February 11, 2021

Home is the safest place for senior citizens to be during the Covid-19. But the pandemic has further reduced the activity levels of senior citizens as they must stay indoors and observe social distancing. This lack of activity can be harmful to your physical and mental health. Working out can help keep your weight down, reduce stress and depression, increase physical fitness. Getting exercise is particularly important for senior citizens. It reduces diseases such as strokes, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Our at-home workouts for seniors are low impact so there is little chance of injury.

Even a small amount of exercise can go a long way towards improving your health. Ten minutes of yoga or walking has significant benefits. Also, seek medical advice before starting any exercise regimen as some activities may be unsafe for you to take part in. 

Along with your workouts, ensure that you get 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night and eat a healthy diet. Senior citizens need to eat nutrient-dense foods to keep their immunity up. So do your best to cut processed foods, sugar, and trans fats from your diet.

But how can you stay healthy when you must avoid the gym due to Covid-19 restrictions? Keep reading for the best at-home workout for seniors that will help you stay physically and mentally fit. 

Walking 

Walking around your house is one of the best at-home workouts for seniors. Wear a pedometer and aim to at least 5000 steps a day of walking. If you have stairs at your home, you can do an effective step up step down on the bottom step of the staircase.

If your community allows it, take walks outside the home too for at least half an hour each day. Going out to get some sun and fresh air will keep you fit and also help boost your happy hormones.

Double up on the benefits of your walking workout by listening to music, an audiobook, or a podcast. This can reduce your stress levels and help stimulate your brain. 

Balancing Exercises

We tend to lose our mobility as we grow older which makes us vulnerable to slips and falls. For senior citizens, a nasty fall can lead to major health problems and even result in a fatality. Some at-home exercises can help with balance and mobility for seniors. 

The first exercise you can do is a single leg stand. Hold on to the back of a chair and stand on one leg. Folding your other leg at the knee.

Stand like this for a count of ten and then switch legs. The second exercise is the opposite arm and leg balance. Stand on your left leg with your other leg folded at the knee.

Stretch out your right hand ahead of you and count to 10 before switching to your other hand and leg. You can hold on to a chair with your free hand to keep your balance. 

The third balancing exercise you can do at home is the heel to toe walk. This is a similar exercise to the sobriety test conducted by police officers. Basically, walk in a straight line making sure that the toe of your rear leg touches the heel of the leading leg. 

Stretching

To prevent injury, fitness advisors recommend stretching before and after any physical activity. Daily stretching has many benefits such as increasing blood flow to our joints and muscles. It also helps reduce stress and post work out soreness and improving our posture.

Stretching keeps our muscles flexible and increases our joints’ range of motion. Seniors that don’t stretch tend to have shorter, tighter muscles. This can make it hard to do certain activities like bending or reaching for items. 

Stretch your upper body by raising your arms straight over your head and interlacing your fingers. Lean as far as you can to the left and hold for 20 seconds. Then lean to the right and do the same. You can do this stretch while sitting or standing.

You can also stretch your lower body through knee to chest stretches. Lie flat on your back then bring one knee to your chest and hold it down by the thigh for 20 seconds. Switch legs and repeat the stretch.

There are several other stretches you can do for all your major body parts or muscles such as arms, back, hamstrings, and calves.

Weight Training

Another important exercise all seniors should have as part of their fitness routine is weight training. Resistance exercises and lifting weights help you build muscle. This can ward off weight gain and improves your strength and mobility.

As you walk around the house carry two dumbbells or improvise by using water bottles or canned food. You can also get a resistance band and work out with it for a few minutes every day. 

Meditation

Meditation is an ancient practice whose health benefits are now scientifically proven. The practice reduces anxiety by 60% and cuts the risk of being hospitalized for heart disease by 87%. This is because it helps to reduce the stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol causes weight gain as well as mental illnesses. 

Mediation naturally reduces cortisol levels in the body leading to improved physical and mental health. Meditating for at least 15 minutes daily also helps you sleep better while lowering blood pressure and reducing depression. This is why you should make meditation a part of your daily routine. 

Mental Exercises

At-home workouts for seniors shouldn’t be limited to physical exercises. It is just as important to take care of your mental fitness. Get some memory games on your smartphone and play them for a few minutes each day.

You can also get a puzzle book with crosswords, sudoku, and brain teasers. These help keep your brain working for a few minutes every day. Exercising your brain can prevent memory loss and increase brain functionality. 

Looking for assistance?

Home Health Aides or Certified Nurse Assistants referred by Just Like Family are experts in assisting with daily exercises in addition to all of the other services listed HERE.

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January 4, 2021

Have you considered what your 2021 New Year’s resolutions are going to be? Do you want to be healthier and more active? Do you want to find new ways to communicate with others? Would you like to be more engaged with your community?

For seniors, prioritizing health becomes more important with every passing year. Top resolutions for seniors often include age-appropriate lifestyle changes that focus on improving health, engaging more with others, and focusing on a more active and happier lifestyle.  Southwest Florida offers a huge range of opportunities for seniors to find a new passion, hobby, or goal.

Here are some of the best New Year’s Resolutions for seniors, 2021 edition!

Top New Year’s Resolutions and goals

Any New Year’s resolution for seniors should include positive ways to boost health and overall quality of life. They should be attainable and reasonable goals.

Eat Healthier 

With age comes weight gain, hypertension, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses. Some of them can be managed through our nutrition. We need fewer calories but more nutrients.

Look to add more fruits and vegetables to your meals. Pick seafood and poultry more often than red meat. Include whole grains, legumes, and nuts. Cook with healthier fats like olive and avocado oil.

Use more spices to reduce the amount of salt you consume. Look to alternatives like fruit and dark chocolate to satisfy your sweet tooth while reducing sugar from your diet.

Exercise Every Day

Staying active is the key to healthy aging. Older adults should focus on four types of activity: aerobic, strength, flexibility, and balance. 

Just a little bit goes a long way. Start by adding 10 minutes of activity to your day. Increase it slowly and work your way up to 30 minutes of activity a day. You don’t have to do it all at once. Even 10 minutes three times a day will have a positive impact on your wellbeing.

Consider exercises like walking and swimming for your aerobic activity. Yoga is a great way to incorporate strength, flexibility, and balance in one exercise! 

Exercise Your Brain Too

Try to learn something new every day. Lifelong learning is important to keep your brain resilient and help you deal with stress. Keeping your cognitive skills sharp reduces the chance of memory loss.

Take a class through your community or local university. Join a book club, learn a new language, or find a photography group. Find a game you enjoy – like sudoku or crossword puzzles – and increase the difficulty level to keep challenging your brain to adapt and work harder.

Find a New Hobby

Find ways to engage in activities you enjoy. Creative activities like painting, writing, and playing a musical instrument can improve your mood and challenge your brain. Or pick something more meditative and relaxing like fishing, crocheting, or gardening.

Look for Volunteer Opportunities

Did you know that volunteering can reduce stress and depression? It might even help you live longer. Regular volunteer work keeps you mentally, physically, and socially active. Plus, it’s a great way to give back to your community.

People who volunteer report increased self-confidence and fulfillment in their lives. It’s a great way to meet other people to stave off loneliness and isolation. And, it helps you appreciate what is good in your life.

Become a Social Butterfly 

Whether you’re an introvert or the life of the party, all older adults benefit from a little social activity. It’s linked to increased cognitive skills, lower depression, and improved health overall.

Find new friends through volunteering activities, book clubs, or community classes. Consider the social advantages of a senior community. You’ll always find someone with a similar interest to play cards or go for a walk with you.

Use technology to help you keep in touch with family and friends. Use email, social media platforms, and video chats to connect with others. And, don’t forget the classics – telephone calls and letter writing still work just as well, too.

Maintain a Positive Outlook

Many people downplay the importance of having a positive outlook. It doesn’t mean avoiding conflict or looking at the world through rose-colored glasses.

It means focusing on what you can change and not stressing about what you can’t. 

It’s been linked to a lot of health benefits. People with a positive outlook have a lower risk of memory loss and chronic disease and decreased feelings of loneliness. They feel less isolated and recover from injuries and illnesses faster.

Try to incorporate positive thinking exercises into your day. Keep a journal or make a gratitude list to remind you of your positive intentions.

Prioritize Your Overall Health

Every 2021 Seniors New Year Resolutions should include being more proactive about your health. Keep up with your annual check-ups. They’re important for preventative care and catching potential issues early. Review your insurance and Medicare benefits every year to make sure your coverage is still right for you.

Use technology to stay on top of medications and monitor your heart rate. Use apps to track your exercise routines or help you quit smoking. Take advantage of telehealth to consult with your doctor from the comfort of your home.

If you need help, ask for it. Whether you need help with household chores, grocery shopping, transportation, or just someone to talk to. There are resources available to help with all of these things and more.

If you need more than just a little help around your home, that’s available too. Places like Just Life Family Agency can offer caregiver referrals to help you when you need it. 

Senior New Year’s Resolutions

Use these New Year’s resolutions to guide you into a joyful and happy 2021. Be intentional with your goals to stay active and healthy in the coming year.

Contact us for a free consultation to learn more about quality home care and if it’s right for you. 

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June 13, 2019

Seniors and those recovering from surgery/injury can often feel isolated and/or afraid.  

Caregivers, whether family or professional, can participate in their care and provide personal interaction, but often are only in attendance as needed. Fortunately, we have come a long, long way in how technology can help create needed connections to the “outside world.” Most of us cannot imagine a world without computers, or at least tablets and smartphones. But, many seniors still find these to be intimidating, having grown up in a time where telephones had wires and dials!  The good news is that technology has made the new tools incredibly simple to use.

We at Just Like Family, encourage our clients, families, and friends to take advantage of the technological connections that are possible. Minimally, today’s cell phones can provide access, inexpensively, to basic phone calls, email and texting to family and friends, even internationally.  Helping seniors, especially, understand the service they have, and how much access it can provide is critical.

While the phone can handle much more than basic calls and texting, access to a tablet and/or a computer makes access to these other tools much more enjoyable, if only for the size of the screen.  

 

Phones & Tablets

We encourage seniors and patients to obtain a tablet/computer and learn how to participate in the following:

FaceTime

Having a conversation where you can actually see the other party is amazing.  Not only can the senior see how the grandkids have grown, but the other party can check on the condition of their loved one and even their surroundings.   Simple explanations of how FaceTime works are offered via ‘YouTube’ and other ‘how to’ sites. Other programs, such as Skype, offer similar service, but FaceTime seems to be the most popular and easiest to use.

Music

With a little help, seniors can set up their tablet (or phone)  to play their favorite music, perhaps re-living special memories connected to certain songs.  Most of us find that music lifts our spirits, if even just for short periods of time.

Brain activity

Tablets or computers are especially good for activities that keep the brain engaged, as a larger screen makes these more enjoyable.   We encourage seniors to use technology for:

Reading

The ability to adjust the font, colors, etc. is very helpful to those whose vision is not as sharp.  Online e-books can be found for free, or at a low cost. Those who struggle with memory issues find that highlighting certain passages improves memory, and appreciate the ability to ‘search’ for a person or action that they don’t remember.  In addition to e-books, newspaper subscriptions are available at a significantly lower cost than print versions and can help the reader stay current with local events.

Mind/brain exercise  

Apps, many for free, are available for many games or activities that help keep the brain sharp. Examples are Sudoku, Scrabble, and crossword puzzles. A simple search for “brain games,” however, identifies many more.

 

Technology Supporting Seniors Living at Home

Beyond the basic computer/table/phone ideas, new technologies provide other services that specifically help senior and the homebound. Three specific components we recommend be considered:

Emergency Response System

We tend to think of this as the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” system, but much more is available.   A button you can push to summon help is still there, but the systems can also track whether the client has been still for too long, or has actually fallen.  Seniors report that the “button” makes them feel much more secure about continuing to live at home, as well as feel connected to the outside world. In the worst situation, this technology can literally be a life-saver.

Medication Management (reminding/dispensing)

You don’t have to be a senior to have trouble remembering to take your medication, but many of our clients report this as an issue. Simple options, such as a weekly box that is ‘loaded’ with medications for each day of the week, and even for A.M. and P.M., are widely available.  Many pharmacies, and companies, now package prescriptions for their clients by the day, or multiple times a day. Technology is also bringing us systems that remind us what to take when, and how much.   These systems can include alarms and reminders (such as take at bedtime.) Use of these systems is encouraged, and we look forward to even more options in the future.

SmartHome technology

The ability to see what is going on, inside and outside of the home, as well as to control one’s surroundings is the latest technological advancement. The ability to see who is at the front door,  and even to talk to that person, is a technology our clients might find useful. Many report that they feel much safer, and therefore more comfortable being alone, with this simple device. Other technologies to consider include those that allow the resident to address comfort issues without moving, including applications/devices that allow the resident to use their phone to adjust the temperature, turn the lights off and on, and even lock/unlock doors.

 

Technology and Home Care

Technology will never replace personal care, but it can help reduce the amount of care needed and increase self-sufficiency. Technology will never replace the joy of an in-person visit with a caretaker, family member or friend. But, the ability to connect via technology can overcome long distance, and well as time challenges. We all can find technology a challenge, but the joy and connection it brings make the effort worthwhile.  

 

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February 28, 2019

Improving communication skills is good for all of us who are involved with seniors, and for the seniors themselves.   While much as been written about communications skills in general, this particular topic isn’t addressed as often.  Some of the most common statements made by senior citizens about communication issues are:

  • Please don’t yell at me, just talk a little louder and don’t mumble.
  • Please don’t call me Sweetie, Sweetie Pie, Young Lady, Young Man, or any other child-like name.
  • Please don’t say things that make it sound like I am about to die.

Let’s look at the three components above:

  1. The physical act of communication can be a barrier to a good conversation, especially for those with a hearing loss.

Per the Gerontological Society of America’s(GSA) CEO, James Appleby, “two-thirds of adults 70 and over have a hearing loss that affects their daily conversation…. Leading to isolation, depression.”  Hearing loss, however, doesn’t mean yelling is the solution.

In addition to hearing aids, there are strategies to enhance communication with someone with even a slight hearing loss. A Cleveland Clinic guide to improving communications suggests the following:

  • Gain attention: saying the person’s name, or giving a light touch to let the person know you are there.
  • Maintain eye contact: facial expressions and body language are critical pieces of conversations.
  • Avoid covering mouth: Most listeners make use of lip-reading.  Covering your mouth and chewing make that difficult.
  • Speak naturally: shouting is not helpful, nor is mumbling.  Speak distinctly and at a normal rate.  Pausing may help the person process the speech.
  • Avoid background noise: turn off the TV or the radio.

One final note on the physical act of conversation, remember to talk TO the person directly.  A pet peeve of seniors is hearing a visitor ask someone else “how is he or she doing”… as if the person cannot hear.   Another pet phrase that is annoying, “how are WE doing.”  These phrases make the person feel non-existent, versus “how are YOU doing” which makes them feel valued.

  1. The tone of communication can be another barrier to conversation.

Would you like to be addressed in a way that sounds patronizing, or as if you were a small, cute child?  Probably not.  You want to be addressed as an intelligent partner in a conversation.  Seniors want to be treated the same way.  Calling a senior ‘sweetie’ implies you think that person is ‘cute’ which indicates a lack of respect for the person.

Taking this a step further, the GSA has a guide to communicating with older adults, which encourages us to use the same vocabulary we use with other adults.  The report says “as a general rule, older adults maintain their existing vocabulary or continue to improve it.  They have no greater problem understanding complicated words than do members of other age groups, so there is no need to simplify the words you use.”

  1. Finally, let’s discuss the conversation itself. Sometimes we are uncomfortable with talking to seniors, as we don’t think we have much in common.  

Some thoughts to consider:

  • Seniors do not feel their age the way you may think they would. Let’s say you are 40, it is probably safe to say you still feel like you are 25 in your head.  Seniors feel the same.  A 75-year-old probably feels like a 40-year-old inside.  Your conversation can and should be just like when you talk to any adult.  Talk about current events, recent sports stories, etc.   You ask questions, but you also let them know about you.
  • Seniors do not approach each day as one more day before they die, it’s just today. Don’t ask questions or talk so it sounds like you are writing their obituary or ‘taking stock’ of their life.  As an example, “what do you wish you had done by now and haven’t” might be a good employment interview question, but to a senior, it can sound like you are trying to assess their lifetime value.

So, what are good conversation starters?  Here are some ideas.

  • What is your favorite food, and has that always been your favorite?
  • Do you have a favorite holiday? Why that one?
  • Do you like to read? What type of reading (books, magazines)?  Prefer printed materials, online, or audio?
  • How did you meet your wife/husband?
  • Have you traveled much? Where?
  • Have you always lived in this location? Where else?
  • When you were a child, what did you do for fun? Any sports?
  • Do you have a favorite movie? TV show?  From now, or earlier.
  • Did you work, and if so, what was your favorite job?
  • What technology do you like? Or what do you wish was never invented?
  • Do you have a favorite College/University? Did you attend there?
  • I am struggling to decide XXX, have you experienced that?
  • Do you have any hobbies, or some you used to have, or some you would like to start?

 

 

 

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December 4, 2018

Many elderly people struggle over time with long-term and short-term memories. There are different ways to help avoid a rapid decrease of memory skills according to various studies. Below are 6 ways which might help you strengthen your memory.

1. Meditate to improve working memory

Meditation helps you to become mindful and gain control over thoughts. It strengthens the ability to focus and sharpens the mind. You can use the app CALM to help you guide through meditation or just follow these easy steps:

–    The first step is committing to a regular, daily practice at a convenient time

–    Find a quiet place to relax and sit comfortably

–    Breathe deeply

–    Take a few moments to settle into your body. Gently observe your surrounding with your senses (excluding your vision)

–    Start focusing solely on breathing and the sensations around it. How the oxygen moves through your nose into your lungs and out again. Thoughts will come and go. Acknowledge them and let them go.

2. Drink coffee to improve your memory consolidation.

Michael Yassa, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Johns Hopkins, and his team of scientists found that caffeine has a positive effect on our long-term memory. Their research, published by the journal Nature Neuroscience, shows that caffeine enhances certain memories at least up to 24 hours after it is consumed.

“We’ve always known that caffeine has cognitive-enhancing effects, but its particular effects on strengthening memories and making them resistant to forgetting have never been examined in detail in humans,” said Yassa, senior author of the paper. “We report for the first time a specific effect of caffeine on reducing forgetting over 24 hours.”

3. Eat berries for better long-term memory.

In a study published in the “Annals of Neurology” in April 2012, researchers analyzed blueberry and strawberry intake and memory capabilities of 122,000 nurses ages 30 to 55. Data had been collected for 25 years. Participants who ate the most blueberries and strawberries showed less memory decline in later adulthood, by up to 2.5 years than non-berry eaters. A smaller study featured in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” in 2010 showed that drinking blueberry juice daily for 12 weeks improved older adults’ learning and memory skills by 20 percent.

4. Exercise to improve your memory recall

In a study done at the University of British Columbia, researchers found that regular aerobic exercise, the kind that gets your heart and your sweat glands pumping, appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning. Resistance training, balance and muscle toning exercises did not have the same results.

The finding comes at a critical time. Researchers say one new case of dementia is detected every four seconds globally. They estimate that by the year 2050, more than 115 million people will have dementia worldwide.

5. Chew gum to make stronger memories

There are three main potential explanations, says Scholey. In March 2000, Japanese researchers showed that brain activity in the hippocampus, an area important for memory, increases while people chew – but it is not clear why.

Recent research has also found that insulin receptors in the hippocampus may be involved in memory. “Insulin mops up glucose in the bloodstream and chewing causes the release of insulin because the body is expecting food. If insulin receptors in the brain are involved in memory, we may have an insulin-mediated mechanism explaining our findings – but that is very, very speculative,” Scholey says.

But there could be a simpler answer. “One interesting thing we saw in our study was that chewing increased heart rate. Anything that improves delivery of things like oxygen in the brain, such as an increased heart rate, is a potential cognitive enhancer to some degree,” he says.

But a thorough explanation for the findings will have to account for why some aspects of memory improved but others did not, Graham says. She points out that gum-chewers’ ability to quickly decide whether complex images matched images they had previously been shown was no better than the controls’.

6. Sleep more to consolidate your memories.

Researchers have tested this process by teaching people new skills and then scanning their brains after a period with or without sleep. When people have a chance to sleep, for example, after practicing a skill similar to piano scales, the centers of the brain that control speed and accuracy are more active than those regions in people who haven’t slept. Scientists think that while we sleep, memories and skills are shifted to more efficient and permanent brain regions, making for higher proficiency the next day. In fact, sleeping shortly after learning new information has been shown to help retention. Some research indicates that when people learn before going to sleep (or even before taking a nap), they remember the information better in the long term.

Keep in mind that our home health care professionals can always assist with activities to improve your wellbeing. Benefit from Just Like Family’s yearlong experience as a home health care provider here in Naples, FL and call us for a free consultation under (239)431-6661

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September 21, 2018

Southwest Florida offers a plethora of activities, seniors can do with or without the assistance of care providers, depending on the health status. We have gathered a list of activities you might want to check out here in Naples and the surrounding area:

Going for a walk: Walking around the neighborhood gives senior citizens the opportunity to explore, see what is new, and meet people. Besides being a form of exercising it also gives seniors the possibility to socialize. Just Like Family can arrange daily walks with a certified care provider.

Fishing: Southwest Florida offers many spots inland and offshore to do fishing. Depending on the health status, seniors can enjoy this activity by themselves. Being outside in nature can be a big stress reliever and offers variety from daily routines. Since the Naples Pier is closed for anglers but you can check out these fishing spots in Collier County:

  • North Collier Regional Park — catch and release
  • Sugden Regional Park — catch and release
  • Ann Olesky Park
  • Barefoot Beach Preserve
  • Clam Pass Beach Park
  • Caxambas Boat Park
  • Goodland Boat Park
  • Bayview Boat Park 
  • Vanderbilt Beach
  • Tigertail Beach

No matter where you fish always make sure that you are aware of any regulations.

Gardening: Another activity which brings seniors closer to nature. Many houses in Southwest Florida offer a backyard which can be used for a garden. Planting seeds and seeing how fruits, flowers, vegetables, and any other plants grow, can be very full filling, giving seniors a task with a goal. Therefore, they will receive physical and mental stimulation which is always beneficial for elders. Care providers can assist with those kinds of activities, so seniors can be active in a safe environment.

Golfing: Naples and its surrounding area offer many country & golf clubs. This fun sport is very popular among seniors because it can be played even in old age. Many golf clubs offer lessons for seniors as well as senior tournaments; another opportunity to gather with like-minded people and socialize. Any transportation to and from golf events can be accommodated by Just Like Family services.

Metal Detecting: Strolling up and down the beach to find hidden treasures like lost jewelry or coins can be a fun, active and exciting activity. Metal detecting is an excellent low-impact physical activity with the reward of outdoor stress relief and possibly gold! Vanderbilt Beach or Wiggins Pass might be great options to do some treasure hunting!

Just Like Family is a home health care provider in Naples always focused on the well-being of clients, trying to help them stay independent in their own home. The above activities can be discussed in a free consultation with our team. They depend on the client’s health status and any activities should be cleared by a physician. Disclaimer: The blog entry above has been created utilizing different online sources. The blog entry has not been verified by a doctor. Please note that conducting the above-mentioned activities is at the individual’s own risk and responsibility. Please always consult a doctor before exercising or doing any physical activity, especially to avoid injuries or harm due to unknown preconditions. Just Like Family is not responsible for any injuries while conducting the above activities.

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