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Social isolation and its influence on loneliness are a serious and persistent problem…
and this was before COVID-19. 

Senior care image for blog isolation
An article from The American Psychological Association suggests that social isolation and loneliness significantly increase the risk of mortality for older adults. Not only that, but isolation increases the risk for several other chronic diseases and mental health problems.

Now, with an unprecedented pandemic on our hands, senior living communities are challenged to keep infections from entering their communities. As parts of the economy open up, assisted living and nursing homes, understandably, remain locked down further exacerbating problems associated with social isolation.
Impact of Social Isolation
  • Suppressed immune system. Loneliness causes an increase in stress hormones (cortisol). According to the Cleveland Clinic, “Cortisol can impair cognitive performance, compromise the immune system, and increase your risk for vascular problems, inflammation, and heart disease.”
  • A decline in physical function. As people are increasingly confined, their physical activity level also declines. This can have a significant impact on overall health, mental health, and cognitive function. Activity is vital for aging adults. It helps maintain bone density, strength, and flexibility.
  • Depression and anxiety. The potential for depression and anxiety disorders can increase as people become more isolated. Feelings of despair and loss of control can contribute to these mental health problems. A vicious cycle ensues: loss of function leads to a decrease in activity which leads to a greater decline.
  • Memory problems. Social connections help keep our minds sharp and focused. There are many potential causes of memory loss or other cognitive problems. Some research suggests that loneliness and isolation can contribute to loss of cognitive function.
How COVID has Affected Senior Living Communities
The news of deaths from COVID in nursing homes across the country has been devastating. Although the rate of infection has not been as high in assisted living communities, the mandatory quarantine of residents has had significant effects on the health and well-being of those residents. Some of the impacts are the following:
  • At the time of this article, the vast majority of senior living communities across the country are not allowing non-essential visitors. Translation: no family members can visit. This has had a significant detrimental effect on the cognitive function and well-being of residents. Lack of social connection and interaction is a risk factor for Alzheimer's and other dementia's. Not to mention the exacerbation of a preexisting cognitive impairment condition due to the lack of social interaction and engagement.
  • Activities and other amenities have been discontinued. The social activity that is so indigenous to senior living has been largely curtailed due to the pandemic.
  • Access to technology is limited. Technology has the potential to connect people with not only their families but the outside world. Most older adults have limited technology skills and have no one to show them how to use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Facetime, or Zoom.
  • Advocacy becomes very challenging in an environment where no visitors are allowed. Nothing can replace the face to face contact with a loved one to assess how and if they are being properly cared for.
The Advantage of Home Care
Some families across the country are taking their loved ones out of assisted living and nursing home communities. Others continue to see the value that assisted living can bring to someone’s life even during current restrictions.
Home care does have some advantages over senior living:
  • Personal care needs can be met safely in someone’s home without the restrictions imposed by senior living.
  • Caregivers can minimize older adult's exposure to outside infection by taking trips to the pharmacy, store, etc. while maintaining proper safety protocols.
  • The value of companionship that personal caregivers provide to an older adult cannot be overstated. Caregivers can offer stimulating and engaging conversations, activities, and outings.
  • Home care caregivers are the eyes and ears of care. They report on physical and mental health status changes.
  • Caregivers can assist a senior with learning technology. With the advent of telehealth visits due to the pandemic, caregivers can be invaluable in assisting with that process.
  • Some assisted living communities do consider home care companies to be essential, paving the way for caregivers to actively participate in the care and well-being of residents.
Social Isolation in the Time of COVID
COVID-19 has shaken up the senior care industry in ways we couldn’t even imagine six months ago. Long-standing nursing home problems have been exposed. The effects of imposed restrictions on seniors and the consequences of forced isolation are being evaluated daily. Protecting older adults from a potentially fatal virus is critical, but so is finding ways to keep seniors engaged and healthy.
Decisions about where is the best and safest place for a senior to reside is a very personal decision.

Weighing and the pros and cons of each situation is the best approach, keeping in mind that social interaction is a basic human need that has physical and mental health benefits.

Laughter is the Best Medicine!
When was the last time you had a really good laugh? 

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The scientific definition of laughing is a “successive, rhythmic, spasmodic expiration with open glottis and vibration of the vocal cords, often accompanied by baring of the teeth and facial expression”. That doesn’t begin to tell the story of what laughing does for us, however. The bottom line is that laughing is medically beneficial.

Laughter establishes or restores a positive emotional climate and a sense of connection between two people. In fact, some researchers believe that the major function of laughter is to bring people together – the more social a person is and the more social support a person receives, the more likely that laughter will result from that social connection. Mutual laughter and play are an essential component of strong, healthy relationships. By making a conscious effort to incorporate more humor and play into your daily interactions, you can improve the quality of your relationships.

What are the Physical Effects of Laughing?

Laughing makes people feel good for a reason. Studies have shown that laughter boosts the immune system and triggers the release of pleasure-inducing neurochemicals in the brain. The immune system, which contains special cells that are responsible for defending the body against infection, have been shown to increase during the act of laughing. In the central nervous system, the brain releases powerful endorphins as a result of laughing. Endorphins are natural, morphine-like compounds that raise the pain threshold, produce sedation and induce euphoria (commonly called a “natural high”.) In other words, we feel better when we laugh because endorphins reduce physical and mental pain. While this may be a wonderful feeling, laughing has other benefits as well:
  • During a laugh, respiration, heart rate and blood pressure temporarily rise. This causes oxygen to surge through the bloodstream that then results in lower blood pressure.  
  • Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems. 
  • Laughter reduces pain and allows toleration of discomfort.  Laughter reduces blood sugar levels, increasing glucose tolerance in diabetics and non-diabetics alike. 
  • Laughter relaxes the whole body, relieving tension and stress. It has been shown that following a good, hearty laugh, muscles in the body are relaxed for up to 45 minutes afterward.
  • Laughing burns calories – laughter is sometimes referred to as “inner jogging”. A hearty laugh gives the muscles of the face, chest, shoulders, stomach and diaphragm a good workout. 
Laughter also helps to create a positive mood. It allows the expression of happiness and the release of anxiety. Humor eases tension and is a great antidote to a stressful situation. Laughter is often seen as a temporary vacation from everyday problems, bringing us to a paradise in which worries do not exist. Humor and laughter are natural safety valves that shut off certain hormones that are released during stressful situations. In fact, your sense of humor is one of the most powerful tools you have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health.
Here are some ways to bring more humor and laughter into your life:
Smile: Smiling is the beginning of laughter. Like laughter, it’s contagious. When you look at someone or see something even mildly pleasing, practice smiling!
Count your blessings: Literally make a list. The simple act of considering the good things in your life will distance you from negative thoughts that are a barrier to humor and laughter!
When you hear laughter, move toward it: People are very happy to share something funny because it gives them an opportunity to laugh again and feel the humor in it. When individuals hear laughter, they seek it out and ask “What’s funny?”
Spend time with fun, playful people: These are people who laugh easily, both at themselves and at life’s absurdities and who routinely find humor in everyday events. Their playful point of view and laughter are contagious!!
Bring humor into conversations: Ask people: What’s the funniest thing that happened to you today? This week? In your life?
Laugh at yourself: Share your embarrassing moments.
Attempt to laugh at situations rather than bemoan them: Look for the humor in a bad situation, the irony and absurdity of life. This will help improve your mood and the mood of those around you.
Surround yourself with reminders to lighten up: Keep a toy on your desk or in your car. Put up a funny poster in your office. Choose a computer screensaver that makes you laugh. Frame photos of you and your family having fun.
Keep things in perspective: Many things are beyond our control, so make the best of a situation and find the positive in the situation.
Deal with stress: Stress is major impediment to humor and laughter.
Pay attention to children and emulate them: They are the experts on playing, taking life lightly and laughing!!
Here is a simple prescription for a healthy life: Thirty minutes of exercise at least 3 times a week, and 15 minutes of laughter on a daily basis.
The bottom line – laughter may just be the best medicine on the market today.

Article credit & re-post by: Helen Hunter, ACSW, LSW

Counting to More Than Ten: Coping With Unreasonable Behavior When Caring For The Elderly

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We have all, at one time or another, been out shopping or in public when a child has started to throw a tantrum. The parent inevitably tries to calm the child but only succeeds in making him or her worse. The parent is always embarrassed, and you have immense sympathy for them. You go through the motions of feeling sorry for them and calling the child everything from spoilt to moody. Ultimately though, you are glad that it was not you. Ironically, if you find yourself in the role of main care provider for an elderly relative then you could also find yourself in that positions and, believe me, it is more embarrassing than the parent-child situation.

If you have had extensive experience of caring for the elderly then you will be accustomed to the token temper tantrums that occur every so often, but if you are not then it can be difficult to cope with. What makes it worse is the fact that you are related to the moody adult in question and thus are obliged to put up with it, no matter how difficult it may be at times. However, there are ways of coping with it.

Firstly, instead of thinking how mortified the individual in question would be if they realized what they were doing, reflect on exactly why the tantrum is occurring. If he or she is in the throes of a tantrum then this reflection may only be possible for a split second. However, it should allow you to understand it more and thus make you a little bit more relaxed in the situation. Take the amount of frustration you are feeling and times it by ten. That figure still won't even come close to the amount of frustration that your elderly in care is feeling. Imagine being stuck in your body, having thoughts muddled to the point that you cannot think straight and then think whether you would be reacting in the same way as your relative is. If you were honest then the answer would be yes.

The method of reasoning above can help you cope to a certain extent, but then having the unreasonable behavior directed towards you is a different matter and will provoke more potent feelings within you. If you take it as a personal attack, then no amount of reasoning on your part will make it possible for you to cope. You must somehow rise above it. Taking regular breaks is one method, maybe getting away from the individual for a few moments. It could even be a cry for attention, so ignoring the unreasonable behavior or pretending that it hasn't affected you may just put an end to it for long enough for you to gather your thoughts.

Sometimes, regular unreasonable behavior will only last for a short while. Elderly people suffering from mental and physical ailments tend to go through phases, just as children do so it is just a matter of weathering the storm and/or finding a way to cope with it. There is no definitive way to cope because everybody is different. The solution could be as obvious as listening to music through headphones for a while or taking a short walk. Eventually, you will build up a resistance to it. Suddenly, you will find that a mental shutter comes down when the person that you are caring for begins to act unreasonably.

You will begin to recognize the signs that a tantrum is brewing and simply ignore it or head it off before it begins. All of this takes time and it doesn't happen overnight. You have to figure out what works best for you. If it helps, take the attitude that he or she is a child again. That is essentially what they are and dealing with a child is not so alien to some as dealing with an adult is. If you can get into this mentality, then it will seem so much easier to cope with unreasonable elderly behavior.

A Very Helpful & Important "Golden Rule" in Caring For The Elderly.

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One Helpful Golden Rule Of Caring For The Elderly

If you are caring for the elderly in any capacity, whether it is as a care assistant in a retirement home or as a primary caregiver in the home of an elderly relative, it can be difficult to know where to start and what to do. If you are new to caring then it can be a very daunting experience because you are literally thrown in at the deep end. You learn or run; it is as simple as that. There are no courses or hard and fast rules that can tell you how to react in certain situations. Every caregiver has to find his or her own footing when caring for the elderly, and then translate that into a level on which you feel comfortable in order to be effective. However, there is one golden rule that you should follow and adopt as your private philosophy - always establish a routine and never underestimate its power!

Routines are essential when you are trying to establish a bond with the elderly person under your care. They can make that individual senior extremely happy and afford them an immense sense of comfort, as well as making your life so much easier! Before you even begin to think about establishing a daily routine though, you need to find out as much about the individual as you can. This shouldn't be a problem if you are related in some way, but it applies just as much as it does to caring for a complete stranger. You can't even begin to think about a routine if you do not know the person because they may hate certain aspects of the care that you impose on them. An effective routine is always based on mutual interests and compromise.

By getting to know the individual that you are caring for, you can build a solid foundation of trust and mutual respect. Trying to get into a routine before you have this will doom it to failure. Regardless of how logical and effective your routine promises to be, you cannot have a hope of it succeeding if the person that you are trying to help repeatedly bucks and sabotages it. Build the trust and then the routine.

A good routine will have a stabilizing effect on the elderly person that you are caring for, which will make your long term working relationship with them so much happier and less stressful. It will help you to remember what to do and when, and it will help the senior to remember what he or she has to do as well. Repeatedly doing the same thing over and over can give an immense sense of comfort to the senior because there is nothing unexpected thrown in to upset them.

The frustration of not knowing what is happening in your own world can be extremely upsetting, but a routine can help to avoid it. The familiar can give seniors a sense that they have some sort of control over their lives and can be used effectively to this end by caregivers. It can take months to build up an effective routine, but once it is in place then you will be loathed to deviate from it.

Once you have tried out the golden rule for yourself, you will see just how effective a tool it can be. It gives you a measure of control without taking away the elderly person's independence. It can cut out unnecessary stress. Although you do have to persevere to establish it and may face an initial rebellion, it will ultimately be worth the effort and both the caregiver and receiver will fully appreciate it. You never know until you try to establish a routine just how useful it can be, but whether it is employed as an initial step or a last resort in the caring process is completely up to you.

COVID-19: We Must Care for Older Adults’ Mental Health

Covid 19  we must care for older adults’ mental health
No matter your age, mental health and well-being are influenced by numerous factors and are susceptible to change. Right now, most people, across all sectors of society, are being affected by the global health crisis related to the coronavirus. One particular group we should keep in mind during this challenging time is older adults, whose routines and usual support systems may be disrupted.

The most powerful factors that impact mental health and well-being for older adults include:
Mental health conditions. Often undiagnosed, mental health conditions (either previous or current) can have their first onset in later adulthood. Depression and severe anxiety are not a normal part of aging, and can be addressed with clinical treatment and social support.

The stress of COVID-19, the uncertainty it creates, and the potential for older adults to be more susceptible to the virus, can exacerbate any underlying risk for depression or anxiety.
Physical health, pain and disability. Medical conditions are prevalent for most older adults and can often be well managed. When pain or chronic illness lead to functional disability, the individual’s sense of identity and well-being can be significantly impacted.

During this COVID outbreak, being in an older age demographic and having chronic health conditions are criteria for “high-risk” vulnerability to the virus. This can compound the stress many older adults feel.
Social isolation, feeling lonely or disconnected. Any regular contact with family, neighbors, clubs, faith communities, and social services (such as meal delivery or home care personnel) can serve as important points of contact. These can be a lifeline for social connection.

Social distancing can create further isolation, and the current crisis is affecting almost everyone’s routines, mass transportation, and some “non-essential” social services. This means that the usual social support and contacts older adults have with others may be diminished.
Losses, are a more frequent experience for older adults and generally include the death of friends/family, and other kinds of losses such as driving, autonomy, financial, or functioning in various roles. Older adults’ capacity to adapt and heal through grief and loss is generally vast. Yet grief can become complicated for some. When losses occur in combination with other stressors, mental health deterioration can occur.

The COVID outbreak can feel like a threat that could bring about even more potential loss adding to the older adults’ baseline experiences of loss.
Disruption in routine, such as eating, sleep, daily structure, sense of purpose, and relationships.

There is a good chance that COVID has affected the older adult’s usual routines: where they can shop, eat, walk and socialize.

Everyone has a role to play in supporting older adults during the COVID outbreak. Here are some things you can do: Regularly check in on your older adult friends, neighbors and family members. Call or video-chat with them, since texting and social media may not be the best method of connecting. Ask how they are doing during this period of time, how their routines might have had to change, and what kinds of things they are doing to cope with the stress. Encourage them to keep doing the activities that are allowable during COVID for their local area, and that they identify as being most helpful for them, such as daily exercise or a walk, stretching, listening to or playing music, reading, enjoying favorite or humorous shows, puzzles, games, social activities, and meditation or prayer. (Here are some activity ideas from AARP, and the National Institute on Aging.) Help them seek medical advice or care if they are experiencing symptoms of physical or mental health decline. Offer to bring them a meal, run an errand, or walk their dog, if your town allows for these activities. Seek advice from them based on their experience and wisdom. Express gratitude and appreciation for any support you get from your relationship with them. Let them know what you admire about the way they conduct their life.

Most importantly, simply communicate regularly with the older adults in your life, and express support. Let them know you’re there for them and that you care. Make sure they know you are grateful they’re part of your life.

It’s important that we all care for each other during this challenging and uncertain time. By taking a few simple actions, you can make all the difference in an older person’s life when they may need it the most. 

Caring for those with Dementia

Dementia is the medical term used to describe the decline of reasoning, memory and other a mental abilities of individuals.  These usually impair a person's ability to do everyday activities such as driving, household chores and even personal care such as feeding and bathing.  Dementia is most common in elderly and used to be called senility.  Dementia was also considered to be a normal part of aging, which we now know is not true.

Researchers know that dementia is caused by a number of underlying medical conditions that can occur in both the elderly and young person.  In some cases, dementia can be reversed with proper medical treatment especially when the cause is reversible.  In other cases however, it is permanent and will usually get worse over time.

People with dementia eventually become totally dependent on others for their daily care.  They will also show a decline in all areas of intellectual functioning which includes their ability to use language and numbers appropriately and an awareness of what is going on around them.

Although many older people fear that they are developing dementia because they may not be able to find their eyeglasses or have a short-term memory loss about someone's  name, these are very common problems that are often due to a much less serious condition.  Medical professionals call this condition  age-related memory loss.  Although this is a nuisance it doesn't impair the person's ability to learn new information, solve problems or carry out every day activities.
 Individuals who suffer from dementia will have problems with all of these things.

It's important to seek out medical care for a friend or relative if they exhibit marked loss of short-term memory, significant behavior or personality changes, inappropriate behavior, depression or marked mood swings, persistent word find problems, persistent poor judgment or the inability to manage personal finances.  Only with the diagnosis and treatment recommendations of a person's primary care physician can their individual circumstances be addressed appropriately.

Caring for an individual with dementia will require a degree of flexibility and the ability to increase the amount of care given as time goes on.
There is no specific recipe to follow in caring for those who have dementia.  It is important to remember to treat them like a person, to be patient, kind and to consider their feelings.  Although their behavior and personality can change drastically as their disease progresses they continue to be the same person family members once loved and who once cared for children.

By focusing on the individual's remaining abilities and helping them to create ways to compensate for their declining abilities caregivers are able to improve the quality of life of individuals who suffer from dementia.  Individuals with dementia will often keep social skills and a sense of humor and may continue to enjoy socializing and interacting with others.

One of the most important factors to remember is that each individual will experience their dementia in a way that is specific to their situation.  It is important for caregivers to anticipate what that individual may need while at the same time allowing them as the much independence as is safely possible.

Remember that short-term memory will be very debilitated and individuals may have forgotten what they were told to do two minutes prior.  This means if they are helping in baking or cooking it's important that a person is assigned to ensure the safety of that adults.

People with dementia will have long-term memories of songs or childhood events that may contrast starkly with their inability to remember what happened just a few minutes ago.  They have the greatest degree of difficulty with activities that require concentration and may react negatively to situations which require immediate change.

Caregivers should be prepared to deal with those individuals who become agitated either with their environment or with themselves because they cannot sort things out properly or clearly understand what is being asked of them.  It's important to remember that those with dementia should never be asked to test their memory with games to see if they remember where they are or someone's name.  This is not only cruel but also a trigger for them to become agitated.

Safety issues are also crucial to the care of an individual with dementia.  Both the home and the yard should be clean so that it is easy to move around and the risk of injuries reduced.  Adequate lighting throughout the home should be available so that individuals whose sight may be failing will be able to adequately see.

Try to avoid unnecessary mirrors in the home because they change the depth perception in the room and because as their disease progresses the individual may forget what they look like.  So, when they look in the mirror and see their own reflection they may become frightened, believing that someone else is present.

Caring for a person with dementia is difficult, but it is an important task for family members.

Home care for seniors

Covid 19  we must care for older adults’ mental health
When asked, most seniors would prefer to stay in their own homes for as long as possible without going to an assisted living center or nursing home.  While there are those people who enjoy change and would prefer to live in an assisted living facility where they have their own apartment, new friends and help when they need it, the majority would rather grow old in comfortable and familiar surroundings.

Those seniors who do go to nursing homes are not often admitted because of complex medical conditions but rather because they aren't able to take care of their personal needs on an independent basis.  But, unfortunately, many of these seniors, who are forced into this situation, become depressed and discouraged.  Many see this situation as a place to wait until death.

Loss of independence is, for many, one of their greatest fears.  Home care for seniors is a good option for those who are able to stay in their homes and in familiar surroundings to decrease the likelihood that they will become depressed.  By staying at home individuals have more choice in the time they get out of bed in the morning to the time they eat their meals.  Home care is often more cost-effective than care in a nursing home as well.

There are many different types of services that are available for seniors who want to live at home.  The first is homemaker services that can include help with cooking or light cleaning as well as doing the individual's laundry, grocery shopping and some other light household chores.  Sometimes homemaker services are all that are really needed and take a large time-consuming burden off the shoulders of family members.

Personal care services include assistance with a variety of daily living activities such as bathing, dressing, toileting, grooming and eating.  Other seniors are able to take care of their own personal care or home care services but need a daily phone call from a buddy or a daily visitor for companionship.

Moving along the continuum of home care options is a home health care aide who will help with nursing needs, speech, occupational, physical or respiratory therapy as well as social care or psychiatric care.  Senior community centers or adult day care centers, or daily facility-based programs that meet the needs of seniors through monitoring or companionship during the day.

Another option for senior in-home care is a respite care.  Often times the care of an adult senior falls on the shoulders of their family members.  Sometimes this care is time-consuming, physically taxing and emotionally challenging.  Respite care workers are trained volunteers or paraprofessionals who stay with your loved one and take over your caregiving role for several hours or several days that gives a reprieve to the caregiver.  These reprieves are important for the caregiver's own mental health.

Some seniors require more consistent and intensive care and are best suited by live-in help.  This type of care is important when family members live a long distance away or when the primary caregiver cannot be there in person.  Room and board and an additional salary is often provided in exchange for a meal preparation, light housekeeping and other non medical services.

It is currently estimated that there are approximately 22 million Americans who are providing care for an elderly or aging parent.  After a lifetime of performing their own everyday personal care activities the progressive inability of senior adults to continue to care for themselves can be devastating.
Seniors may require home health care enough they are unable to bathe or shower on their own, wash their hair or brush their teeth, if they are unable to dress themselves in the morning or undress at night, if they cannot move around on their own or drive themselves to the doctor or the grocery store.

Homemaker services may be necessary if an aging parent is unable to do their own light housekeeping, wash the dishes, clean their bathrooms, do laundry ironing or change the linens or prepare meals and cleanup afterwards.

Even as family members are able to provide the majority of care for their aging parents it is important to have a backup services in line in case of a medical emergency for the family or if other commitments take a short time away from caring for their family members.

In-home senior healthcare has been a blessing to many families.  It enables them to keep their aging relatives home and happy while being cost-effective at the same time.

Senior Home Care:
Information About Getting Support to Continue Living at Home

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Senior home care is helpful for aging individuals and their families. In-home care helps you or your loved one continue living at home, and it alleviates some of the stress that family caregivers often experience.

In-home caregivers work to protect your or your family member's independence, dignity, and quality of life while providing safe, comfortable, and compassionate care. And that's important. After all, 90 percent of people over the age of 65 have reported that they want to stay home as long as possible.

Home care providers can offer everything from basic personal care to hospice support. They can even provide assistance to help manage chronic conditions, illnesses, and diseases. You can get short-term recovery or rehabilitative care or ongoing long-term care. Additionally, home care agencies frequently offer respite services so that family caregivers are able to take breaks once in a while, such as on weekends or holidays. Support can be provided for a few hours a week or up to 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It's all based on a client's needs.

Both non-medical and medical home care may be available in your community. So it's important to understand some of the common terminology. For example, home care agencies usually only offer non-medical services. They focus on helping with daily living activities and offering companionship. On the other hand, home healthcare agencies provide medical services in addition to personal care. An entire team of medical professionals may coordinate those services, which can range from basic to skilled nursing care.

In addition to helping seniors stay home longer and providing relief for family caregivers, home care professionals can also help reduce overall healthcare costs. That's because seniors who receive in-home care often have fewer trips to the doctor or hospital. So, as you can see, home care is beneficial in many different ways.

What do you need to know about Senior Health

As we all progresses in age, we retreat in health or fitness.
Though senior citizens are counseled to stay fit, it is barely the case. Numerous natural transformations occur in the body as it moves towards fragility. For instance, the bones and muscles lose their potential reducing the stamina of the body, the kidneys and other internal organs start malfunctioning and the vigor of the skin recedes.

But the fact is that health is wealth at every stage of life. It is more crucial when we enter into the senior citizens category!
As we ourselves grow older or as we care for the elderly we should concentrate on diet and fitness as much as possible.

Diet and Exercise- the diet of individual varies along with other factors. But as we age, we should be extra careful in matters of eating. This is because the antibodies or the immune system receives a setback as we age and one becomes more prone to all sorts of illnesses. Diet therefore should be thriving in vitamins, minerals, proteins and carbohydrates.

Avoid Unhealthy fats
There are two main types of potentially harmful dietary fats:
  • Saturated fat. This type of fat comes mainly from animal sources of food, such as red meat, poultry and full-fat dairy products. Saturated fats raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL or "good") cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol levels, which may increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Trans fat. This type of fat occurs naturally in some foods in small amounts. But most trans fats are made from oils through a food processing method called partial hydrogenation. These partially hydrogenated trans fats can increase total blood cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, but lower HDL cholesterol. This can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Most fats that have a high percentage of saturated fat or that contain trans fat are solid at room temperature. Because of this, they're typically referred to as solid fats. They include beef fat, pork fat, butter, coconut oil, shortening and stick margarine. These Fats should be strictly avoided as they make one susceptible to numerous diseases particularly heart problems.

Healthier fats
The potentially helpful types of dietary fat are primarily unsaturated fats:
  • Monounsaturated fatty acids. This type of fat is found in a variety of foods and oils. Studies show that eating foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids instead of saturated fats improves blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease and may also help decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids. This type of fat is found mostly in plant-based foods and oils. Evidence shows that eating foods rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids instead of saturated fats improves blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease and may also help decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids. One type of polyunsaturated fat is made up of mainly omega-3 fatty acids and may be especially beneficial for heart health. Omega-3, found in some types of fatty fish, appears to decrease the risk of coronary artery disease. There are plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids. However, it hasn't yet been determined whether replacements for fish oil — plant-based or krill — have the same health effects as omega-3 fatty acid from fish.
Foods made up mostly of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature, such as canola oil, olive oil, safflower oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil and corn oil.
Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel, sardines and herring. Plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids include flaxseed (ground), oils (canola, flaxseed, soybean), and nuts and other seeds (walnuts, butternuts and chia seeds).

There must also be an extra intake of calcium to support the diluting bones.

A rich diet is not enough.

Some exercises should be a part of daily routine as we age.
Exercise has countless benefits for those of all ages, including a healthier heart, stronger bones and improved flexibility. For seniors, there are additional benefits, like the fact that regular exercise reduces the risk of chronic diseases, lowers the chance of injury and can even improve one's mood.

Starting or maintaining a regular exercise routine can be a challenge at any age—and it doesn’t get any easier as we get older. Some may feel discouraged by health problems, aches and pains, or concerns about injuries or falls. If they have never exercised before, they may not know where to begin, or perhaps think they're too old or frail, and can never live up to the standards of when they were younger.
While these may seem like good reasons to slow down and take it easy as you age, they’re even better reasons to get moving.

Becoming more active can energize mood, relieve stress, help  manage symptoms of illness and pain, and improve overall sense of well-being.
And reaping the rewards of exercise doesn’t have to involve strenuous workouts or trips to a gym. The benefits from gained by adding more movement and activity to our life, even in small ways, no matter our age or physical condition, it’s never too late to get moving, boost your health and outlook, and improve how you age.

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