Home > Archives for Jennifer Campbell

The Best Ways to Avoid Getting Sick this Winter

Winter comes with a lot of baggage, which includes potentially getting sick. However, due to so many work and holiday obligations, getting sick this time of year can cause some massive headaches. To remain healthy, try some of these ways to avoid getting sick in the winter.

Use a Humidifier

Wintertime usually means you will be spending more time indoors than out, especially if you live in a cold climate. However, the air in your home can be harmful to you if it’s too dry—it can not only make you sick, but it can cause nosebleeds too. If you do find yourself getting them frequently, follow the proper steps to stop a nosebleed. Make sure that the air in your home isn’t dry by using a humidifier; this will circumvent the issue altogether. For many humidifiers, all you must do is fill it up with warm water and add a little bit of salt to give your room the right moisture amount.

Stay Active

Staying active by getting a good amount of exercise every week comes with many benefits. One of them is reducing the chance of getting sick. Make sure, however, that you wipe down exercise equipment when you are finished using it—especially if you are in a public setting.

Take Vitamin D

Another way to avoid getting sick in the winter is to take vitamin D. Sunlight is key to good health because of all the nutrients it emits, but that can be difficult to get in the winter. However, taking vitamin D everyday can give you the nutrients from the sun and also lessen your chances of getting sick.

Wash Your Hands

You knew this was coming; washing your hands is the easiest way to avoid any sickness. Wash your hands often, especially in cases when you are finished going to the bathroom, eating, and working out. It also isn’t a bad idea to use disinfecting wipes on your phone, computer, and other items you use frequently.

Use these 4 tips for yourself and those you care for to help stay healthy this holiday season!

Senior Health Tips: Maintaining Healthy Bones, Muscles, and Joints

One of the first things to go as you age is your bone density, muscle mass, and joints. You can’t get around as well, you’re prone to injuries, and, for some seniors, it feels like you’re shrinking or losing weight. Your joints lose fluid and cartilage causing them to be stiff, and your muscle mass decreases as muscle tissue reduces. Though this is all a natural course of aging, it can make living out your golden years very complex, and for some, even painful. 

To prevent the likelihood of developing common bone, muscle, and joint issues like osteoporosis, arthritis, and fasciculations, and/or to reduce the symptoms of these conditions, it is essential for seniors, family caregivers, home health aides, and senior living communities to focus on a few key components. 

Nutrition

Positive health always starts from the inside out. Your body needs vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to remain in optimal shape. To improve bone health, for example, seniors need to be consuming a diet that includes calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin K. To sustain muscle mass, seniors need to be eating diets rich in protein, omega fatty acids, and the B vitamins. For healthy pain-free joints, it is imperative for seniors to consume anti-inflammatory foods. 

Consuming low-fat dairy, green leafy vegetables, fruits, fish, chicken, and lean beef can help improve your muscles, bones, and joints. It helps to slow the natural process of aging and/or reduce symptoms from conditions like arthritis. For seniors with dietary issues or small appetites, taking daily supplements containing these key vitamins and nutrients and/or drinking your nutrients in smoothies or protein shakes for women and men are ideal. 

Exercise

Seniors that incorporate exercise or physical activity into their daily routines are less likely to fall or become injured than those who don’t. Weight-bearing workouts are best for reducing bone loss, improving stamina, and increasing muscle tone. 

A wide misconception is that exercising has to be done in the gym or in front of the television with a DVD. However, there are a lot of physical activities seniors can engage in to maintain optimal muscle, bone, and joint health. They might want to try dancing, going for hikes, walking briskly, playing tennis, climbing the stairs, or even gardening. There are also exercises like yoga which can be ideal for improving balance, flexibility, range of motion, and strength. 

Seniors should always check with their doctors before starting a new exercise routine to ensure they won’t worsen their health or injure themselves. They can then work out with other seniors in their community, join exercise classes, or take advantage of fitness programs available at a community center. 

Hydration

Drinking plenty of water is also essential to maintaining healthy bones, muscles, and joints. When seniors are drinking enough water, the water helps to provide necessary nutrients to the muscles while also removing waste so that they become stronger. Drinking more water also helps to keep joints lubricated so that they don’t rub together causing friction and inflammation which leads to pain. 

It’s recommended that the average person drink at least 8 cups of water each day. To try to encourage more hydration for seniors to be sure that they have fresh water sources whether it be a filtration system or bottled spring water. Incorporating fruit into the water helps to add taste and key nutrients which are great for allover health. Senior centers might help with the consumption of water by serving water as an option with each meal or having easily accessible water fountains or dispensers on the premises. 

Sleep

Last, but not least on improving bone, muscle, and joint health in seniors is getting enough sleep. Your body is constantly working, when you’re sleeping, it provides your body with the time it needs to repair, build, and heal. Your bones and muscles especially, need to go through a repair process in which old tissue is replaced with new tissue which is most effectively done when you’re sleeping comfortably. 

Getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep can be hard. If there is an underlying cause to your sleep-deprivation, talk to your doctor about treatment. Otherwise, ensure that your sleeping environment is comfortable with proper bedding, temperature, and lighting control. 

Osteoporosis, arthritis, and other skeletal, muscular, and joint conditions become more common as you age. You can reduce the likelihood of developing such conditions and/or ease the symptoms of them by being proactive in the areas discussed above.

Caring for an Aging Parent with a Chronic Illness

Being a caregiver to an aging parent already presents a lot of emotional, physical, and financially challenges on an adult child. So, when you add to the mix a chronic illness, one can only imagine the amount of strain this puts on the entire family. While it may feel like your world has turned upside down, the reality is that there are effective ways to support your loved one while still being there for yourself and other members of your family. 

Give Them Space

Upon hearing the news of their health condition, you can expect that your parents are going to have a plethora of emotions going on in their minds. Though you want to be their source of light and motivation, it is important that you provide them with some space to grieve. Give them a bit of space to wrap their heads around what is happening and let out those overwhelming emotions. This may mean keeping the kids from running into grandma and grandpa’s room or simply not bringing up the subject-matter for a few days. 

Learn All You Can 

As you allow your aging parents the time they need to sort through their emotions, you can educate yourself on their condition. Let’s say they’ve been diagnosed with cancer. Now would be the time to learn all you can about their particular type of cancer. You can also do some in-depth research online, or talk to various experts about innovative technologies, medicines, and procedures that can help such as car t-cell therapy, herbal remedies, diets, and more. This way, when your parent is ready to discuss their condition, you have an idea of the resources they can turn to. 

Talk to the Rest of Your Family

At some point, the children, your spouse, and anyone else who is in the home will realize the physical and emotional changes that your parents are going through. Therefore, it is important not to keep them in the dark for very long. 

After giving your parents time to calm down and accept their reality (so they’re not bombarded with questions and emotions of their relatives), talk to the rest of the members in your household. In an age-appropriate manner explain what is going on, and even provide them with ways they can help support. If the diagnosis is life-threatening, you may want to consider getting your entire family into therapy so they can learn how to cope with the overwhelming emotions. 

Consider Getting More Help

Caring for aging parents with a chronic illness will most certainly demand more of your time and energy. Chances are you’re running on empty as it is, so don’t be afraid to consider getting more help. While you may have thought you didn’t need a home health aide in the past, with more medications, doctor’s appointments, and complications to their health, you might want to revisit that decision. Even having them come on a part-time basis would free up your time so you don’t become overwhelmed. 

Now, is also a good time to ask relatives to help out with things around the house or being there for the kids physically and emotionally. You might even benefit from having a housekeeper, pet walker, or babysitter on hand to take some of the household and family responsibilities off your hands. 

Consider a Senior Community

Again, it can be a lot to care for someone you love with a chronic illness. As their condition worsens and they’re unable to do for themselves, all of these responsibilities will fall onto you. If it becomes too much to bare physically, financially, or emotionally, you may need to consider a senior community. Nursing homes are facilities where trained medical professionals are on staff around the clock. They are trained to know how to treat patients with chronic illnesses to ensure they get the best care possible. 

Prepare Their Estate

Though a difficult conversation to have with your parents, if you haven’t done so in the past, now is the time to talk about their estate plans. The hope, of course, is that they live as long as they possibly can, but with a chronic illness, you can never be too sure. Rather than wait until things get worse, discuss their estate and final wishes to find out what they want to be done. Get things in place like their will, long-term care insurance, property deeds, businesses, and other assets so you know where everything is should you need it. If you are not already the power of attorney, you want to find out if your parents will designate you. 

No one wants to think about the day that their mom or dad becomes chronically ill, but it happens more often than you may know. Should an aging loved one bit hit with this devastating news, it is imperative for you to be the strong support they need to get through. While remembering to prioritize your own health and needs, utilize the advice above to make this transition as easy as possible for all involved parties. 

Cultivate the Art of Wellness in Retirement

When we think of art, we think of creative pursuits like writing, painting, or pottery. We seldom see cultivating a persistent sense of wellbeing as an art form. Yet, when you think about it, living well is as artistic, creative, and engaging as any other form of art.

This is especially true in retirement. Our bodies are aging, our careers are over, and our lives can easily start to feel empty and unfulfilled. To rise above all of that and achieve a true sense of wellbeing into old age is a remarkable feat.

Still, how do you even start your path to wellness in retirement?

Although everyone has their own interpretation of wellness, there are some common threads you can pull upon to craft your own wellness enhancement project:

Maintain Your Health

Here are 4 suggestions on how to maintain your health:

  1. Get health insurance or improve your health insurance options.

If you don’t have any serious health problems—such as heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, human immunodeficiency virus, cancer, diabetes, substance abuse, and so on  — consider getting non ACA health insurance, which is health insurance for people with no major pre-existing health condition. Similarly, those on Medicare should carefully examine their options. Depending on your specific situation, a Medicare Advantage Plan might be necessary.

  1. Practice preventative medicine

Although there are many common misconceptions about naturopathic medicine, it’s worth looking into this form of natural medicine as a way to become more conscious of your health. Naturopathic practices support your body’s natural capacity to stay healthy by maintaining a balanced lifestyle. Explore this idea or other formal preventative medical disciplines to learn how to prevent illnesses from occurring.

  1. Exercise regularly

Because nature designed the human body for movement, you undermine your health if you’re sedentary most of the day. This is especially true for those entering old age.

  • Get up every thirty minutes or every hour to walk around.
  • If you have an activity you like, figure out how to do it more often or do it better.
  • If you don’t exercise at all, explore various ways to create a routine that increases your flexibility, endurance, and strength. This could be a single activity, or it could be a series of activities. 

When it comes to exercise, find routines and exercises that you enjoy rather than trying to force yourself to exercise because you know it’s good for you. You’ll replace will-power with want-power. Most senior communities offer many active options. Try them until the find the one that you enjoy. 

  1. Unwind after a busy day

Rather than resort to common default de-pressurization techniques after a hectic day–like social media surfing, engaging in random telephone calls or texting, staring at the television, or scrolling through YouTube feeds–consider expanding your repertoire.

For instance:

  • Arrange regular therapeutic massages to relieve knotted muscles.
  • Meditate to explore the deeper reaches of your consciousness.
  • Enroll in a recreational class to learn flowing movements like Qigong or tai chi.
  • Go for long walks in nature. Observing the expansive blue sky, the intricacies of bushes and trees, and the ripples on a lake have a curious way of calming your nerves and restoring your mental acuity.

Get Into Flow States

Although humans have enjoyed flow states since the time they wandered across the savanna, it took a keen observer of human nature like Mihály Csíkszentmihályi to give it a name and a description. 

A flow state is any activity that fully engages our attention. When we do it, our sense of self disappears, and we become engrossed in a challenging and stimulating project. For example, surgeons go into a flow state when operating on a patient. Chess players fall into one when playing in a tournament. Writers slip into one when writing an imaginary scenario.

What things put you in a flow state? Passive activities like watching television don’t count. It has to be something that is difficult enough to be stimulating but not so difficult that it’s exasperating. 

Wellness is the art of becoming more aware of your unfolding experiences. Think of it as a way you can recover moments or happy accidents. Maintaining your health and discovering activities that trigger flow states are two portals to a happier, healthier, and more harmonious life in retirement.

Caring for a Senior with Vision Impairment

 

Low vision and vision loss are common occurrences in adults over the age of 60. Like other parts of the body, as you age, your eyesight weakens. Though common, living with low vision can be a scary time in a person’s life. They will ultimately need to rely on their families and/or caregivers to help them manage their impairment. It can be difficult for all involved parties but learning how to help a loved one or senior with vision problems can make the transition easier. 

Regular Exams

To treat and/or prevent vision impairments in seniors from getting worse, it is important that they have an annual eye exam. Eye exams, much like a medical physical exam are designed to help identify and/or prevent further complications with vision. 

Seek Treatment

Eye exams for seniors, especially those with impaired vision are essential to maintaining their eye health. However, visiting an ophthalmologist on a regular basis is also imperative for effective treatment. When issues are detected, many can be corrected or at the very least, dramatically reduced which can bring some relief to the patient. For instance, cataract is a condition in which the eye lens becomes clouded making your vision blurry. This does happen with age, but can be corrected, in many instances, with cataracts surgery. Failing to seek treatment, however, could result in seniors going blind. 

Preventing Falls

As they age, seniors have a higher risk of slipping and falling. However, a senior who’s vision is impaired has an even higher chance of falling and getting seriously hurt. Whether you’re a family member, a home health aide, or an employee within a nursing home, it is imperative that you be especially cautious as you try to remove objects that could cause them to get hurt. 

You can do things like installing grab bars in hallways, bathrooms, and bedrooms to provide extra assistance with getting around, removing all clutter and debris from pathways, install more or brighter lights around the home, add bright-colored tape to the stairs so they can clearly see, purchase a walking stick or cane which can be used to check their immediate surroundings for obstacles, and remove all tripping hazards like loose floorboards, area rugs, carpeting that isn’t secure, etc. 

Home Organization

Getting organized will be key to helping a senior with impaired vision to live comfortably at home or in a senior facility. After removing all tripping hazards and putting in railings, bars, and guards to try and prevent falls, the home or room needs to be organized. Putting everything in its place helps seniors to build on their memory so they can get around and do things without getting hurt. Create common areas for everything and, if necessary, put large signs or labels on them to make it easier for seniors to see where it is located. Get them in the habit of putting things back where they got them as well so there’s no frustration later trying to find what they need. 

Every Day Tasks

A senior with low or impaired vision may have a hard time doing things for themselves like cleaning, cooking, or tending to the laundry. There are several methods that can be used to make things easier for everyone. 

You can sign them up for meal delivery services where local programs bring free and/or affordable hot meals to seniors. If there are senior community centers nearby, they often serve at least one meal a day to participants. You can also set up a weekly meal plan, and do most of your prepping and cooking on the weekends. This way, all they have to do is heat up their food and eat. 

As for cleaning and laundry, you can essentially pick a day where you’ll come and clean up around their homes. You could hire a cleaning professional such as a maid to stop by a few times a week. Lastly, you could enlist the services of a home health aide or caretaker during the day to take care of all of it for. 

Vision loss is very scary. It can also be very depressing and stressful to deal with for family members, caregivers, and seniors. The best thing you can do for all involved is to take the above-mentioned steps to care for the senior’s vision and making their home and lifestyle as accommodating as possible. 

Help! My Mom Doesn’t Want to Move!

Moving can hold frightening and unpleasant connotations for the seniors in our lives. Many of our parents and grandparents have sown precious memories into their homes. You can’t blame them for not wanting to leave, but sometimes it becomes necessary.

Here are three ways you can help transition your loved one into accepting relocation with a smile:

  1. Be understanding – You must be able to place yourself in your loved one’s shoes. Take as much time as they need to discuss why the move is necessary, and listen to all of their worries or issues. It is important to really listen and work towards dispelling negative thoughts and emotions about the move. Assure them you will address every one of their concerns.
  2. Offer assistance – Make sure you are helping out in any way your senior needs you to. You can assist by scheduling the moving van, getting all of their belongings in order, and offering assistance to them every step along the way. Let your loved one know you are there for them. Make sure they are comfortable asking you for help by being available and kind. Being available is extremely important, try to clear your schedule so you have the proper time to assist your senior.
  3. Give incentive – It helps to let the senior in your life know exactly why this move is beneficial to them. Obviously, everyone’s reasons will be different, but there are some staples that will generally ring true for every situation. Let them know they will be embarking on a brand new adventure! This is their chance to learn about a new town or city, redecorate their new place, and make a plethora of new connections. Bring up that they will now be around many people their own age. They will be able to make a ton of new friends and share similar, yet different, memories.

Always hear your loved one out and make sure this move is right for them. Be considerate at all times of their wants and needs!

Click to find the senior community that is best for them.

Find a Senior Community &/or Care in Central Texas

If you are looking for a senior community or care provider in the Austin or San Antonio area, look no further!

The updated guides to senior living and care in Central texas and the Hill Country are now available.

Click to view the digital guides or order online at  https://www.newlifestyles.com/directories/order-print-guide

Guide to Senior Living and Care in the Austin Area

Guide to Senior Living and Care in the San Antonio Area