As seniors age, they start to slow down and health deteriorates. However, little low-impact exercise on a daily can make a big difference for health, lifestyle, longevity, mental acuity and much more. That’s why seniors should make a special effort to stay active. There are a few activities which are especially helpful for seniors in independent living communities.
The practice of yoga is becoming more and more popular around the country. It is a great exercise for seniors because they can stretch and move every part of their bodies without expending too much energy. Yoga may even be practiced while sitting on chairs rather than a mat.
Of course, traditional aerobic activity is extremely stressful on the body. It requires pressure, sweat and intense exercise. In contrast, slow moving aquarobics in a pool is virtually stress free. Seniors move their bodies in the pool while an instructor leads them in all the movements.
Of course, slow walking is the traditional exercise that most seniors engage in daily. Walking in a park, around a lake or even down the street is a good way to get outside and keep active. It is low impact and gets most of your joints working. For seniors that don’t have the resources to engage in other forms of exercise, this is always a good option.
Seniors that still are in Independent Living may like to get out of the home and take a trip through nature. On the trip they may engage in biking, hiking, climbing and swimming. Active seniors still can pursue all of these activities.
You are never too old to dance! Active seniors have become increasingly engaged in all types of dance dance classes including ballroom, contemporary, tap, cha cha and more.
Best of all, these activities are so much fun they don’t feel like exercise!
Elder financial abuse is a serious concern for many seniors. While your clients have likely taken care of their own finances all their lives, in those later years, new challenges may arise that lead to them welcoming help from other sources. Unfortunately, not all of those sources are the caring helpers they’d like. If you notice any of these signs of elder financial abuse, it’s important to report it immediately.
Sign #1: Bills are Unpaid
Even though in-home caregivers are not directly involved in a client’s finances, over time, however, you may start to notice that things aren’t being paid that should be: the electricity may go unpaid, the rent not taken care of, and more.
Sign #2: There’s Someone New in Their Life
While dating isn’t an immediate sign of financial abuse, it is important for a designated individual (e.g. family member or guardian) to keep a closer eye on a client’s finances. Often, a new individual who sweeps in–especially one who is much younger–is doing it for their personal gain.
Sign #3: You Know Someone is Demanding Money
There’s a grandchild who only shows up to ask for things. A child frequently asks for expensive “gifts” and acts incredibly spoiled when they don’t get them. Regular demands for money from a client can be a sign that there’s more serious financial abuse going on behind the scenes.
Sign #4: Standard of Living Decreases Significantly
Suddenly, things that your client used to take for granted seem to be out of reach. They aren’t eating out like they used to, or they can’t afford things that were once normal. If there’s a serious shift in standard of living, consider the possibility that elder abuse might be involved.
Sign #5: Your Client’s Wishes are Ignored
In some cases, an elderly individual will pass power of attorney or financial control over to someone else in those later years. That doesn’t mean, however, that their wishes should be ignored! If there are regular complaints about how someone else is handling their money, it’s important to figure out how the money is being spent and whether or not things are being handled well with it.
If you feel your client is experiencing financial abuse, it’s important to report it immediately. Financial abuse can turn serious very quickly. By staying alert, you can catch it early and protect your client. Contact the National Center on Elder Abuse for more information on reporting elder financial abuse.
The challenges of aging do not need to include giving up the things you love. In fact, it is important to help seniors remain active as they age. Arts and crafts, keeping a pet, gardening, and meditation are all fulfilling hobbies that can keep a senior’s mind active, even as their body slows down. Studies have shown that enriching the mind is key to staying healthy, living a longer life, and keeping the mind sharp. The trick is to find activities that complement, not complicate, their lifestyles as they age.
Arts and crafts are one of the best hobbies for seniors to pick up. Art is easy, can be done by anyone, and can be very fulfilling. From art classes at community and senior centers to specialized dementia art, there are many options for pursuing this passion. Even something as simple as checking out a Bob Ross video from your local library can offer a fulfilling creative outlet.
Keeping a pet can be a challenge for any age, but arthritis and finding pet friendly assisted living can create particular difficulties. Some of the best dogs for seniors include easy-going small dogs like pugs and corgis. Not only are they smaller and easy to care for, they have gentle and easygoing natures that make them ideal for community living. Elder pet care doesn’t have to be complicated, especially with a well chosen pet companion.
Gardening for seniors is an extremely popular pass time with good reason. A garden can be as big or little as you want, from a tidy window box full of fragrant flowers to tiered plots of vegetables and ornamental plants. Gardens can be tailored to an individuals particular physical requirements and they can bring lots of joy; they also provide health-giving oxygen mood boosts.
If physical activity is a particular challenge, meditation for seniors is a wonderful way to keep the mind sharp and engaged, while focused breathing can promote good health even when exercise isn’t an option. Meditation is offered at many community centers, places of worship, and it can be learned and practiced independently, making it a great option for those with limited mobility.
When residing in a senior residence or when receiving other senior care services, it is imperative that senior citizens get the treatment they need and deserve. Where each level of care offer services that meet specific needs, everyone has room for improvement. One particular area of concern happens to be dental hygiene. Here are a few suggestions for improving dental hygiene when residing in a nursing home.
Why Is Oral Health So Important?
We all know how important oral health is in our daily lives. Most of us brush and floss twice a day and see the dentist about once a year. Many people also invest larger expenses into their dentistry such as braces and oral surgeries such as the removal of wisdom teeth.
As someone gets older, though, dentistry not only stays important, it becomes more important. For one, many older adults are on medications that have side effects that affect oral health such as hypersalivation, hyposalivation, periodontal disease, and more.
Then, it also comes down to care. When an older person is in a nursing home, they aren’t able to make their own dental appointments anymore. For many of these residents, keeping up with their regular dental routine of brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash becomes harder thanks to both physical and mental handicaps.
Knowing how important oral health is, it’s important to consider how residents in nursing homes can be helped in taking care of oral health.
Help Them Keep Up Their Routines
The most basic thing that can be done for residents in nursing homes is to help them keep up with their oral hygiene routines. This is the bare minimum that can be done. It should also be noted that long term care facilities that accept Medicare or Medicaid payments are federally mandated to help with daily oral hygienic care, so doing otherwise leaves that nursing home below federal.
It wouldn’t be difficult to do either. In most nursing homes, there are multiple residents that need help with basic care facets such as bathing, going to the bathroom, eating, and taking their medication. So, it only makes sense that oral hygiene would fall under the category of things that residents are reminded to do and helped with if needed.
Another big part of this is to provide residents with what they need. Nursing homes should make sure that each resident has the essentials. For instance, a toothbrush and toothpaste. Additionally, nursing homes should be aware of and accommodating to additional oral hygiene – such as denture care – for residents who need it.
It should also be noted that professionals that work in nursing homes should have training in how to take care of their residents’ oral health. After all, taking care of the oral health of residents to the best of your ability isn’t exactly the same as taking care of your own oral health. Additionally, a professional cannot provide the best care for a resident if they are uninformed of what the best care is.
While the daily oral care that professionals within a nursing home provide is important, it isn’t the only concern to be handled. For instance, an individual could brush their teeth twice a day, every day and still end up with dental problems if they never went to see a professional dentist.
As such, it is important that residents in a nursing home still have access to see a dentist. Just as nursing homes make sure that nursing home patients see doctors as much as needed, they should also make sure that they see a dentist as much as they need it.
Another idea is that each resident should have a dental screening as they enter the nursing home of their choosing. This would entail making sure each resident was healthy and didn’t have any pre-existing dental conditions upon their admittance to the nursing home. This way, if they do have any issues withstanding when they are admitted, the nursing home knows to keep an eye on these issues and take action to help control and in some cases correct any problems.
Emergency Dental Care
Finally, nursing homes need to be prepared for the unexpected. Just like the rest of us, sometimes more often than the rest of us, older individuals can run into dental emergencies. From the sudden toothache to a chipped tooth, the occasional emergency will crop up and nursing homes need to be ready to deal with this.
Luckily, there are plenty of 24-hour dentists that specialize in taking care of dental emergencies. These are dentists that you can go to when you run into an emergency, though.
One way to find the dentist you need is to use Emergency Dentist USA. This service allows you to choose your state and then find the type of dentist you need – from weekend dentists to dental emergency rooms.
A great idea would be for emergency dental services to work in tandem with nursing homes. This way, residents of the nursing home and their families wouldn’t have to worry about what would happen if the resident had a dental emergency late at night, over the weekend, or on a holiday.
When you’re providing home care for seniors, it’s important to match the right people together. A person who provides home care is going to be in the senior’s life for a significant period of time. They might actually stay with the senior or they might go to their home everyday. Plus, it’s possible that the senior might feel a certain degree of embarrassment about having someone help them with everyday things. So it’s important for the caregiver to put them at ease.
Considering the Sex of the Caregiver
First of all, it’s important to consider the sex of the caregiver. Some seniors might feel more comfortable with someone of their own sex while others might feel comfortable with someone of the opposite sex as well. This is just something you will need to consult the senior about before assigning them someone.
Giving the Senior an Adjustment Period
You also need to give both, the senior and the caregiver, some time to adjust to each other. It’s possible that the senior might feel uncomfortable in the beginning but adjust in a short period of time, as long as the caregiver is a good one.
Making Sure the Senior Feels Heard
It’s important to make the senior feel like you are taking what they say seriously. Many times, seniors feel that their complaints are not heard by family or caregivers. So you need to make sure that this doesn’t happen.
Providing Basic Customer Service
This is something that applies in any business. Every customer who is purchasing a product or a service should receive good customer service. You need to listen to their complaints and address them as best you can.
Resolving Issues Along with the Senior
Often, just the process of telling you what they’re having a hard time with can help the senior to feel better. As a result, they might come up with a solution of their own or the two of you can come up with a solution together.
Presenting the Solution in the Right Way
The point is to make the senior feel comfortable in their own home. And as someone who runs a home care business, you may already know the solutions to many problems that seniors face because you may have come across them before. But the way in which you present these solutions is of great import.
Everyone Likes to Be Given a Choice
Just remember that no one wants to feel like they are being forced into anything. Everyone likes to feel that they are being given a choice. And although home care may be a necessity for many seniors, it helps to let them feel that they are being given a choice in how it is conducted.
You may realize that your body has started to change when you reached middle age. Your clothes start getting smaller as the numbers on the scale went up. Losing weight over 50 may be quite challenging because there is a huge change in your hormones. Losing and maintaining a healthy weight requires eating a balanced diet and actively engaging in physical activities. This is a very important part of staying healthy & independent as your age.
Consider these 5 things when trying to lose weight at 50 years and beyond:
1. Eat Enough Proteins, Vegetables, and Whole Foods
Eating a diet high in protein helps you feel full longer. A high-protein diet helps you burn more calories, and it can help repair damaged tissues and muscle cells. Whole foods help your body minimize the amount of sugar in the blood. In order to lose weight more effectively, be sure to do away with high sugar foods such as many breakfast cereals, canned fruits, and fruit juices. Instead, stock your home pantry with more high-protein, fiber-rich foods. If eating in a retirement community, make healthier choices from the menu, like grilled & roasted meat, steamed & raw vegetables & salad, and take it easy on the dessert. Just because it’s included, doesn’t mean you should eat it.
2. Do Not Skip Your Meals
Not eating enough or skipping a meal may make you feel hungry or weak, and it causes your brain not to function properly. You will lack the essential nutrients required to nourish your body as you grow older. Contrary to the common opinion, eating a balanced diet will increase your body’s metabolism; a slower metabolism will make you eat more, thus adding more weight. If you are unable to independently prepare balanced meals, try contacting an in-home meal preparation service, or hire home care to help you shop & prepare your meals.
3. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is an important factor when trying to lose weight. A balanced diet, coupled with regular exercise, may not be sufficient enough to help you lose weight if you do not get enough sleep. Poor sleeping habits stimulate the hormones that control hunger and appetite. The leptin hormone suppresses your appetite thus causing your body to spend energy. On the other hand, the ghrelin hormone triggers the hunger when you deprive yourself to sleep. Sleep deprivation makes you eat more calories at night which leads to weight gain.
Consider doing more strength training exercises – also known as resistance training. Strength training exercises help build and maintain muscle, they help you lose weight, and they can lower blood sugar levels. Additionally, strength training exercises are good for joints and bone strength which improves mobility. Also, consider aerobic exercises. Cardiovascular exercises are known to improve your heart’s health. Most senior communities have a gym and many offer a trainer to help you get started and stay safe. If exercising in your home, remember to play it safe to reduce risks of injury. Most importantly, consult with your doctor before you undertake any training.
5. Reduce Eating Out
Independent individuals, age 50 and beyond, tend to eat out more. Dining out increases the likelihood of consuming the processed, fatty foods that result in weight gain. One way to combat potential weight gain would be to prepare balanced meals in your home. If you plan to eat out for dinner, make sure and eat 2 small healthy meals at home before so you don’t overeat while out. And remember to make healthy choices when you are out.
As you age, your body needs proper care. Eating well and exercising regularly will keep you happy, and your body healthy and fit, which will increase your independence. Ultimately, you may come to realize that losing weight, after 50, is worth the work.
When most seniors think of moving to a senior community, one of the first thoughts that might cross their mind is, “What about my personal belongings?” This might seem irrational at first glance, but when looked into a little deeper, it can be seen that this is not somuch a materialistic thought, as it is a fear of loss.
Most seniors go from a few thousand square feet, to only a few hundred square feet, if that. Taking away the fear of losing privacy, personal belongings, and personal space, can alleviate some of the anxiety a resident might feel during this process.
The most important thing to remember when marketing specifically to senior patrons, is that this is their life taking a major turn. While that turn may not be for the worse, of course, it is a huge life change. Subtle reassurance within every blog post, commercial, pamphlet, and meeting, not only makes the client feel better, but also the family. Subtle reassurance not just mentioning how wonderful your staff is, or your amazing physical therapy services, but also the types of food served for what kinds of clients, activities, and help in fitting personal items in each room/apartment. It’s always nice to have an example of a “homey” space ready to show visitors.
The patrons want to hear what the staff turnover is like, and why. They would like to be reassured that if they fall asleep to music at home, would they be allowed to do so at the facility? If they used a box fan at home, will they be allowed to have it in their room? These are the important things to consider when marketing to the senior client. Their personal interests and needs have to be shown in any commercials, pamphlets, blogs, etc. for them, as well as their families, to trust that you will support them in all they need.
Many businesses start out in an organized manner but as they grow, they become more and more disorganized. There might be less space in their offices. Their files might be all over the place. They might have enough staff in certain positions but there might be a lack of employees in other positions. These issues can be seen in many businesses, including residential care homes.
Dealing with the Needs of Many Individuals
If you’re the owner of a residential care home, you may be dealing with some issues like these. Given that you’re dealing with the needs of many individuals, it might be hard to keep everything running smoothly. After all, each individual is different and you have to respect their individual eccentricities. And this goes for your residents as well as your employees.
Taking Stock of Clutter in Your Offices
The first thing you might want to do is to clear out your physical space. You must have offices which you use to run your residential care home. Are these offices cluttered? Do you have files sitting around from twenty years ago which are of no use to anyone? Do you have books, gifts, certificates and other paraphernalia which you haven’t wanted to part with because of their sentimental value?
Deciding What Should Stay and What Should Go
It’s time to let all these things go. Take a good hard look at everything that’s cluttering up your office space and encourage your employees to do the same. Old files can all be digitized. You can allow yourself a few knickknacks which have sentimental value. These will give your offices personality. But if you’re holding on to that handmade cross stitch cushion out of a sense of guilt (even though you think it’s really ugly) then put it in the “throw” pile.
Decluttering Your Offices and Your Mind
In this way, you can declutter your offices and even your mind. If there are any work-related problems that have been bothering you for some time, you might even find yourself stumbling across the solutions while decluttering. Eventually, you’ll find that your residential care home is running a lot more smoothly due to your decluttering efforts.
Caring for a loved one is no easy task, and the number of Americans who take on the arduous role is astronomical. In the last 12 months, 34.2 million Americans have provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older. Making the choice about what type of care best serves your loved one is multidimensional to say the least. Whether you decide to move them in with you, find a care facility, or something in between, it is important to ensure their living environment is conducive to happy and healthy days.
Regardless of your decision, it is in everyone’s best interest to inspect the facility for household toxins before making a commitment about where your loved one will spend their time.
Asbestos is a microscopic particulate mineral once commonly included in building materials between 1930 and 1970. The mineral was used in numerous capacities, including ceiling/floor tiles, insulation, wallpaper, and furnaces. Do not shy away from asking about any potential exposure to the toxin if your home, or the housing facility you’re considering for your loved one, was built during those decades.
Asbestos exposure is the only known cause of mesothelioma cancer, a rare and very aggressive disease. The cancer develops in the lining of the organs after inhalation of asbestos fibers. The most common form is pleural mesothelioma, and symptoms of the disease include chest pain and shortness of breath. Take a moment to talk about potential risks with the person you’re caring for when discussing asbestos with facility management.
Asbestos was also commonly used in the armed forces, so veterans may have been exposed to the toxin during their service years. Tens of thousands of veterans who worked with asbestos while in the Armed Forces have been diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases, so the discussions are warranted.
While lead-based products are now illegal to use in the United States, structures built prior to 1978 commonly had lead-based paint decorating the walls. Lead is a cumulative toxicant, meaning it is stored in the teeth and bones, so lead levels in the body increase over time. Lead in the body is distributed to the brain, liver, kidney, and bones. Human exposure is usually assessed through the measurement of lead in blood, and there is no known safe level of lead exposure.
Exposure to lead causes long-term harm in adults, including increased risk of high blood pressure and kidney damage. According to the a report from the
Department of Medicine at the University of Washington, lead exposure in older adults, lead can reenter the bloodstream through conditions such as osteoporosis, where it can then re-expose the soft tissue, and, potentially, exert delayed harmful effects. Lead paint is indistinguishable from those free of the toxin, so testing is required to determine if there is a risk of harmful exposure. All testing should be performed by a certified professional. Ask facility management about the age of the building and, if applicable, if they’ve had lead testing done in the space.
The elderly are especially susceptible to carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is produced when you burn fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces. The toxic gas can build up indoors and poison those who breathe it. The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion, and symptoms are often described as “flu-like.” Each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning not linked to fires. Make sure there are carbon monoxide detectors with working batteries installed. The detectors should be placed in spots where they will wake the person up in the case of an emergency, such as outside the bedroom, and should be replaced every five years. if considering a housing facility, ask management when they last had their carbon monoxide detectors serviced.
Caring for a loved one is taxing work but taking a moment to ensure your loved ones are safe from the effects of toxins can assure you have more happy moments with them in your life. Asking questions and advocating for their health will help put your mind at ease, even when you’re unable to be with them.
It is difficult for anyone, client or provider, to adopt the right tone when speaking of hospice care. Maintaining positivity while showing respect for potential clients who are grieving is a delicate balance, but it is one worth chasing. Finding the right words attracts more clients to your services, but also begins this painful process in a way that leads to better, more meaningful outcomes for families. So how is it done?
Step away from euphemism when speaking to potential clients. Avoiding use of the words ‘dying’ or ‘death’ may seem gentle, but it may lead families to feel uncomfortable asking the questions that matter to them. Using direct language in respectful tones lets them know that you understand fully that they are experiencing a deep loss, and that they do not need to temper their language to meet your needs. Clients are likely to choose the facility that makes them ‘feel comfortable’, and this is the easiest way to achieve that.
Ask multiple times what their concerns are about hospice care. They likely have several, and any industry professional knows the most common ones. But people may shy away from a particular provider over some small detail that means nothing to the provider, but brings back an emotional memory having nothing to do with care. For example, if there is a room outfitted to show potential clients that is painted a particular shade of pink that their loved one hated, it may simply be a matter of letting them know there is a room available in a different color. It seems trivial, but the experience of grief is deeply personal, and such a small matter may be the difference between your facility and choosing another.
Allow Plenty Of Time
Finally, you must allow time. Once hospice care enters the conversation, families often feel rushed to make decisions by doctors and hospitals whom they feel are indifferent to their impending loss. Frequently, they are rushed through the health care system with inadequate explanation to meet their needs. Your facility shines when it takes the clock off the wall and addresses each family’s needs, and hears its stories. To whatever degree it is possible, allow a family to talk as much as they like, and encourage them to ask all their questions, and make time to listen.
Long illness strains family relationships and individuals. It can involve long nights awake, protracted battles with insurance companies, and difficult decisions. What hospice must therefore offer is rest. A place where client and family can repair their relationships and say their goodbyes, and be reassured of comfort and peace, at home or in a facility. That is the true gift of hospice care.