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Important Car Features Older Adults Must Consider

The way you spend your later years matters, especially while you can still get around independently. You should have transportation tailored to your needs. Even if you spend your time in assisted living or home care, you can still have access to the outside world. When you look to buy or upgrade your vehicle, these are the most important car features older adults must consider.

Digital Speedometer and Display

It’s no secret that eyesight deteriorates over time and many older adults have difficulty discerning small letters and numbers. That’s why a digital speedometer and display can improve your ability to drive. Instead of reading the small number where a needle is pointing, you can glance at the dashboard and quickly read your speed. Many digital displays come with accessibility features too, like large or bold letters.

Navigation System

A GPS is a lifesaver for anyone driving in unfamiliar places. Regardless of your age, you should install a GPS in your car for ease of travel. Navigation systems are helpful for new and old locations alike. If you want to skirt around traffic or avoid the highways, you can customize your navigational preferences to fit your driving needs.

Climate-Appropriate Tires

Your climate impacts your vehicular needs. If you live in the snowy north, you must know the difference between all-season and snow tires so you can make the right choice. Without adequate tires, you can skid off the road or lose control in suboptimal driving conditions. Fresh and sturdy tires will give you better traction on the road and improve your safety on every trip.

Warning Systems

Warning systems are critical to performing driving basics. Blind spot and lane departure systems help you avoid hitting cars while driving in multi-lane traffic. Forward collision detectors prevent your vehicle from colliding with the cars in front of you by engaging your automatic braking system. You should also look for parking aids that can give you a full view of your vehicle while pulling into a spot on the street or in a parking garage.

Keep these important car features older adults must consider in mind as you plan for your next vehicle. You should enjoy your time behind the wheel and always maintain your car. With the right blend of consistent maintenance, accessible features, and premium comfort, you can relish your years of post-retirement freedom on the road.

Ways to Save Money When Planning a Funeral

Funerals are among the most difficult events to plan and budget for, especially when a passing happens suddenly. It’s never easy to say goodbye to a loved one, but it becomes particularly hard when you don’t have much money to spend on a funeral service and the expenses that come with a burial.

Unfortunately, some of these expenses come from businesses that take advantage of your grief and the time constraints to make you overpay for necessities. Don’t worry—in taking these ways to save money when planning a funeral into consideration, you can still have a quality service for your loved one on a budget.

Don’t Buy Everything in One Place

Grief-stricken individuals often think that every expense must come from the funeral home or monument maker. However, you can purchase some things for far less money through other vendors. The following funeral essentials, depending on your loved one’s wishes, can come from different locations for less money:

Casket

Caskets are infamously one of the largest expenses of a funeral, costing anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 on average. When that sort of money isn’t feasible, consider purchasing a casket from somewhere other than the funeral home—search online for cheaper options. Even many retail stores have started to sell their own caskets to make funerals more affordable for everyone.

Ceramic Photos

Placing a photo of a loved one directly onto their monument or grave marker will allow loved ones to remember what they looked like at any point in their life. While monument companies may charge hundreds of dollars extra to set the ceramic photo within the stone, you can also purchase the headstone photo directly from a retailer for a lower cost and place it on the monument yourself.

When you do it correctly, this solution is just as effective and shaves some money from the gravestone’s final cost. Take your time finding the perfect photo to represent your loved one, whether it’s a photo from their retirement community or one that took place in their prime.

Consider Alternative Burial Methods

If the death happened suddenly, you might not have had the difficult discussion about their funeral wishes with your loved one. In most cases, you’ll have an idea of the way they’d like to be memorialized, but if they left it up to you, consider alternatives to traditional burials.

There are plenty of ways to make the funeral special, even if you skip a traditional burial and monument. Consider the different benefits of each method—such as the ability to spread cremated ashes at your loved one’s favorite location or to press the ashes into precious jewelry. By finding ways to save money when planning a funeral, you can instead use the funds to honor the loved one in different ways.

5 Ways Seniors Aging in Place Can Leverage Technology and Combat Social Isolation

Though aging in place allows you to grow older from the comfort of your own home, it’s not without its challenges. One-third of seniors live alone, and many no longer drive, increasing their chances of becoming socially isolated. Loneliness poses incredible health risks, like escalated stress levels, high blood pressure, and an increased likelihood of Alzheimer’s in older adults.

However, seniors hoping to make the most of their golden years at home need not despair. Research shows social interaction can provide many benefits, including lowering your risk for mental instability, malnutrition, and cognitive disorders. However, thanks to digital technology, there are many ways you can improve your social connections from the comfort of your living room. Below are various ways to utilize technology to rectify social isolation.

Keep in touch via social media

Although social media may seem like a young man’s game, there is ample room for seniors to experiment with online interactions and applications. By making your own social media profiles, you too can connect with far-away family and tap into the mental-health-boosting benefits of an online presence.

If you’re interested in expanding your horizons and delving into the world of social media, research computers for seniors to find the perfect device for your specific needs and begin your descent into online communication.

Try video conferencing

Though it might not be quite the same as meeting in person, video calling your friends and family is the next best thing. Video chatting allows you to see and hear your loved ones in real-time, giving you access to live footage of your newest grandchild or friend’s new furry companion. Even better, you can easily access video conferencing applications on both smartphones and computers, giving you the option for on-the-go communication.

Join an online group

Finding a community is incredibly important for adults of all ages looking to stave off loneliness. However, for seniors with limited mobility, getting yourself off the couch and into a physical location can be taxing. With the help of the internet, online communities are within reach.  Whether you’re an avid knitter or the world’s best weekend bowler, there’s an online group where you can meet with others who share your favorite hobbies.

Play brain games

Activities that challenge the brain can be critical to staying mentally fit as you age. One way to engage in stimulating exercises is to engage in online gaming. With a smartphone, computer, or tablet, you have access to infinite gaming choices that allow you to challenge yourself while meeting new people virtually.

Reach out through text or email

One way older adults can avoid isolation is by reaching out to others when they’re feeling lonely. Texting can be a great way to quickly contact a friend and let them know you’re thinking of them. Email messages offer a slightly different format, allowing you to send a longer message to a loved one you might not see very often. Either way, access to the internet opens communication avenues to fend off isolation.

To wrap up

Oftentimes, seniors aging in place find themselves isolated from the outside world as they lose connections and fall away from loved ones. Thankfully, digital technology has created a wide range of opportunities to help keep adults connected at any age. From setting up social media accounts to video chatting with old friends, this is just the beginning for seniors looking to combat loneliness from the comfort of their home.

A Safe Place: 5 Home Safety Tips for Seniors

Most people think of their homes as a safe place. That’s as true for senior citizens as it is for kids or younger adults. Yet, the numbers suggest that senior citizen safety is a real and pressing need.

Falls alone account for around 3 million seniors in emergency rooms each year. When you add in burns, infections, sprains, and joint dislocations, the number of hospital visits grow profoundly. So, if you have a senior in your life, how can you balance their need for independence with home safety.

Keep reading for five safety tips for seniors.

  1. Keep Emergency Numbers on Hand

In the event of an emergency, spending time to try to find the right emergency number wastes precious time. Even if you program the numbers into a smartphone’s contact list, scrolling for the right contact can take longer than simply dialing.

Write down crucial numbers like poison control, local police, physician, and family. Post it somewhere easy to see, such as the fridge or by a landline.

  1. Fall-Proof the Space

Limiting the ways a fall can happen makes any senior safer. Install handrails in tricky areas, like the stairs and showers. Put non-slip mats or carpets into the home. You can also get non-stick treatments for normally smooth materials like tile.

  1. Leverage Technology

Technology offers a lot in terms of improving safety. At the less complicated end of things are flip phones with large buttons and motion-activated cameras that you can check periodically.

At the more complex end of things are monitoring systems that use pendants and bracelets. You learn more about these systems here to help you make the right choice for your situation.

  1. Do Fire Safety Sweeps

A basic fire safety sweep should come high on your home safety checklist. Keep an eye out for loose candles or space heaters, since those can trigger fires if left unattended. Check the batteries in all the hazard detectors, such as smoke detectors.

Check appliance cords and make sure they remain undamaged. If you find damaged cords, replace either the cord or the appliance. In some cases, newer appliances may prove safer and cost less on the utility bill.

  1. Mind the Lighting

Poor lighting can cause a fall simply because a senior doesn’t see a trip hazard. Check all of the fixtures in the home periodically.

Replace any dead bulbs. If you find a non-functional fixture, repair or replace it with a fixture that offers better lighting.

Building a Safe Place for Seniors

Building a safe place for seniors means that you must reassess their home with at least a touch of little paranoia. Ask yourself what things look unsafe and take steps to remedy that threat.

Since falls and fires prove such a dire threat to seniors, start there. Do a fire sweep of the home and install fall prevention options, such as safety railings and non-slip mats. Don’t forget that you can also deploy technology to help a senior remain safe in their home.

Looking for more senior safety and lifestyle tips? You’ll find plenty of posts in our Blog section.

Best Exercises for Seniors

Exercise should be a lifestyle activity for adults of all ages, but especially for older adults. Regular physical activity can improve quality of life, make daily activities easier, and help with life insurance costs and coverage. Most older adults have one or more life insurance policies.

Life insurance policies can be sold for a portion of the face value. When it comes to parts of life insurance policies explained, a life insurance settlement may give an older adult the cash flow they need. This can be used for medical or health expenses or to cover costs for any unexpected expenses.

Exercise can improve health and wellness for all adults if done regularly. According to the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines, seniors should get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity weekly and at least two sessions of strength training weekly.

Flexibility and balance activities should be done as often as possible. If older adults cannot meet the guidelines, they should be getting some amount of physical activity. Any amount of exercise is good, but adults will get the most benefits from meeting the recommended guidelines.

Benefits of Exercise

Regular exercise and physical activity have many health benefits for seniors. Exercise can lower the risk for many chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer. Exercise can lower blood pressure and lower blood cholesterol levels.

Seniors can enjoy the benefits of increased muscle strength, improved bone mass, and the ability to move through daily activities with ease. Exercise is thought to help improve cognitive health and may lower the risk for cognitive impairment.

Exercise is one way to help prevent falls and other accidents. Exercise and physical activity also help manage weight, enhance energy levels, improve sleep, reduce stress, and reduce feelings of depression and anxiety.

Aerobic Exercises

Aerobic activities help improve your heart, lungs, and blood vessels. These are activities that will make your heart rate and breathing rate increase. You may also start to feel warmer or start to sweat.

Walking is one of the best and most convenient aerobic activities that older adults can participate in. You do not need any equipment to walk, and it can be done indoors on a treadmill or outdoors in any safe location. You only need comfortable clothes and shoes.

Running or jogging is also a great aerobic activity. It does require a little more conditioning, but many seniors run or jog on a regular basis. Running, jogging, and walking are weight-bearing exercises, so they help improve the strength of muscles and bones too.

Cycling is a great aerobic activity that takes the weight off joints. For those who have joint pain or hip/knee problems, cycling can be a nice change of pace to take the weight off those joints.

Swimming is a non-weight bearing activity because you are buoyant in the water. Swimming works many muscles in the entire body and helps improve the cardiovascular system.

Any combination of these aerobic activities is great for older adults to keep their hearts, lungs, and blood vessels healthy. Having a healthy heart can help a senior avoid completely or even survive a heart attack. They are also helpful to strengthen muscles, and some even strengthen bones.

Lower Body Exercises

Lower body exercises can help strengthen muscles and bones. They can make daily activities easier, like walking, climbing steps, outdoor activities, getting up off the toilet, or getting in and out of the car.

Ankle weights can be used for a few of these exercises, but they are not necessary. Squats and lunges can be done without any weight because they rely on body weight as resistance.

Squats are excellent for strengthening many large lower body muscles. Beginners can start with a chair stand squat by just standing up and sitting down slowly from a chair.

Lunges also work a lot of the large lower body muscles and can be done standing next to a chair for something to hold on to for better balance.

Knee extensions can be done from a seated position in a chair. Side hip raises can be done standing behind a chair with a light touch to hold on to the chair. Ankle weights can help increase the intensity of these two exercises.

Toe raises work the calf muscles of the lower leg. They strengthen ankles and feet, which can improve balance. For lower body exercises, seniors can start with one set of 10 repetitions and work up to two sets of 10 repetitions.

Upper Body Exercises

Upper body exercises strengthen arms, shoulders, and back muscles. These exercises make it easier to hold grandchildren, carry groceries, reach for something off a high shelf, change lightbulbs, or complete outdoor activities.

A few sets of dumbbells or hand weights are helpful for these exercises. However, if you do not have weights, you can use water bottles or cans instead.

Push-ups are one of the best upper body exercises, but it can be difficult for older adults to get up and down off the floor. Wall push-ups are an alternative and are done by doing a push-up against any wall.

Biceps curls work the arms. The shoulder press is great for the shoulders and arms. Rows are excellent for the back. Older adults can also start with one set of 10 repetitions and then work up to two sets of 10 repetitions for these exercises.

Core Exercises

Many core exercises require seniors to get up and down off the floor, which can be challenging. A few exercises can be done from a seated position in a chair, but these exercises limit the range of motion and can be more difficult to complete with correct form.

Sit-ups and crunches are great basic core exercises while on the floor. Trunk rotations are great for the muscles on the side of the core. One or two sets of at least 10 repetitions are effective for these exercises.

Planks are a great core stability exercise. Planks may seem difficult at first, so it helps to ease into this exercise and make sure your body is in a straight line from your shoulders to your feet. Start with holding the plank position as long as possible and working up from there.

Trunk rotations can also be done from a seated position instead of on the floor. Pulling your belly button in toward your spine and holding for 10 seconds is a great way to work the deep core muscles.

Flexibility Exercises

Flexibility exercises can help older adults move better and do the activities of daily living easier. Stretching can also help ease back pain, which affects many older adults. Activities like Pilates, yoga, and tai chi can help older adults improve their flexibility and joint ranges of motion.

Simple stretching exercises can be done after aerobic or strengthening exercises. Stretches should be held for 10 to 30 seconds each for best results. Stretching can be done multiple times a day or anytime there is an opportunity to do a quick stretch break.

Balance Exercises

Balance exercises are vital for older adults. It is common for seniors to suffer a fall, which can have long-lasting impacts including fractures, broken bones, hospitalization, or permanent disability.

Balance exercises can be done for just a few minutes daily. Balancing on one foot at a time while brushing teeth or cooking at the stove is easy. Adults can also practice balancing on each foot with eyes closed and arms at sides for 30 seconds. Balancing on one foot while doing an exercise like biceps curls can be easy and effective.

Listen to Your Body

Exercise is essential for all seniors. As with any physical activity, older adults should make sure to discuss this with their health care provider before beginning a new exercise program. You need to listen to your body and stop when necessary. Rest days are important, as is proper hydration and nutrition to hydrate and fuel your body.

 

Melissa Morris writes for the life insurance comparison site, LifeInsuranceTypes.com. She has a master of science in exercise science, is an ACSM certified exercise physiologist, and an ISSN certified sports nutritionist.

The Benefits of Caregiver Support Groups

The life of a caregiver is often full of burdensome tasks and unseen help. You dedicate yourself to your loved one and give them everything you can, but you are only human and have your limits. You must save time for self-care and live a life outside of your caregiving responsibilities with like-minded people. Here are the benefits of caregiver support groups.

Spend Time with Other People

Even if you utilize a home care service, caring for your loved one is a tiresome affair. You must spend time with other people to re-energize your life and fill up your emotional reserves. When you spend the majority of your day thinking about, caring for, and being with your sick loved one, it isn’t easy to separate yourself from the situation. Caregiver support groups are a great way to spend time with like-minded people.

Share Your Burdens

It’s no secret that caregiving is a burden you must shoulder on behalf of your loved one. But this doesn’t mean you must live your life without support. A caregiver support group is one of the few safe places where you can unshoulder your load and share with others who are sympathetic to your challenges. The act of processing your feelings and experiences will help you feel less alone in your struggles. Support groups exist so you can share without judgment and lend a hand to others in similar situations.

Learn New Strategies

Support groups are a place for everyone to share their experiences, but it’s also where you can find new caregiving methods. When you learn new strategies, you feel empowered and gain a sense of control over a situation that otherwise controls your life. Caregivers in support groups can share ideas for self-care and other health coping skills. Additionally, you can learn better ways to give care, what to expect in the future, and how to ensure a better quality of life for your loved one. For example, if you join a support group, you can learn caregiving tips for people with Parkinson’s disease and share your loved one’s progression.

With all the benefits of caregiver support groups, it’s no wonder that every long-term illness has a specific group. Caregivers sacrifice their time, energy, and emotion day in and day out. You should find a caregiver support group so others can fill you back up.

Nutrition Advice for Older Adults

Nutrition is part of the foundation for good health and overall well-being. Eating healthy, staying active, and enjoying life are the best ways to stay healthy and happy, no matter your age. Staying healthy can also affect insurance rates and coverage.

It may be more challenging to find affordable life insurance for seniors as compared to someone younger, but it is possible. Older adults who are more healthy will have an easier time finding life insurance coverage, which is why it is important to take charge of your own health.

Healthy eating is one of the best things everyone can do to stay energized and to lower the risk for many chronic conditions. Eating a varied diet with plenty of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients can help seniors stay healthy as they age.

Important Nutrients for Older Adults

There are vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that are especially important for seniors. Some are needed for body functions and structures, while some help lower the risk for chronic health conditions.

Calcium

Calcium is an important mineral for healthy bones, joints, and muscles. Calcium is abundant in dairy foods like milk, yogurt, and cheese. It is also found in plant-based milk, some soy products, fortified orange juice, some green vegetables, and some cereals.

Women over 50 and men over 70 need 1,200 mg of calcium daily, which can be met with three servings of dairy foods. A supplement may be needed to meet daily needs, especially if you are not consuming dairy foods.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and regulate calcium levels in the body. It also plays a role in immunity and preventing some diseases. Vitamin D is found in fatty fish, many dairy products, plant-based milk, and some cereals, but it is not found in large quantities in the diet.

The best source of vitamin D comes from sunlight. A vitamin D supplement may be needed in the winter months or for those who do not get much sunlight year-round.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is found in animal products like meat, poultry, fish, and eggs. This vitamin is necessary for the nervous system, DNA function, enzyme reactions, and other important substances in the body.

Adults over the age of 50 do not absorb vitamin B12 from natural sources very well, so it may be necessary to take a supplement. Older adults can also eat foods that have been fortified with vitamin B12 like cereal or soy milk because that form of vitamin B12 is absorbed more effectively.

Protein

The function of protein is to support the body as well as build and repair body tissue like muscles. Protein is found in a wide variety of foods like meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, seeds, soy products, milk, yogurt, cheese, and some grains.

Older adults experience a loss of muscle tissue as they get older, which is called sarcopenia. Because of this, you need to eat plenty of protein to help retain muscle tissue. Eating protein with every meal and snack is the best way for adults to make sure they have enough protein to meet their daily needs.

Fiber

Fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and grains are the best sources of fiber in the diet. Fiber is needed to keep our digestive system regular. This nutrient can also have a role in weight management because fiber expands in the stomach, which leads to a feeling of fullness.

For seniors, soluble fiber found in oats, fruits, and vegetables can help lower cholesterol levels. Because fiber has so many important functions, it is critical to make sure you are eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of unsaturated heart-healthy fat. They are found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines. Omega-3’s have known benefits for heart health and cognitive health. This nutrient can also decrease inflammation in the body.

The American Heart Association recommends that all adults eat two servings of four to six ounces of fish weekly. Eating plenty of fish is one thing that can help improve memory. For anyone who does not eat fish regularly, a fish oil supplement may be needed.

Antioxidants and Phytonutrients

Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals in the body, which are produced by metabolic processes, exercise, smoking, exposure to ultraviolet radiation, and pollution. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause oxidative damage to cells, increase inflammation, and increase the risk of chronic diseases.

Antioxidants are found in many fruits, vegetables, and grains. Vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and selenium are some common antioxidants. Phytonutrients are nutrients found in plant foods that may act as antioxidants and give fruits and vegetables their various colors. This is why eating the rainbow is one of the keys to preventing diseases.

Eating to Prevent Diseases

Healthy eating is one of the best tools for lowering risk and preventing chronic health conditions. Age is one uncontrollable risk factor for many diseases, but a healthy and varied diet can help lower the risk for these diseases.

Heart Disease

Eating to lower the risk of heart disease includes plenty of fish, colorful fruits, colorful vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and lean protein. Plant foods have nutrients like fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and omega-3 fatty acids that are vital for heart health. They are also low in sugar and sodium, which also helps keep our hearts healthy.

Cancer

A plant-based diet can also be beneficial to lower the risk of certain types of cancer. Fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and plenty of vitamins and minerals can help lower the risk for some types of cancer. Cutting back on processed and red meat and limiting alcohol are other nutritional strategies that are protective against cancer.

Diabetes

Older adults are at higher risk for Type 2 diabetes. Cutting back on portion sizes, limiting added sugars, and limiting processed and packaged foods can help manage weight and lower the risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.

Fruits, vegetables, lean protein, low-fat or fat-free dairy foods, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds can give seniors the nutrients they need while keeping Type 2 diabetes out of the picture. For those who have diabetes, managing carbohydrate consumption throughout the day, eating plenty of fiber, and eating regular meals are all important for managing this condition.

Other Nutritional Considerations

Seniors should also make sure they are drinking plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. A multivitamin or supplements helps meet the needs where nutrients may be lacking in the diet.

Hydration

The thirst mechanism in older adults does not work as well as in younger adults, so it is vital to make sure to consume enough water even when not thirsty. The best beverages to stay hydrated and for good nutrition include water, low-fat or fat-free milk, and unsweetened coffee and tea.

Adults should limit sugary beverages like soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sugary coffee beverages. Dehydration can be dangerous, especially in senior adults, so consuming fluids throughout the day is critical for good health.

Supplements

Supplements are not a replacement for a healthy diet but can be used to supplement missed or lacking nutrients. All older adults should consider taking a daily multivitamin designed for seniors.

Some may also need calcium, vitamin D, or vitamin B12 supplement, depending on their diet. Fish oil is another useful supplement to get omega-3 fatty acids for seniors who do not eat fish regularly.

You should always consult with your health care professional or pharmacist before starting any new supplements. Some may interact with medications, so this is important to monitor.

Best Foods for Older Adults

The best foods for senior adults include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, low-fat or fat-free dairy, soy-based foods, nuts, seeds, beans, and water. Eating a variety of nutritious foods daily helps keep your mind and body healthy as you age.

Melissa Morris writes for the life insurance comparison site, CompareLifeInsurance.com. She has a master of science degree in exercise science, is an ACSM certified exercise physiologist, and an ISSN certified sports nutritionist.

Alternatives to Assisted Living

Assisted care doesn’t always mean having to go to an assisted living community. There are options and alternatives to assisted living that can guarantee your safety without the need to sacrifice your independence. Whether that kind of care takes the form of an alert system or a visiting nurse, you have a choice in what type of care you receive.

Medical Alert System

With advancements in technology making alert systems more affordable and convenient, by installing them in their homes, seniors can maintain their daily routines without interruption. Their lives will stay the same, except that help is a simple press of a button away.
These alert systems come in different forms: they can be buttons worn as necklaces or on the wrist, or they can be installed on the wall to be voice activated. Once pressed, the alert system notifies medical professionals who will come to the home and render aid. These systems are ideal for keeping independence, but they’re also reactive methods of care, only activating when a problem has already occurred.

In-Home Care

Home care keeps seniors in their homes so that they can go about their day-to-day lives, but it also offers them the assistance of a medical professional or full-time caregiver. This professional or caregiver can help with any medical problems that may arise, perform basic house upkeep, and make sure the senior routinely takes any necessary medication.

In-home care can also cut down on hospital expenses, as the caregiver can help with medical problems while in the home. It can also cut down on the need for visits to the hospital by preventing any possible complications that may occur. In-home care can offer many services, and you can pick and choose which to use based on necessity.

Respite Care

If you decide to go the route of in-home care, whether it’s a family member or a medical professional, there are further options to know about. Respite care gives the primary caregiver the choice to take a break or to have another nurse come in to take over the responsibility for a while. This decreases the likelihood of mistakes as a result of stress and fatigue and improves the quality of life for everyone involved. There are options for respite care if you want the extra care to last a few hours, on specified days, or for several weeks.

There are now many viable alternatives to assisted living homes. These alternatives mean seniors can live with the luxury of knowing help is close by without giving up their current lifestyles.

Insights into the Metabolism of Metals and Parkinson’s Disease

Statistics suggest that by the end of this year, there will be an estimated 1 million people in the United States living with Parkinson’s disease, with an estimated 60,000 more diagnosed each year. This neurodegenerative disorder negatively affects the neurons in a particular portion of the brain called the substantia nigra. When these dopamine-producing neurons are harmed over the course of several years, multiple symptoms may develop, including tremor, bradykinesia (slowed movement), rigid limbs, and movement problems.

Parkinson’s itself is not a fatal disease. However, the side effects it produces can severely impact the daily lives of those who live with it and can cause a large number of complications that can further affect health. In fact, the CDC lists Parkinson’s complications as the 14th leading cause of death in the United States.

What Causes Parkinson’s?

Unfortunately, much remains unknown about the specific mechanisms that trigger the onset of Parkinson’s disease. However, this area has become the subject of much research, which has revealed crucial links between the alpha-synuclein protein and the beginning of neurodegeneration that leads to Parkinson’s symptoms. Now, it is thought that certain environmental factors—including exposure to certain metals—may also contribute to the alpha-synuclein protein aggregation — the hallmark of Parkinson’s.

Researchers have found that there are elevated iron levels in the substantia nigra area of the brain that Parkinson’s inhibits, while high levels of copper and zinc have occurred in the cerebrospinal fluid of Parkinson’s patients. Researchers also note that exposure to high levels of manganese can cause similar symptoms to Parkinson’s. These factors have led Russian scientists to wonder—might exposure to certain metals contribute to Parkinson’s-related neurodegeneration?

Study Shows Potential Link Between Metals and Parkinson’s

In order to answer this question, researchers have studied the blood serum, urine, and hair samples of 13 Parkinson’s patients as well as those of 14 healthy, gender-matched control individuals. Levels of iron, copper, manganese, and zinc were notated in each, and participants experiencing other extraneous factors like other disorders, diet, surgery, injury, smoking, and unusual exposure to metal were excluded.

The results of hair, serum, and urine samples were fascinating. Researchers found a trend toward decreased hair and urine copper levels at -22% and -41% respectively, compared to the control groups, and urine iron and zinc levels trended 38% and 47% lower. Conversely, hair iron and manganese levels showed a tendency to rise by 24% and 21%, while blood serum levels remained the same.

Perhaps most intriguing is the increase in serum copper, which is thought to indicate reduced binding of copper to a compound known as ceruloplasmin in the blood. This excess free copper seems to increase oxidative stress and neuron damage, and could be linked to the formation of protein aggregates as well as the increased iron in the substantia nigra. As free copper levels in the blood serum are increased by as much as 10 times, the findings could prove significant.

Research Implications

While this research has produced significant data, it is important to remember that these fluctuations in metal levels are still within normal ranges. However, the changes on a molecular level must be rigorously investigated to understand how—if at all—the various increases and decreases affect the origin and progression of Parkinson’s disease. At the very least, this data has provided an intriguing starting point for future research about the role of copper, iron, and other metals, and could result in significant developments in Parkinson’s detection and treatment in the future.

 

Sources:

https://parkinsonsnewstoday.com/2019/11/20/metal-metabolism-in-blood-possibly-affected-in-parkinsons-study-says/

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5506a7.htm

https://www.parkinson.org/Understanding-Parkinsons/Statistics

The Benefits of Choosing a Nursing Home Care Option for Your Elderly Parents

Aging is a natural part of life, and something that we all have to experience at some point or another. It’s never easy when we start seeing our parents’ health declining and they are no longer able to take care of their own basic needs. While we may try to take care of them ourselves, taking care of an aging relative isn’t always viable in the long term, especially for many working adults and those with young families. Every child wants to ensure that their elderly parents are well cared for and comfortable, but the demands of being a full-time caregiver can become overwhelming, even for the most patient of people.

While the thought of putting your aging parent into a care home might make you feel incredibly guilty, with a little investigation, you might learn that this could be the more beneficial option when it comes to providing the best level of care for them. If you are on the fence about exploring nursing home care for an elderly parent, read about some of the main benefits of these options to put your mind at ease :

They’ll Be Cared for By Qualified Professionals

It’s natural for people to believe they are the best-placed person to care for their own parents. However, as people age and their medical needs become more complex, there comes a time when we might need to put our personal attachments aside. At a nursing home, your elderly parents will have access to care from properly screened professionals including those that have successfully completed nursing programs as well as the latest health and safety training. While your parents will certainly need you around to provide them with love, support and company, the trained staff available at a nursing home are likely to be better qualified to take care of their medical needs.

Increased Social Engagement

Loneliness is a huge problem for the elderly. This became ever-more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic, where even close family members were forced to distance themselves from elderly relatives for the sake of not spreading this infectious virus. While we all want to do our best to interact with our elderly parents, it can sometimes become difficult.

A major benefit of living in a nursing home environment is that seniors are always surrounded by their peers. Being able to mingle with those of the same generation and share stories from the past is incredibly rewarding. Furthermore, residential homes organize a broad range of social activities and outings to keep the elderly mentally stimulated. This in turn, keeps loneliness as well as conditions like depression and anxiety at bay.

Safety  

By choosing to have your elderly parents live in a care home, you’ll be taking care of their safety and security. Older people that live alone are often targeted by con artists and can easily become victims of crime in their own home. These risks are often exacerbated when the senior starts to deteriorate mentally and experiences memory loss, forgetting to lock doors and windows, for instance. Having staff on call 24/7 can protect the elderly from a range of risks including criminals but also extending to the dangers of falling or hurting themselves by doing an everyday activity like using a hot stove.

Respite for Family Members

The fact that the modern family structure requires everyone to work makes the task of taking care of your loved one more of a chore. Having your elderly relative taken care of in a professional nursing home will relieve some of the burden of care from your shoulders and reduce stress levels. You won’t have to worry about their daily care, entertainment and security and this means when you do spend time with them, it can be quality time where you create happy memories.

It’s hard when that parent and child roles become reversed and it’s natural to feel like being unable to take care of someone who once took care of your every need. However, realizing the benefits of nursing care homes as a viable living option for your aging parents may in fact, be what is actually in their best interests. Living in an environment where people are fully focused on caring for their needs and trained to do so will certainly play a major role in offering them a better quality of life. Furthermore, it will relieve some of the stress from family members and enable them to enjoy the time with their elders.