How to tell if it’s time to move your senior parent

Facing the reality that your senior parent may be unable to live on their own anymore can be hard to face. They may be unwilling to move from their home and fight the loss of their independence, or they could recognize that they need more help. Either way, this transition will produce difficulties for both of you.

 

If your parent doesn’t function the way they used to or they’ve forgotten the details of daily life, it could be time to have a conversation about moving. However, there may be several issues to conquer before moving day. For example, you’ll want to take time to consider cost, resistance to change, and the possibility of at home care.

 

Cost

Unfortunately, the cost of senior housing can be high, anywhere from $1,500- $3,500 a month. Deciding what kind of care your senior needs will determine the type of housing and cost. Independent living centers are different from nursing homes, or assisted living communities. Do your research together to choose what works best.

 

Resistance from a senior parent

Change is difficult at any age and loss of independence can be even harder. Try to understand if your parent initially refuses your offer to move. On the other end of the spectrum, they may see it as a sign of fragility to ask for help or don’t know how to ask for assistance. If it’s reached a point where managing day-to-day life has become difficult, it could be time to bring up moving.

 

Nevertheless, resistance to changing locations is absolutely normal. You may feel at a loss after your parent rejects an offer for help, but don’t end the conversation there. Bring it up on a different day, sympathize with their concerns, and work together to come up with solutions. Make sure they feel in charge of the situation and decision, the last thing a caregiver wants to do is belittle their senior parent’s choices and feelings.

 

At home care

If your parent continually refuses your suggestions and offers to move, in-home care may be a good starting place. Home Care Assistance specializes in around the clock care for seniors from quality caregivers. Your parents may be happier at home, and you’ll have peace of mind that they’re in caring hands. Click here for more information about Home Care Assistance. We’re here to help you care for your loved ones.

Essential Self-Care Practices for Caregivers

Being a caregiver for your loved one can be a difficult and sometimes thankless job. However, it’s also endlessly rewarding to know your elderly parent is in good hands. For every sacrifice made, there are just as many benefits. You’ll know your loved one is receiving the care they need because you see to it yourself. 


Nevertheless, it can be emotionally taxing to care for someone you love in their advanced age. That’s why it’s so important to stave off burnout by practicing self-care. Whether a small practice once a day or a larger outing once a week, here are a few modest ideas to help care for yourself and better care for those you love. 


Get the correct amount of sleep

The National Sleep Foundation found that adults aged 26-64 needed at least 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Sleep plays an important role in maintaining both mental and physical health. Sleep deficiency lowers your ability to solve problems and control your emotions. So if you’re facing difficulties caring for an aging loved one, it’s integral that you rest the correct amount. 


Practice mindfulness 

Mindfulness is the practice of sitting quietly and focusing your physiological energy toward the present moment. Take five minutes to focus on your breathing and target the present moment. Let the thoughts roll through you without judgment and simply relax. Mindfulness can help you deal with the stress of everyday life in a healthy and contemplative way.  


Exercise 

Even a simple walk can release much-needed endorphins and elevate mood. For this reason, make sure you’re taking time to move your body and stay active. What form this takes is up to you. You could follow a 10-minute yoga routine on YouTube, do some simple stretching, or go for a jog. Try to make a little time each day to care for your body. 


Take a bath

Soak away the stress in a warm bath. Add essential oils or Epsom salts to make things a little sweeter. Grab a book or a drink! Maybe set up some music to listen to as you sit back. Take some time to relax and focus on yourself. 


No matter how you spend your “me” time, it’s necessary to make sure you continue to care for your loved one to the best of your ability. Caregiver burnout is both real and difficult to recover from. It’s important to deal with emotions as they surface in order to properly care for yourself, and subsequently, those you love. Avoid it altogether by taking a little time for yourself each day.

Why You Should Consider Working Out with Your Parents This Summer

For many, summertime is the time to get into shape, but have you ever thought about getting into shape with your elderly parent? It might be something to consider. It is a win-win situation, and here’s why:

 

·      It’s an excuse to go outside

 

The weather is warming up, and it is always fun to find an excuse to go outside. What better way to enjoy this beautiful weather than exercising outdoors? Physicians recommend that your elderly parent does 30 minutes of cardiorespiratory exercise a day - this helps their body deliver oxygen and other nutrients to tissues, and over time, it helps the body get rid of toxins. Cardiorespiratory exercise can include walking, cycling, or even swimming. *

 

Workout Idea: Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City has beautiful sidewalks all around the lake. Take your senior walking. You can enjoy the day, the lake, a little exercise, and conversation.

 

Tip: If your parent gets tired, take a break. You can always build up to the 30 minutes or break it up into 10-minute increments.     

 

·      You get to spend quality time

 

Another good reason to start working out with your loved one is to spend quality time together. We know it is hard to find time to work out in your busy schedule. Why not spend time with your parent while working out? It is good for you and good for them. Strength training is a great way to get a good workout in and be able to have a conversation with your parent. Strength training can help your senior hold on to their bone mass, and it helps with balance, which can reduce the risk of falls and broken bones.

 

Workout Idea: Do bodyweight workouts in your living room. Have your parent put their favorite show on or just have a good conversation.

 

Tip: Only have your parent do the body weight workouts they feel comfortable with. You can use the exercise linked here, or you can search for your own.

 

·      Help Your Loved One Maintain Independence

 

Exercise gives your senior a sense of independence. Participating in any meaningful activity can help your loved one stay connected to a lifestyle, have a sense of choice in their daily routine, and promote independence.  Exercise, in particular, will help build strength, stamina, and balance, which empowers seniors to be more active with less risk of falling.   

 

Workout Idea: Look up, gyms in your area. Find a fun one to go to with your parent. You can make it a routine. Maybe after your workout, you can even share lunch somewhere close to your gym.

 

Tip: When starting a weightlifting routine, start your senior loved one at a very low weight or none at all, then allow them to work up to using weights.

 

 

·      You and Your Loved one Will Benefit

 

Regular exercise helps all of us both physically, mentally, and emotionally.   You can make this a fun routine with your parent. You both can get healthier, enjoy the summer months, and enjoy each other's company.

 

Do you believe it may be time to seek help caring for your senior loved one? Home Care Assistance provides in-home assisted living services in the Edmond and Oklahoma City areas. Let us provide guidance for your loved one and family. Contact us today.

 

*Consult a physician or other healthcare professional before beginning any exercise to determine what is right for you.

Veteran Benefits for Seniors and their Spouses

Memorial Day has come and gone, but many of us continue to reflect on our beloved veterans and other loved ones that have passed away. Moments such as this prompt us to consider the precious people still in our lives. As the saying goes, "give them their flowers while they can still smell them," and what better way to do that than by showing them unconditional love and care? We have compiled some helpful information on how to acquire veteran benefits to assist you in the caregiving process for the veteran in your life.

 

General VA Benefits

U.S. military veterans of all ages may be eligible for a variety of benefits from The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), those include:

·       Disability compensation

·       Pension

·       Education and training

·       Health care

·       Home loans

·       Insurance

·       Vocational rehabilitation and employment

·       Burial

To learn more about these VA benefits and eligibility, visit here. If you would like to apply for a Pension, visit here.

 

VA Benefits for Elderly Veterans

For elderly veterans that are already eligible for a VA Pension, there are two VA programs available that provide additional monetary assistance. These programs are for individuals that are either housebound or require the aid of a caregiver.

1.     Aid and Attendance (A&A): An increased monthly pension amount if you meet these conditions:

-       You require help performing daily functions (bathing, eating, or dressing)

-       You are bedridden

-       You are a patient in a nursing home

-       Your eyesight is limited to 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes

-       Concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less

2.     Housebound: An increased monthly pension amount paid if you are substantially confined to your immediate premises because of a permanent disability.

If you think you or your loved one qualifies for VA benefits for elderly veterans, you can apply here.

 

VA Health Care for Elderly Veterans

Elderly veterans with complex needs may receive geriatric and long-term care assistance at home, at VA medical centers, or within the community. For more information on how to qualify, apply, and see what benefits your loved one can receive, please click here.

Whether your senior loved one is a veteran or not, you may be facing decisions on care services. Deciding whether or not your senior loved one needs in-home care is a daunting task. You're not alone, at Home Care Assistance we will guide you and your loved ones every step of the way. If you are searching for home care assistance within Oklahoma City and the surrounding areas, our Home Care Assistance team would be happy to help. Contact us now.

 

Sources:

https://www.va.gov/opa/persona/veteran-elderly.asp

Veteran Benefits for Seniors and their Spouses

Memorial Day is around the corner, and it's time for us to reflect on our beloved veterans and other loved ones that have passed away. Moments such as this prompt us to consider the precious people still in our lives. As the saying goes "give them their flowers while they can still smell them," and what better way to do that than by showing them unconditional love and care? We have compiled some helpful information on how to acquire veteran benefits to assist you in the caregiving process for the veteran in your life.

  • Disability compensation

  • Pension

  • Education and training

  • Health care

  • Home loans

  • Insurance

  • Vocational rehabilitation and employment

  • Burial

VA Benefits for Elderly Veterans

There are two VA programs that  provide certain elderly veterans with additional monetary amounts of care (?) if they are eligible for a VA pension benefit.  

  • Aid and Attendance (A&A): An increased monthly pension amount if you meet these conditions:

    • You require help performing daily functions (bathing, eating, or dressing)

    • You are bedridden

    • You are a patient in a nursing home

    • Your eyesight is limited to 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes

    • Concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less

  • Housebound: An increased monthly pension amount paid if you are substantially confined to your immediate premises because of a permanent disability.

If you think you qualify for VA Pension benefits, you can apply here.

 

VA Health Care for Elderly Veterans

veterans with complex needs may receive geriatric and long term care assistance at home, at VA medical centers or within the community.

For more information on how to qualify, apply, and see what benefits you can receive please click here.

Whether your senior loved one is a veteran or not, you may be facing decisions on care services.  Deciding  whether or not your senior loved one needs in-home care is a daunting task. You're not alone, at Home Care Assistance we will guide you and your loved ones every step of the way. If you are searching for home care assistance within Oklahoma City and the surrounding areas, our Home Care Assistance team would be happy to help. Contact us now.

 

Sources:

https://www.va.gov/opa/persona/veteran-elderly.asp

Easy Crafts and Activities for Seniors

Have you ever heard the term “use it or lose it?” Well, it's true. As we age, it's essential to keep our minds engaged and active. You can help improve the cognitive and motor skills of your senior loved one by participating in stimulating activities that help keep the brain working. Caregivers can find enjoyment from crafting just as much as their patients.

Consider the hobbies that your senior would take an interest in and think of how you can implement that into a craft or activity that you can join in together. Many seniors are retired or unable to work, so it can be difficult to pass the time. Whether the goal is to master a new activity or just to have fun, it serves as an avenue to explore one’s creativity and self-expression.  Crafts help to reduce boredom and when done with someone else, also help to combat loneliness and grow relationships.

Pull out the yarn, scrapbook, camera, or other activity supplies that you may have laying around your home and come up with some creative crafts for you and your senior loved one to do together. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Scrapbooking

Use photographs to inspire your senior’s creativity and construct a scrapbook. Not only will it help maintain motor skills, sifting through photos will likely cause memories to resurface, which can helpin combat dementia and Alzheimer’s. If a scrapbook is too large of craft to take on, consider building a photo album or small collage instead. While you’re crafting, take a moment to take some new photos to add to the collection.

Fabric Crafts

Sewing, quilting, and crocheting are common activities amongst seniors – which is great because when it comes to fabric crafts, the options are endless. Start with simple designs such as a cupholder or a scarf, and slowly build up to larger items such as a blanket. If your senior has trouble gripping fabric tools, opt for a thicker needle or crochet hook.

Painting

Looking for a way to stimulate the mind? What better way to facilitate creativity than with painting? Painting lets seniors explore their thoughts and feelings by making a masterpiece out of a blank canvas. Even without a background in art, it’s a perfect activity for amateur artists to flourish.  

Cake Art

Have a senior that loves to bake? Dive into cake decorating! Even if you're not a pro, it's a fun way to bond. Don't worry about the health risks of indulging in cake regularly, instead of eating the cake yourselves, give it away to a neighbor or someone with an upcoming birthday. Who wouldn’t want a free cake, right?

Pottery

It never hurts to get your hands a little dirty. Pottery is an excellent craft for seniors with arthritis. Sculpting pottery requires the use of your hands, wrists, and arms which makes for a fun, therapeutic experience. Pottery also aids relaxation. Plus, once you’re done, you’ll have a fantastic piece of art to decorate your senior's home. 

Adult Coloring Books

In the past few years, adult coloring books have become increasingly popular. Coloring has been known to relieve stress and anxiety. By focusing your energy on the task before you, you become more mindful and enter into a meditative state. It’s also an activity that requires few supplies and little skill.

Helping Care for Your Senior

Being a full-time caregiver comes with an abundance of responsibility. Finding activities and crafts are only a small part of the job. If you see that you need in-home care assistance for your senior, Home Care Assistance of Oklahoma is here to help. We offer Edmond home care and senior care in the Oklahoma City area. Our caregivers are experts in providing care for dementia patients. Contact us today to see how we can offer guidance for your family.

Sources:

https://homecareassistance.com/blog/easy-engaging-crafts-seniors

https://www.colorit.com/blogs/news/85320388-amazing-benefits-of-coloring-for-adults

How to Effectively Advocate for the Health of Your Elderly Parent

Just as your parent would do anything for you, the feeling is likely mutually – so who better to advocate for your parent’s health than you?  We are here to help you figure out the most effective way to look out for your parent’s best interest.

As a caregiver, you are likely charged with the responsibility of finances, cooking meals, running errands, cleaning the house, and taking your elderly parent to doctor appointments. It can be overwhelming to know that your parent’s well-being lies solely in your hands. Keeping up with caring for your parent can cause severe caregiver burnout. We have compiled some tips to prevent burnout by learning how to care for your loved one more effectively.

Tips to Aid Your Advocacy Role

As a health advocate, your role is to ensure that your loved one is being treated properly and carry out their wishes. If caring for your parent doesn't come as naturally as you had hoped, don't worry – do the best you can. Your desire and eagerness to help is the first step; being a health advocate is a skill that can be learned.

  1. Research. In some instances, parents feel that giving insight about their health condition can be burdensome to their children. Therefore, knowing your parent’s health history may require a little digging. First, start by gaining authorization to your parent’s health records. Second, keep a lookout for changes in your parent’s mood, weight, and appetite – these can all be indications of health conditions. Lastly, express your love and concern to your parent and inform them of how important it is for you to look after their health.

    Your research may also require further inquiry if your parent’s health appears to be deteriorating.  Pay attention to the treatment that your parent receives from his/her doctors and caregivers. If they are not being cared for properly, consider making changes to find more suitable providers.  

  2. Get Help. Taking on the role of full-time caregiver can be difficult. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Home Care Assistance can provide in-home care for your senior parent. You can share your responsibilities and relieve some pressure from your shoulders. There’s no reason that you have to be the only person looking out for the best interest of your parent.

  3. Remain Consistent and Driven. Find what motivates you and stick with it. Sometimes, persistence is the only way that we can be successful. If you find that your parent is acting out of the ordinary, don’t let others brush it under the rug. No one knows your parent better than you do, so stay confident in your advocacy. 

    When things don’t go as planned whether it’s legal or financial setbacks, don’t take no for an answer. Stay driven to get your parent’s estate in order. Seek professional advice in areas that you are less knowledgeable about. 

    Keep in mind that your senior loved one is counting on you. Remember your health is just as important as theirs, so in order to remain consistent in their lives, you must stay mindful of your own health too. Join other caregiver communities and seek out emotional support when needed. Do your best to resist burnout by taking time for yourself.

  4. Communicate. The only way that you can advocate for what your parent is by understanding what their needs are. Communication is vital in doing so. Talk to your loved one to get and clear understanding of what they want and how they feel. While you may have to do for your parent far more than you do for other adults in your life, it's important to keep in mind that your parent is not a child and they can tell you what they want. Do your best not to push your personal agenda and listen to their concerns. You can do this be questioning. Doing so allows you to consider their thoughts when you are making decisions.

    If your parent battles with dementia or Alzheimer’s, you may be faced with more challenges when it comes to communication. If this is the case, keep your questions simple. Try not to overwhelm them with more than one thought at a time and ask questions that can be answered with a “yes” or “no.” 

  5. Remember Your Purpose. Always remember the “why” to what you do. Being a health advocate is an important role. Without you there by your loved one’s side, their lives could be much different. While you may not be thanked for everything that you do, having your parent in your life is the ultimate reward.

Finding the Right Caregiver

If you see that you are not able to be there for your parent as often as you would like, or you are dissatisfied with your current caregiver’s services, contact Home Care Assistance for guidance. Our caregivers are standing by to join your health advocacy team. We assist families with home care for their elderly parents. We are pillars for changing the way seniors age in the Edmond home care community. At Home Care Assistance, we specialize in dementia care for seniors, and we've been providing in-home care in Oklahoma City for many years. If you need a trusted senior care provider in OKC, contact us today.

How Chorus Groups Provide Comfort for Dementia Caregivers

Caring for a senior loved one who is battling dementia can be a demanding task. As a caregiver, it is common to experience an onset of stress and isolation. There are outlets that allow caregivers to come together and enjoy a sense of community. Listening to music has been known to provide stress relief, but have you ever considered joining a chorus group?

 

Caring for a patient with dementia can be challenging, and while the challenges may vary, in most cases, caregivers find that they can benefit from emotional support. Surveys have shown that individuals that care for loved ones with dementia are seven times more likely than the average person to undergo physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion. Mary Mittelman, Director of NYU Langone Medical Center’s Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Family Support Program Music found a way to provide emotional support for dementia caregivers by starting a chorus group. Music's ability to stimulate our brains and give a sense of calmness has helped individuals better cope with stress and anxiety.

 

Previously, music has been used to calm dementia patients, but now caregivers are taking advantage of its soothing abilities too with choral groups. Caregivers are coming together to bond over their favorite tunes. In many cases, it can be comforting to be around like-minded people to combat the feeling of loneliness. Aside from providing a platform for enjoying the benefits of music, choral groups provide a platform for individuals to meet as well.

 

The Importance of Caregiver Self-Care

Caregivers possess a wide range of responsibility to their loved ones – that is why it so important that caregivers remain healthy and set aside time for self-care. Having an environment where others understand what it's like to cater to another person every day can be therapeutic. Whether that support comes by way of a musical choral, or merely taking a day to oneself to recharge, it is detrimental to personal well-being.  

 

As a caregiver, you should develop a plan for when you become overwhelmed. Remember, it’s okay to ask for help. Lean on family and friends to assist with duties such as grocery shopping and running errands. Being a full-time caregiver can be taxing even with support – if you find that your health is being compromised, it may be time to considering bringing in a professional in-home caregiver to share the responsibilities and provide relief.

 

Seeking Help

Do you believe it may be time to seek help caring for your loved one? Home Care Assistance provides private in-home dementia care in the Edmond and Oklahoma City areas. We offer in-home care for dementia patients that involves cognitive methods to sustain their health and mental well-being. Let us provide guidance for your loved one and family. Contact us today. We are ready to help you through the home care process.

 

Sources:
Chorus Helps Dementia Patients Caregivers Build Community and Self

The Emotional Cost of Dementia Caregiving

How to Tell Your Parent “You Have Dementia”

You may have noticed that your parent has been acting out of the ordinary lately. You see strange behavior and an increase in forgetfulness, far more than what seems reasonable. While memory loss may have crossed your mind as the culprit, you aren’t quite sure what has caused the recent change in behavior. Upon visiting the doctor, you get the diagnosis that it has all been caused by an onset of dementia. At this point, you may have a million questions running through your head.

 

“How did I not realize sooner?”

“Is there anything I could’ve done to prevent it?”

“Is my mom going to be okay?”

“Who’s going to look after her now?”

 

As you find yourself struggling to come to terms with the diagnoses, you realize that someone is having an even harder time than you are – your parent. Suddenly, you are charged with the task of breaking the news to your loved one. During the early stages of dementia, memory loss and other symptoms are not full fledge, in which case your loved one may still be fully aware at times - this can make it increasingly difficult to share such information as it will be hard to accept.

 

Dementia often brings on feelings of stress, confusion, and agitation, making it difficult to inform your parent of their condition. Therefore, we have put together a guide to walk you through how to share the news of a dementia diagnosis.

 

What You Say and How You Say It

You may often hear the term, "it's not what you say, it's how you say it." In this case, it's both. This will be the first step of many life changes for your parent. It's important to reassure your mom or dad that you will be there every step of the way. Read our step-by-step guide to better prepare yourself for the conversation. 

 

Step 1. Educate Yourself

Educate yourself on what you can expect, and the associated symptoms of dementia. Learn more about the speed at which your loved ones will progress. Seek out memory care options and have them prepared to discuss with your family and your parent. However, refrain from making any permanent decisions before you have a conversation with your loved one.

 

2. Practice the conversation.

Before you decide what you will say, determine what you would like the outcome to be and work backward. Plan a day and time when you will not be rushed to have the conversation – and never catch your loved one off guard. Ensure that you find a time when your parent is doing well and will receive the information best — plan to speak in a tone that is calm and respectful as not to be upsetting.  While you want to be transparent and forthcoming, it's important not to bring about agitation or panic. You can provide comfort with physical contact, and by having the conversation in an environment your mom or dad feels most safe. Determine who you would like to be involved in the discussion – siblings, your other parent, doctor, friends, or extended family.

 

3. Prepare for your parent’s reaction.

Understandably, this news will be difficult to process. Your parent will likely be emotional and have questions. As such, educating yourself ahead of time will help provide sufficient support. While it may be hard to prepare for everything, do your best to consider different outcomes. Prepare for the possibility of denial. Understand that in some instances when seeking acceptance, numerous conversations may be necessary. Depending on the stage of progression, the news may be difficult for your loved one to comprehend. In the instance of confusion, refrain from repeating the same information, instead, try to rephrase what you are saying and remember to speak slowly and with kindness. More importantly than making sure you are heard, is making sure your parent is heard. Take cues from body language, facial expressions, and tone. Allow space and time for your loved one to express personal feelings. Avoid interrupting and focus on listening.

 

4. Have the conversation and plan.

Those battling with dementia can have varying moods. Ensure that your loved one is in a good mood when you have the conversation. Do your best not to allow your preparation to determine where the conversation will go – instead actively listen and follow your loved one's lead. You can gauge their level of comfort to decide what to say next. While you may not develop a long-term care plan during this conversation, be sure that you communicate that you will consider your loved one’s best interest in every decision. Immediately following the discussion, stay by your parent's side.

 

What NOT to Do

After your parent is aware of the dementia diagnosis, keep in mind that communication will progressively become more difficult. Even if the initial conversation goes smoothly, be prepared for potential challenges in the future. Here are some tips of what NOT to do:

1.     Don’t belittle your loved one for repeatedly asking the same questions. Keep in mind that memory challenges are out of their control. Be patient towards their forgetfulness.

2.     Don’t speak in complex sentences. Have simple conversations that are easy to understand and avoid confusion.

3.     Don’t treat your parent as a child. While it is now your turn to take care of them, do so respectfully and lovingly. 

4.     Don’t force your parent to remember things. Try to avoid bringing on the feeling of shame and embarrassment. In the event your loved one doesn’t remember, it could cause sadness. Instead, you can reminisce about the things that you remember, and if they don't remember, it will still be a happy story to hear. 

 

Dementia Care Plan

When a parent is diagnosed with dementia, your first instinct is to care for your mom or dad as best as you can. For some families, the best option may be to find in-home dementia care. At Home Care Assistance, we provide Edmond home care from professional caregivers. Our caregivers are specialist in dementia home care and guide patients and families in Oklahoma City and the surrounding areas. If you need Edmond home care or dementia care in Oklahoma City, reach out to us. We are ready to help you through the home care process.

How to Properly Maintain A Healthy Immune System for Seniors

As we age, common colds and other illnesses are more detrimental to our bodies. It’s important that elderly individuals are proactive in maintaining a strong immune system to protect our overall health. We have put together a list of lifestyle habits that our in-home caregivers help to implement while caring for your loved ones. 

 

1.     Keeping an Optimistic Mindset

The mind is a powerful tool; our thoughts affect how we live and how we treat others. Maintaining a positive outlook in every situation improves quality of life through a healthier mind. Doing things that bring joy and positivity helps to release endorphins. Surround your loved one with friends and family that have a positive attitude.

 

2.     Good Hygiene

Taking care of your hygiene is an essential element to keeping your body healthy. Oral health can have a significant effect on our overall well-being. As we age, it becomes increasingly difficult to remember semi-annual dentist appointments and regular doctor checkups, especially for those with memory conditions such as dementia. At Home Care Assistance, we specialize in private in-home care which includes ensuring that your loved ones make it to the doctor.

 

3.     Daily Exercise

Staying active can aid circulation and heart health. A simple walk around the neighborhood, riding a bike to the park, or taking a senior dance class are easy routines that can yield numerous health benefits.

 

4.     Clean Eating

Limiting foods that are high in fat, salt, and sugar and swapping them out for fruits and vegetables is an easy way to eat clean and extend one's lifespan. While it's okay to indulge in "bad" foods occasionally, it can be harmful if consumed regularly. Opt for grilled over fried and fresh over processed foods.

 

5.     Rest

Getting an adequate amount of sleep boosts the immune system and increases energy. If your loved one is having problems sleeping, this could be affecting their mood and overall health.

 

6.     Reduce Stress

Did you know that stress can lead to heart disease and other conditions? Stress is a powerful contributor to poor health. Exercise and listening to music can be credited with reducing stress levels.

 

7.     Vitamin D

Seniors can greatly benefit from Vitamin D. Going out for a walk during peak hours is an easy way to soak up high amounts of Vitamin D from the sun. If immobility is an issue, alternative methods include letting natural light into the home and eating fatty fish. In addition, individuals can also take a daily Vitamin D or multivitamin pill.

 

If you believe that your senior loved one could benefit from having a caregiver present to maintain a healthy lifestyle, we can help. We provide guidance to dementia patients and families searching for Edmond home care or senior care in Oklahoma City. Contact us today; we are ready to help you through the home care process.

Sources:

https://www.homecareassistanceoklahoma.com/blog-posts

How to Properly Maintain A Healthy Immune System for Seniors

We are all aware that as we age our health steadily declines if we neglect maintaining a healthy lifestyle. There are various causes of steadily declining health which can be completely avoided and may even decrease the rate of decline. They can also boost your immune system. So, let us get into the aspects and characteristics of a healthy lifestyle and strengthened immune system. 

  1. Have a Positive Mindset

    Having a positive outlook on life increases longevity and quality of life. A positive attitude allows endorphins to rise. Allow yourself to laugh and have a good time with friends. Remember that nothing bad lasts forever. Learn to find the good in the bad and see the forest for the trees. 

  2. WASH YOUR HANDS

    Good hygiene is essential to a healthy body. Don’t neglect to wash your hands regularly to avoid harmful and deadly bacteria. If you’re worried that your hands will get dry, carry lotion with you everywhere you go and apply it after each wash. 

  3. Exercise

    Exercising is great for weight loss and maintaining proper circulation. The heart, mind, and body also benefit greatly from exercise.  Don’t neglect your health. Go out and take a jog around the neighborhood. Ride a bike. Go to the gym with a friend. Go dancing. Pick an activity that you enjoy and go with it. You won’t regret it. 

  4. Maintain a Healthy Diet

    Lay off the fatty, sugary, salty, and greasy foods. They are fine in moderation, but only in moderation. Eating unhealthy processed food on a regular basis will decrease your energy and shorten your lifespan. Eating green vegetables, baked or grilled meats, certain fruits, nuts, and seafood will dramatically increase your energy and health. Also, drink plenty of water. 

  5. Sleep

    Getting a proper night’s rest allows for the immune system to combat diseases and build a stronger immune system. It also allows for you to be energized and ready to take on the day when you wake up. If you find it difficult to sleep at night, then you should perform activities which relaxes you and puts you in the mood to sleep. 

  6. Don’t Smoke

    Back in the day smoking was promoted as healthy, beneficial, sexy, etc. Doctors smoked in ads and promotions and people were unaware of the deadly consequences of it. Thankfully, we know better now because of advances in medical technology, experience, and the powerful visual ads created by organizations such as the FDA and CDC. Don’t be afraid to get help. Buy smoke patches and/or find people to help you through it.

  7. Get Vaccinated

    Vaccinations are important to maintain a healthy immune system. A quarter of seniors that receive vaccinations receive effective treatment. Getting vaccinated deters sickness and promotes a healthy body.

  8. Don’t Get Stressed

    Stress can dramatically impact your overall health. It can lead to heart disease and other illnesses. Stress causes these problems because when you’re stressed it weakens your immune system and makes it susceptible to diseases.

  9. Get Some Sun

    Get out and take in the sun. Vitamin D is an important part of your health. Do this outside of peak hours which are between 10 and 3. Vitamins and fatty fish can supply you with vitamin D as well.

  10. Take Vitamins

    Vitamins come in all forms nowadays. Gel, pill, and gummi. Take your pick but take your vitamins to boost your overall health and get your dose of nutrients. If you want to add herbs and/or multivitamins you should speak to your doctor.

Protecting and maintain good health is important for everyone to observe, but especially seniors. Health and youth deuterate over time if we don’t properly maintain our bodies and treat it right. By eating a well-balanced diet, exercising, having a positive attitude, etc. you will create a more rejuvenated, fruitful, and eventful life. 

Think it’s time to begin in-home care? You’re not the only one. Home Care Assistance will provide guidance to patients and families in Oklahoma City and the surrounding areas. If you are searching for Edmond home care or senior care in Oklahoma City, reach out to us. We are ready to help you through the home care process.

Tips for Self-Care That Require a Quarter-Hour or Less

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A caregiver’s world revolves around unending demands. These demands may drain you emotionally, mentally and physically. But the biggest drag is on your time. How big? For many caregivers, just enjoying 15 minutes alone is an unimaginable luxury.

After all, you are your loved one’s eyes and ears. They depend on you to be their “voice” and interpret the world around them. Many people living with dementia have lost their sense of time, so if you are away for 15 minutes, they feel abandoned for an entire day. This dependency means they may want you around – and in sight – 24/7. 

Providing in-home care is a strenuous task. Home Care Assistance hopes that as a home care agency, we can provide guidance to our Oklahoma City and surrounding area clients. If you need help or have any questions, please reach out to us. We are here to assist you in the home health care journey.

15 Minutes to Refresh

Let’s say you look after a parent with dementia. They may be anxious and follow you from sunrise until long after dark. You do your best to manage your emotions and remain patient. Still, you have needs of your own. How, where and when do you create space to breathe? Self-Care Isn’t Selfish. Caregiver burnout is real and can lead to serious problems for your emotional and physical health. Rather than continuing to ignore the growing stress, acknowledge it and pledge to do something about it. If you need an excuse to take care of yourself, remember that the person you are looking after relies on you taking care of yourself in order to care for them.

Develop a self-care strategy. Your dream of 15 minutes alone can become reality. Ask yourself: Do you need to be physically separate from your loved one to practice self-care? Is this possible? If not, can you take care of yourself while you’re in the room with them? Are there options to do it together? Your answers will help you choose the right approach.

15 Minutes for Yourself…While You Care for Another

Can you really take 15 minutes for yourself while in the same room with a loved one? Surprisingly, the answer is yes.

If you are caring for a parent or spouse, you may get so task-focused that you forget about your own well-being. Try these approaches when you are together:

  • Develop a breathing practice. After all, you need to breathe anyway! There are many possibilities for breath work. You can do these with anyone present, and breathing techniques improve heart and brain health. <hyperlink: https://homecareassistance.com/blog/three-breathing-techniques-heart-brain-health>

  • Try mindfulness. The only requirement for this simple form of meditation is the willingness to sit still and watch your thoughts. Developing a healthy detachment from the challenges of the moment can be refreshing and provide you with the care you need. <hyperlink: http://homecareassistance.com/blog/how-mindfulness-can-help-prevent-caregiver-burnout>

  • Listen to music. Share the joy of music together, or don a pair of headphones and listen while you watch your loved one.

  • Read. Depending on the situation, you could dip into a novel. Keep reading material or your favorite device handy.

  • Exercise. If your parent is able, you can do some simple exercises together. Or, bring an exercise mat into the room and perform floor exercises right there.

  • More togetherness ideas. Other ideas for creating some relaxing time during care include jigsaw puzzles, watching TV, or even having “tea time” — a daily ritual you share with your loved one.

           Further Reading About Caregiver Burnout  

Out of Sight but Still On-Site

If you are able to leave the room while taking care of someone else, it can afford you some more ways to self-care. Here are five ways to use 15 minutes alone in a spare room:

  • Take a power nap. A short nap will refresh you, and won’t interfere with your evening sleep.  Even if you can’t (or don’t want to) fall asleep, you can still rest and collect your thoughts.

  • Do floor exercises.  Stretching, yoga and aerobic exercise can all be performed in a confined space.

  • Talk to a friend.  Can you spend your 15 minutes on the phone with a friend? If you’re able to set time to do this in advance, great! If that’s not practical, phone someone to share how your day is going.

  • Meditate or pray. Many caregivers find that a short break to reconnect with their spiritual life can lift their spirits.

  • Take a video vacation. Go online and find a channel that features relaxing scene or music.  

An Outside Chance at 15 Minutes Alone

Do you have the option to go to a park, garden, or natural area? If so, here are some ideas for how to spend your 15 minutes outside.

  •  Walk. Take a few minutes for a brisk stroll. If it’s on a city street that’s totally fine. But if you have access to a park or a beach, all the better. If the weather and environment is right, you can even try a technique called earthing, which means walking barefoot. Some studies show that walking sans shoes reconnects us to mother earth and satisfies our soul.

  • Just sit. Take a seat someplace and drink it all in. That might mean a park bench or a patch of grass or a local coffee shop.

For more about self-care for people who give their all to their loved ones, take a long slow deep breath — then review this post on the importance of not isolating yourself as a caregiver.

If you think it may be time to start in-home care, you aren’t alone. Home Care Assistance can provide guidance to patients and families in Oklahoma City and the surrounding areas. If you are looking for Edmond home care or dementia care in Oklahoma City, reach out to us. We are ready to help you through the home care process.

 

 

Resources:

1.     Napping, from The National Sleep Foundation

2.     10 ways for caregivers to nurture themselves

The Balanced Care Method

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The Balanced Care Method is a holistic approach to healthy longevity based on the longest-living people on Earth.

There is no single explanation for how and why some people live longer or have more active years than others. But there is a place where more people live longer and healthier than any other place on earth: Okinawa, Japan. Scientists have been studying this group of seniors to see if we can learn from their methods and live longer, more productive lives ourselves. Home Care Assistance developed the Balanced Care Method, a revolutionary approach to senior care, based on these studies.

The Balanced Care Method™ is based on studies of the extraordinarily long-lived elders living on the island of Okinawa, Japan. Life spans of over 100 years are not unusual on Okinawa. More important, people in their 70s, 80s and beyond enjoy incredible good health and independence despite their years. The Balanced Care Method promotes the lifestyle factors central to these centenarian’s healthy longevity. It is a philosophy that can be summed up in two words: moderation and variety.

Components of Balanced Care Training include:

  • Healthy Diet

  • Physical Activity

  • Sharp Minds

  • Social Ties

  • Calmness & Purpose

 The Balanced Care Method is an evidence-based program built on studies that demonstrate that only one-third of our longevity is based on genetics and two-thirds on lifestyle factors within our control. Home Care Assistance caregivers are trained in the method, offering the first senior care solution with an emphasis on balance and longevity. Our Oklahoma City and surrounding area home care patients will receive the best private care possible based on this method. By working with specific lifestyle behaviors, our in-home care providers extend and enhance the lives of seniors, helping them live longer, happier, and more balanced lives.

The Balanced Care Method touches everything we do. At Home Care Assistance we understand the important connections between diet, exercise, mental engagement, and social relationships that reduce stress and create better lives. No matter the amount of care you need, from dementia care to hourly private home care, our care services include support of the daily life activities listed below and the tenants of the Balanced Care Method. 

● Cooking and light housekeeping
●  Laundry and changing of bed linens
●  Grocery shopping and errands
●  Companionship and range of motion exercises
●  Transportation to doctor appointments, supermarket, pharmacy
●  Assisting with walking and transferring from bed to wheelchair
●  Bathing, dressing and grooming assistance
●  Status reporting to family
●  Medication reminders

Here at Home Care Assistance, we believe there is never a right age, just a right way to age.

If you think it may be time to start in-home care, you aren’t alone. Home Care Assistance can provide guidance to patients and families in Oklahoma City and the surrounding areas. If you are looking for Edmond home care or dementia care in Oklahoma City, reach out to us. We are ready to help you through the home care process.

5 Practical Methods for Calming Agitation in Older Adults with Dementia

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Caring for a loved one with dementia can feel like a daily battle. You are dealing with the loss of the person you once knew. At the same time, you love them even as you adapt to their changes in behavior and learn to handle episodes of agitation and aggression.

The challenges of dementia caregiving can break your heart on a regular basis. Executing simple tasks and scheduling events for a loved one can turn into a disaster. At times, your loved one’s behavior may be difficult to predict; dementia is cruel to both the person with dementia and to the caregiver. This blog post outlines some strategies that can help you respond to the challenges of dementia in an effective and mindful way.

Learning how to handle difficult behaviors caused by dementia will give you the ability to enjoy spending time with your loved one. While dementia may take memories, it cannot take the love shared between you and your loved one. Research has shown that people with dementia will still feel love and happiness even after they have forgotten a specific visit or experience (1).2  Love remains. That is your defense against dementia, both for you and your loved one.

It is also important to remember that if you ever feel like you can’t provide care alone, you don’t have to. There are numerous options for dementia care in Oklahoma City and the surrounding areas. If you find yourself needing extra help, reach out to a home care agency like Home Care Assistance. HCA can provide guidance and help you make decisions about hiring a care provider and the future of your in-home care. We hope that this guide will help you with your loved one’s senior care.

These five methods to calm agitation and aggression will give you a way to focus on the love in your relationship. At the core of these five strategies is effective ways to communicate (2). Keep that in mind as you read further. With these in your arsenal, you will be able to build on the bond you and your loved one share.

 

1.    Stay Calm

Agitation and aggression are contagious. It is very natural when you are talking to somebody who is getting agitated to feel upset yourself. This natural response is called mirroring, and in many instances can work to your benefit. Instead of mirroring your loved one’s agitation, by remaining calm, you are presenting a demeanor for your loved one to mirror.

When you stop and take a deep breath to calm yourself, you are demonstrating calmness to your loved one. This helps to make them feel safe and reassured (3).3 Take a step back and see if you can identify a cause for the agitation. Remember that your loved one is not trying to give you a hard time – he or she is struggling as much as you are.

Stop whatever you are doing and slow down. Listen to what your loved one is saying, even if it doesn’t make sense! Don’t correct. This can make the agitation worse. Take a moment to remember a positive memory you share with your loved one. Allow that warmness to enter your eyes and look directly at him or her. Smile gently and try to ask for permission to do the thing you need to get done or offer your loved one some help in the task. Calmness often reassures those with dementia, which will allow you to make a positive request like “will you walk with me to the store?” or “can I help you wash the dishes?” 

 

2.    Focus on Feelings not Facts

Dementia can impact a person’s ability to reason and communicate. However, feelings remain strong. You need to respond to your loved one’s feelings instead of their words. Trying to reason and argue with a person with dementia will only frustrate both of you. (4).

Listen to the expression of frustration even if the actual words don’t make sense. Your loved one might be saying, “I need the car to take the ball!” You could respond to that expression by saying, “you really are wanting the car today?” Then try to provide clear reassurance, for example, “I will take you out in the car today and we can get what you need.”

Treat your loved one with love and respect. Love and respect can bridge communication problems between yourself and someone with dementia. You should always treat your loved one with dignity. Although you may see behaviors that remind you of a child, your loved one is not a child. Guarding his or her dignity will prevent hurt feelings that lead to agitation. The reality your loved one is trying to convey may not align with your interpretation of the world. But their feelings about what they are experiencing can lessen that divide.

 

3.    Limit Distractions

Dementia causes damage to the brain that makes it difficult to express thoughts and perform tasks. Background noises, clutter, crowds, and even lights can overstimulate the brain and bring on feelings of restlessness and distress (5).5 Foster an environment of calm in your home. Choose smaller gatherings over crowds as much as possible. For example, instead of inviting crowds of people at once, try one or two visitors at once. Also turn off the TV when talking to your loved one. The noise from the TV can be difficult for them to block out.

Reduce the amount of non-essential items in your home. Bright, distracting patterns and moving objects can confuse your loved one. One or two meaningful, personal pictures will offer a more calming décor than twenty fancy frames.

Lights are another stimulating stimulus. Particularly in the evenings and late afternoon, it is important to switch from bright overhead lights to smaller, dimmer lights. The glare and reflections from lights bouncing off windows, mirrors, and picture frames can be startling or even frightening to your loved one.

Always aim to simplify your surroundings when you notice signs of agitation. Use simple sentences. Move into a quieter space. A calm environment will often calm your loved one.

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 4.    Check for Discomfort

Your loved one’s difficulty communicating means that they can have trouble telling you when they are uncomfortable. One sign of physical discomfort may be that your loved one is having trouble sitting in one place and is constantly on the move, fidgeting and irritable. Below is a thorough checklist to help you identify physical discomfort:

  • When did your loved one last eat? Could they be hungry? Try offering a small, nutritious snack. Better yet, sit down with them and have a snack yourself. Ensuring that you aren’t hangry will also help your loved one remain calm (remember method one?).

  • Could your loved one have an infection? Urinary tract infections and bladder infections can often develop or worsen symptoms of confusion, decreased mobility, and enhance agitation (6).

  • What has your loved one had to drink in the last 24 hours? Dehydration is common in seniors due to a decreased sense of thirst. Dry eyes, mouth and skin are symptoms to watch for along with confusion and forgetfulness. Make your loved one a hot or cold cup of non-caffeinated tea, offer a slice of juicy watermelon, and make sure to add water dense foods into their daily meals. Or gently remind your loved one to sip on water throughout the day.

  • Do you know when your loved one last had a bowel movement? That’s an important discomfort to address.

  • Don’t forget to do a quick glance of the clothes your loved one is wearing. A waistband that itches, the tongue of a shoe that is rubbing, socks bunched at the toe, a collar that is too tight, or a fabric that scratches could all result in discomfort. All of these minor irritations can be distracting and irritating.

  • Making sure that your loved one is physically comfortable will drastically reduce aggression and agitation.

 

5.    Connect

Dementia can be a frightening and a stressful time for both you as the caregiver and for your loved one. The most important thing you need to keep in mind while working through the aggression and agitation is the connection. Dementia CANNOT steal the love from your relationship. It only changes the relationship. 

Always look for ways that you can cherish your loved one instead of focusing on the more frustrating aspects of being a caregiver. If the immediate situation or activity seems to be triggering your loved one, try to be proactive in changing that situation. Redirect to a more peaceful and relaxing activity. If a conversation is upsetting either you or your loved one, acknowledge what your loved one said and then move to a different topic.

Aim to say yes as much as possible. If your loved one mentions that she saw someone who has passed away years ago agree with how lovely that would be to talk to them again. Even build on it and ask what they talked about. This gives you both a connection with one another and serves as a comforting conversation.

Remember that you can only count on today. Enjoy the moments that you have. Listen to music together, dance (if you can!), play an instrument, offer a massage or brush your loved one’s hair. Go for a walk outside and listen to the bird songs or look at flowers. As Alzheimer’s and dementia progress, the world is largely experienced through senses. Express your love through touch, sounds, sight, tastes, and smells.

Home Care Assistance hopes that these tips will help you continue to cherish your loved one even as dementia changes the dynamics of your relationship. Dementia, particularly dealing with aggression and agitation it causes, can be challenging for caregivers. Remember the importance of connecting with your loved one, and rely on communicating your own positive attitude so that they can mirror you. Provide a soothing environment and aim to remain calm and loving. Empathize with your loved one’s feelings and always emphasize love. When it comes time to invite more help into the home, look for caregivers that are trained in Alzheimer’s and dementia care.

Home Care Assistance can provide guidance to patients and families in Oklahoma City and the surrounding areas. If you are looking for Edmond home care or dementia care in Oklahoma City, reach out to us. We are ready to help you through the home care process.

 

 

Sources:

1.    https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=84#Psychological%20and%20emotional%20impact%20of%20dementia

2.    https://www.alz.org/flgulfcoast/alzheimers_disease_62487.asp

3.    https://www.homewatchcaregivers.com/dementia-and-verbal-communication

4.    https://www.alz.org/care/alzheimers-dementia-agitation-anxiety.asp

5.    https://www.alz.org/care/alzheimers-dementia-aggression-anger.asp

6.    https://www.healthline.com/health/uti-in-elderly

The Cognitive Therapeutics Method™

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The Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM) is a brain health program developed by researchers at Home Care Assistance right in the Oklahoma City area. It was developed by a research team led by a neuropsychologist. The Cognitive Therapeutics Method is based on scientific research pointing to non-pharmacological activity and lifestyle intervention as an effective way to promote long-term brain health. The program aims to improve quality of life in our OKC and Edmond dementia care patients through a truly holistic approach. Our in-home care providers incorporate positive lifestyle improvements, personalized one-on-one activities, and cognitive engagement. The program’s activities target more than just memory. The CTM helps improve executive functioning, attention, language, and visual-spatial skills. This approach goes hand-in-hand with lifestyle improvements in physical activity, social engagement, diet and more.

The Cognitive Therapeutics Method is a complement to our Balanced Care Method and is another multi-pronged approach to healthy aging, specifically focused on the brain. At Home Care Assistance, we believe in extending healthy years and work with our clients to help them achieve health and meaningfulness in longevity. All our private home care providers are trained in the CTM to ensure that your senior loved one receives the best home health care available.

Home Care Assistance is proud to offer these free valuable resources to you for personal use. As a home care agency, we believe in providing you with the best resources and guidance available.
 

What is Home Care
A 19-page guide that defines in-home care and what it can mean for your loved one and your family.

The Cognitive Therapeutics Method™ Activities
This one-page flier explains the activities that are part of the Cognitive Therapeutics Method™, a research-based program designed to keep aging minds sharp.

Agency Evaluation Checklist
If you are considering home care, our Agency Evaluation Checklist helps you make sure you ask the right questions and find the care provider that is perfect for you.

If you think it may be time to start in-home care, you aren’t alone. Home Care Assistance can provide guidance to patients and families in Oklahoma City and the surrounding areas. If you are looking for Edmond home care or dementia care in Oklahoma City, reach out to us. We are ready to help you through the home care process.

 

The Impact Loneliness and Isolation has on our Brains

How loneliness drains the aging brain and what can be done about it

In his hit “Only The Lonely (Know How I Feel),” legendary crooner Roy Orbison hits close to home regarding the heartache of being and feeling alone: “Only the lonely know the way I feel tonight…only the lonely know this feeling ain’t right.”

Yes, it’s true — feeling alone is no fun. But the fact remains that many American seniors spend most their lives lonely and isolated from the outside world. Sure, everyone enjoys a little alone time. However, for too many seniors, remaining isolated does more than diminish joie de vivre. It can actually increase the risk of disease — and may even precipitate an early death.

The Science Behind Excess Alone Time on Senior Brains

A 2010 survey sponsored by AARP, referenced in the Harvard Health blog, revealed that 35% of American adults aged 45 and up felt lonely. 1  What’s more, their sense of isolation increased over time — 56% of the lonely respondents “had fewer friends at the time of the survey than five years earlier.”

The evidence is mounting that loneliness and social isolation actually affect the way our brains function. In the same article, Christopher Bullock, MD writes that when it comes to loneliness, “we now know it is not just a feeling, but a condition that has a very real effect on the body.”

A study conducted in the United Kingdom found “that hundreds of thousands of people had not spoken to a friend or a relative in a month — that’s a lot of silence in your life.

“Humans are social creatures,” Bullock goes on. “Among ourselves we form all kinds of complex alliances, affiliations, attachments, loves, and hates. If those connections break down, an individual risks health impacts throughout the body.”

A Clear Connection to Senior Health Issues

According to Dr. Bullock, recent research demonstrates the potentially serious impact of isolation on health, including:

  • Increased risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Decreased cognitive and executive function (there is initial evidence of increased amyloid burden in the brains of the lonely)
  • A 26% increase in the risk of premature death from all causes
  • Decrease in the quality of sleep
  • Increased chronic inflammation and decreased inflammatory control (linked to the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia)
  • Decreased immune function leading to vulnerability to many types of disease
  • Increased depressive symptoms
  • Increased fearfulness of social situations (sometimes resulting in paranoia)
  • Increased severity of strokes (with shortened survival)
  • An overall decrease in the subjective sense of well-being

The Loneliness, Disease Connection is Nothing New

Studies began documenting the correlation between loneliness and illness some thirty years ago. Bullock reports that “social isolation was a major risk factor for mortality, illness, and injury, and in fact was as significant a risk factor as smoking, obesity, or high blood pressure.”

Other studies link loneliness with inflammation and neurological changes. For instance, lonely people experience dementia more frequently and risk premature death. 2 And in a paper shared at the American Psychological Association meeting, Brigham Young University professor Julianne Holt-Lunstead suggested that “loneliness is a bigger health risk than obesity.”

Conquering the Isolation Curse

While loneliness is very common, treating it is often challenging. But seeing as how a recent University of Chicago study concludes that “loneliness can make you sick,” researchers are increasingly drawn to figuring out this “invisible epidemic.” 3

Here are six ways to help lonely seniors (and their aging brains) cope:

  1. Get moving. The longer someone has felt lonely the more difficult it can be to do something as simple as smiling and saying hello. But finding connections with other people is absolutely essential to alleviating a sense of isolation.
  2. A common cure. Feeling disconnected with other people and telling ourselves we have nothing in common pretty much guarantees loneliness will continue. Taking a risk and reaching out “may lead you to a connection or commonality that will make you feel less alone.” 4 Strong relationships can help build your health.
  3. Think outside your box. A major consequence of isolation is that we think too much about our personal plight. Switching our frame of reference to what others might be going through can help lighten our own loneliness.
  4. Hunt down a new hobby. Those of us who feel cut off from the outside world can easily fall prey to inertia. So get up and get out there and just do something. Whether it’s an exercise program or a pottery class, becoming engaged with a new pastime just might make you happier. Crafting can be one easy and engaging way to advance your cognitive skills and participate in a new activity.
  5. Show up. People who spend extended periods of time on their own often shy away from social functions. Try accepting an invitation to meet for lunch or coffee. If not, even sitting in a public place and reading can be surprisingly stimulating.
  6. Feed your brain. From crossword puzzles to jigsaw puzzles to enrolling in a course at a community college or even online, active brains are more likely to be happy, healthy brains.

The People Prescription

Dr. Bullock believes “that people are anxiety relievers.” He says that people are good for you and that finding ways to be around people is a smart way to go through life. His final thought is that “it is only within the complex and gratifying and sometimes challenging ecology of human relationships that we can truly thrive.” All of which sounds like an intelligent way to use your brain.

If you or a loved one are feeling lonely and isolated, learn how social programs can help both seniors and caregivers stay connected to their communities, by reading: https://homecareassistance.com/blog/social-programs-answer-seniors-caregivers.

Sources:

  1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/im-so-lonesome-i-could-cry-2018032113512
  2. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/loneliness-can-damage-health-triggering-inflammation-and-neurological-changes/2017/12/15/e7211b84-df61-11e7-8679-a9728984779c_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.8a606d57060c
  3. https://www.bustle.com/articles/126162-loneliness-can-make-you-physically-sick-so-here-are-6-ways-to-fight-it
  4. https://www.bustle.com/articles/124823-9-feelings-you-arent-alone-in-experiencing-according-to-the-therapists-of-reddit-even-if

How to Allow Your Parent to Accept Help Graciously

How can we help someone in need who doesn’t want any help? How do you allow your parent to accept help graciously, and preserve their pride and dignity? How do I deal with a difficult parent?

These are some of the most often asked questions from well-meaning family caregivers. If you feel trapped in a power struggle, try not to take it personally.

Understanding parents’ resistance to help

Your aging parent may resist or refuse help for VALID REASONS, such as:

  • Habit. Your parent(s) could decline your outstretched hand out of habit. They’ve always fended for themselves, so why stop now?

  • Pride. Asking for help may signal their physical or mental decline. Asking one’s children for help is a stronger signal of decline, to some people.

  • Privacy. Is your aging loved one a private person by nature? Talking about one’s own health can be very personal, and seniors may choose not to share.

  • Cost. Your mother or father may feel the expense unnecessary, or burdensome.

7 Ideas to Allow Your Parent to Accept Help

Understanding and accepting parental resistance is a good start. If you expect a battle, try these ideas to lead to a peaceful truce. These tips can shift the conversation from “giving help” to “accepting help.”

1.  Let the person achieve something on their own.

Even tying shoelaces can be tricky. Limited vision, reduced hand-eye coordination, and stiff joints can make the routine difficult. If several attempts are unsuccessful, say something like, “I’ll get those laces tied for you.”

2.  Reframe questions to statements.

In the previous example, if you asked the question “Can I tie your shoelaces for you?” you may well hear “No.” Letting the person try, and then “pitching in” may be more productive. You could also replace lace-up shoes with Velcro closure shoes. These are easier to tighten and release. Again, don’t ask if you can replace a senior’s shoes. Confirm the shoe size and get a new pair.

3.  Approach your parent with a united front. 

My two sisters and I used this tactic when we decided it was high time for Mom and Dad to stop driving. While it was challenging to talk to our parents about driving, we were successful. There were three of us saying the same thing and echoing each other’s words. We explained that we worried about them both if they were behind the wheel. Mom and Dad could not argue our concern and agreed.

4.  Provide viable options when requesting anything.

With my own parent’s driving, an alternative was for a family member to drive them where they need to go. Our parents could also use a seniors’ driving service, such as GoGoGrandparent, call a taxicab, or catch public transit.

5.  Go slow and start early.

Accept the fact that some changes may be a long time coming. Start with small offers of help and grow from there; chances are better that you will be successful. The earlier you begin these conversations, the better.

6.  Take your time with anything new.

Book one day of home care assistance first as an experiment rather than five days. By offering less, it’s harder for someone to refuse. This can get your foot in the door, and you can work up (and add more) from there.

7.  Involve a doctor.

If the resistance remains too much, call for back-up! Parents may fight tooth and nail against their adult children. These same seniors are often open to a doctor’s recommendations. If you’re having problems convincing Mom and/or Dad to accept help, contact their doctor. Book an appointment for Mom or Dad to see the doctor under any pretense. Let the doctor discuss those awkward topics, instead of you.