

Learning a new technology isn’t just a great workout for your brain – it also helps build a connection to the younger generation. Today, everything is done on a computer or cell phone. Learning how to use social media or online chat can help bridge the gap between you and your grandkids or other young family members. In addition, many new technologies can help keep senior citizens safe and healthy (the Apple Watch can do everything from detecting a fall to monitoring heart rate!).


Do Some Traveling

Whether it’s a trip across the world or a trip across the city, travel can enhance the lives of seniors in many ways. Studies have found that just three days of vacation can lower stress levels, even after vacation ends – plus, travel keeps seniors moving and active, and introduces more opportunities for socialization. There are dozens of tour groups that cater specifically to older adults – and if you’re unsure about travelling alone, a professional caregiver can be utilized to provide companionship and safety.

Spend More Time with the Grandkids

Research shows that grandparents who babysit their grandchildren live longer than those who do not care for anyone. In fact, they have up to a 37% lower mortality rate than people of the same age who aren’t responsible for others. Even if you don’t care for a grandchild or other young person, simply spending time with them regularly can help. And can you really think of a better way to spend your retirement??

Final Thoughts

Lots of people make New Year’s resolutions every year and don’t stick with them. This year, vow to do something that’s good for you and make it happen! Resolutions can be fun. Find a class you want to take, plan a trip, or book a monthly lunch with a friend.

Tell us: What do you have planned for the New Year that will help improve your health and happiness?

Posted in: Aging

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