Tai Chi for the Elderly

Two of the challenges family caregivers face are how to keep their loved one safe and how to make sure they fit in those 30 minutes of daily exercise. The two are inexorably connected. When a loved one is strong and has maintained their balance, a fall is much less likely to occur. One of the increasingly popular exercises that accomplishes strength, flexibility and balance is Tai Chi.

Homecare Brooklyn NY - Tai Chi for the Elderly

Homecare Brooklyn NY
– Tai Chi for the Elderly

What is Tai Chi?

Tai Chi is an ancient form of a Chinese martial art that originated over 3,000 years ago. It is slow deliberate repetitive movements that look simple in nature. But these movements that flow one into the other require balance, stamina and strength—all of which develop as one progresses through the various movements. It requires focused concentration and mindful awareness, two attributes that not only contribute to good health, but also a sound mind.

Benefits for the Elderly

According to an article in Harvard Health Publications, Tai Chi is equivalent to a brisk walk and weight training. It reduces falls in seniors by up to 45 percent. It strengthens bones and muscles, improves cardiovascular health and emotional well-being. In fact, researchers found seniors who practice Tai Chi were less likely to develop high blood pressure.

How to Incorporate

Tai Chi has grown so popular among seniors that classes are often offered at the local senior community center or the YMCA. Several evidence-based fall programs incorporate Tai Chi as the core of their program.

  • Tai Chi for Arthritis—According to the National Council on Aging, Tai Chi for Arthritis “helps people with arthritis to improve all muscular strength, flexibility, balance, stamina and more.” They believe that Tai Chi is one of the most effective exercises for preventing falls.
  • Tai Ji Quan: Moving Better for Balance—This is also based on Tai Chi and involves two one-hour sessions given for 24 weeks.
  • YMCA Moving for Better Balance—This 12-week, instructor-led group program teaches eight Tai Chi movements that have been modified for fall prevention. You do not need to be a member to take part in this class.

To find a class near your parent, contact the National Council on Aging or your parent’s local Area Agency on Aging.

If your loved one is uncomfortable performing exercise in a class setting, there are numerous DVDs available. YouTube also offers several recorded sessions. This is a great way to spend quality time with your parent while both of you are enjoying strengthening the body and relaxing the mind.

Homecare Provider

If your loved one requires assistance with the daily tasks of life, consider obtaining the services of an elder homecare provider. They can also help your loved one stay strong in body and mind by accompanying them on walks, providing transportation to classes, preparing healthy meals and providing companionship.

Resources:  https://taichiforhealthinstitute.org/history-of-tai-chi-2/

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/try-tai-chi-to-improve-balance-avoid-falls-201208235198

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/elder/9187133/Tai-Chi-named-as-perfect-exercise-for-the-elderly.html

If you or an aging loved one are considering Homecare Services in Long Island NY, please contact the caring staff at Gentle Hands Home Care.

Could Homecare be a Solution to Your Dad’s Needs

From what you see in and around your dad’s home, you know he needs help. You suggest downsizing to a smaller, more manageable, home, but he refused. You mention independent or assisted living, and he blames you for trying to take away his freedom. You ask about having a caregiver to help out a few times a week. He also hesitates thinking a caregiver means having a babysitter or someone to boss him around.

Homecare Long Island NY - Could Homecare be a Solution to Your Dad's Needs

Homecare Long Island NY – Could Homecare be a Solution to Your Dad’s Needs

Discuss a Trial Run

Rather than ask your dad about hiring a caregiver, ask him if he’d be willing to try it for a month. If he hates it, you can then readdress it after the month is up. Knowing it’s not a permanent thing may be enough to get him to agree.

During that month, he’ll soon see that a caregiver is not the boss or babysitter he feared. He’ll gain a companion. He’ll have a friend to eat meals with and an assistant for bothersome chores like laundry and shopping.

Helping Your Dad With the Adjustment

As your dad gets to know his caregiver, you’ll need to offer support. He may feel you’re hiring a caregiver because he’s become a burden to you. Make sure you emphasize that by having homecare available, it frees up time to spend quality time together doing things you both love. Explain that with a caregiver helping with housework and meal preparation, you have more time to do things like take him to a brewery or ball game.

Is the hesitance at allowing a caregiver in the home related to fear of a stranger? Let your dad have a say in the caregivers who come into the home. When you’re talking to a homecare agency, bring your dad along. Let him ask questions, meet potential caregivers, and give his input.

For the first week or two, make sure you stop in and ask your dad how things are going. Talk to the caregiver and address any concerns. If there are concerns on either end, discuss them rationally. It may simply be a case of one caregiver not being the best match. If that’s the case, you may need to try someone else. It can take a few attempts to find a caregiver who clicks with your dad. If you remain active in your dad’s care, he’ll see he’s not being abandoned.

Are you ready to learn more about the duties caregivers can help your dad with? Call a senior homecare agency today to arrange a trial run with the caregivers in your dad’s area.

If you or an aging loved one are considering Homecare Services in Long Island NY, please contact the caring staff at Gentle Hands Home Care.

Four Things You Need to Know Before You Become a Family Caregiver

Many family caregivers look back and find themselves regretting certain things. If you’re considering becoming a family caregiver to your elder mom or dad, make sure you know these four things before you start.

Elder Care Manhattan NY - Four Things You Need to Know Before You Become a Family Caregiver

Elder Care Manhattan NY – Four Things You Need to Know Before You Become a Family Caregiver

#1 – Family Caregiving is Often a Thankless Job

As your elder parent’s abilities diminish, there will be frustration, anger, and sadness. You’ll often be the target of the frustration, so you may find your parent yelling at you, refusing to do what you ask, and even slapping or hitting you when you try to step in to assist. You might find it’s like dealing with a toddler all over again. Even after a task is complete, you may never hear the words “thank you” from your mom or dad.

#2 – Local Resources May Not Seem Easy to Locate

You have no idea how to get started. You feel alone and need guidance, but when you call one elder care number, you’re told they don’t help with something specific like Alzheimer’s. They give you a different number, and you feel like you’re just being pushed from one place to the next. When you finally get information sent to you, none of it is any different to the stuff you’ve found online.

You need an advocate in care. Start by talking to your mom or dad’s doctor. This is often the best way to get questions answered and advice on who to call next. Whether you’re sent to talk to a social worker for the elderly or an elder care agency, it’s helpful to have a starting point.

#3 – Get Into a Support Group

You’ll want to be in a support group. Whether you join an online group via a social media site like Facebook or a local group, support is essential. Check with local senior centers. Many have listings or posters for area support groups. Your public library and area churches can also help. The earlier you attend meetings, the easier your transition to that of a family caregiver.

#4 – Schedule Respite Care

You won’t be able to do it alone. In a report from the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, almost 4 out of 10 family caregivers said they felt incredibly stressed. You need to put yourself first. Call an elder care agency today to arrange the services of a home care professional. With an elder care agency sending someone a few hours a week, you’ll be able to reduce stress by having time and freedom to take a break.

Sources:  http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/06/prweb12765231.htm

If you or an aging loved one are considering Elder Care Services in Manhattan NY, please contact the caring staff at Gentle Hands Home Care.

Make Sure You Don’t Make These Long-Distance Caregiver Mistakes

When you’re miles away from your aging parent, you may find it extremely hard to remain active with home care needs. You’re not physically there to see how things are going. Here are some mistakes you should avoid making.

Home Care Services Hicksville NY - Make Sure You Don't Make These Long-Distance Caregiver Mistakes

Home Care Services Hicksville NY – Make Sure You Don’t Make These Long-Distance Caregiver Mistakes

Don’t Feel Like You Should Schedule Visits

You know you’ll be in your mom or dad’s state in a month’s time. You’re tempted to call in advance and give everyone a head’s up that you’re coming. If you plan to stay at your parent’s house, advance notice is important. If you can stay in a hotel or don’t mind getting your own room ready at your family home, make a surprise visit. You’ll get a good idea of how daily care is going when you show up unexpectedly.

Don’t Skip Checking in With the Caregiver

Check in every day and see how things went. You’ll also want to talk to your parent to see how they feel the day went. You’ll want to remain updated on any appointments, unusual behaviors, or problems within the home, such as a leaking pipe.

Don’t Leave Your Parent Out of the Conversation

If you’re paying your mom or dad’s bills, make sure you’re letting them know that you’ve made a payment. Keep them involved. This prevents them from feeling like they’re being left out or managed. Your parent wants to be actively involved in activities of daily living, so you need to get his or her input. Ask for advice before changing insurance plans, paying extra on a loan, or switching to a less expensive trash hauler.

Don’t Miss Asking the Doctor for Updates

If you’re not on the list of people doctors can share medical information with, you need to be. Your parent may say an appointment went great, but the doctor may have actually mentioned a concern with blood pressure or diet. A test, such as bone density or a colon cancer screening, may have been recommended, and your parent may have refused. It’s important you get updates from the doctor. If you find something is amiss, you can step in and talk to your parent about medical issues.

A caregiver is vital when you live miles away from an aging parent. A home care services agency can send someone out at the desired intervals to help with everything from meals to transportation. Plus, your parent gains a friend in the process. Call a home care services agency today to learn more about the services they provide.

If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Services in Hicksville NY, please contact the caring staff at Gentle Hands Home Care.

Have You Seen Your Dad’s Feet Recently?

When was the last time your saw your dad’s feet? It’s not something you likely even think to check, especially if he’s not a diabetic needing careful foot care. For one family, they learned the truth when it was too late.

Home Health Care Little Neck NY - Have You Seen Your Dad's Feet Recently?

Home Health Care Little Neck NY – Have You Seen Your Dad’s Feet Recently?

In their case, their dad had broken his ankle slipping on icy steps. When he limped around the house, they assumed it was related to his ankle, which he admitted felt stiff and sore when it was cold and rainy or snowy. They never thought more of this, and that’s where things went wrong.

Improper Foot Care Prevented Mobility

For months their dad would limp and rarely walked around. If they went out, he could walk for a few minutes and then needed to sit and take a break. It impacted his ability to get exercise and do things as simple as go shopping in a store.

Eventually, he reached a point where he didn’t walk his dog. He preferred to have Chinese or pizza delivered to his house so that he didn’t have to stand and cook or attempt a trip to a grocery store. As mobility decreased, his health took a toll.

What the Family Found When Their Dad Was Hospitalized

After falling and hitting his head and injuring his shoulder, the family took him to the ER. There, doctors showed them what was causing their dad’s mobility issues, and they were shocked that it had nothing to do with his ankle. His toenails were so long they were curling into the sides of his other toes. He had cuts in the skin from the sharp toenails. It was clear he hadn’t trimmed his toenails in months or possibly years.

How Nails Change as Your Dad Ages

As you age, your toenails change. The nails can become thicker and harder to trim. The nails may appear more yellow. They can develop more pronounced ridges and split easily leading to very sharp edges. Fungal and bacterial infections may appear and need medical treatment.

It’s so important to have your elderly dad go to a podiatrist. The podiatrist can properly trim the nails to prevent issues. If you can’t leave work to take your dad to appointments, call a home health care service to discuss having a caregiver available for safe transportation. In addition, a home health care service can help your dad with mobility and grooming. Call today to learn more.

If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Health Care Services in Little Neck NY, please contact the caring staff at Gentle Hands Home Care.

The Challenges Associated with Caregiving

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”—Leo Buscaglia, author.

Senior Care Nassau County NY - The Challenges Associated with Caregiving

Senior Care Nassau County NY – The Challenges Associated with Caregiving

You, as the family caregiver, undoubtedly know the power that Leo Buscaglia is referring to. Your daily life is filled with those small yet powerful moments when you make your senior parent’s life better and more enjoyable on a daily basis. In the act of giving, you may not notice the subtle signs that warn you that your own mental, emotional or physical health may be on the decline.

Here are some important clues to be aware of and the action to take when you notice these subtle changes creeping in.

Exhaustion

Problem: Exhaustion has a sneaky way of invading one’s life. It begins as a tired feeling when you wake up in the morning and concludes with the inability to remain alert throughout the day. It often leads to binge eating and drinking of caffeine at about 3 p.m. when energy levels are at their lowest, creating a vicious cycle that leads to lack of quality sleep and fatigue during the daytime.

Solution: Replace caffeine with natural energy boosters and be sure to make getting a good night’s sleep one of your top priorities. Natural energy boosters include green tea, fruit and nuts. It may take some time for your body to adjust to the steady flow of energy as compared to the quick thrust and following downward spiral that follows the intake of sugar and caffeine, but it will be well worth the transitional period.

To ensure a good night’s sleep, create a bedtime ritual that involves progressive relaxation. This may include a warm bath filled with a cup of sea salt and a few drops of your favorite essential oil, relaxing music, a good book and a cup of herbal tea. This is a great ritual to incorporate into your senior parent’s life as well. Avoid any stimulants late in the day, as well as alcohol. A daily exercise regime, even if only for 30 minutes, does wonders for a good night’s sleep.

Overwhelmed

Problem: Too much to do and too little time to do it in is a common concern among caregivers. Add to that the everyday needs and tasks involved in your nuclear family and it’s no wonder that 55 percent of caregivers report feeling overwhelmed.

Solution: Prioritize and time management are your two best friends when it comes to feeling in control of the daily tasks that need to be completed. Make a list and check it twice. This list includes the daily tasks and who is to fulfill them. If the only person on this list is you, it’s time to make a new one.

Reach out to family, friends, community members and your parent’s neighbors. You’ll be surprised at how many people are happy to lend a hand. They may not have a whole day to offer, but they are more than happy to provide transportation, a shared meal or complete your parent’s grocery shopping at the same time they are doing their own.

A senior care provider can assist with the daily tasks as well as provide transportation, run errands and accompany your parent on social outings, making sure they stay engaged while you take the time to recharge and refresh.

Resources:  http://theemployeeassistanceprogram.com/wp/2014/06/22/fifty-five-percent-of-caregivers-feel-overwhelmed/

If you or an aging loved one are considering Senior Care Services in Nassau County NY, please contact the caring staff at Gentle Hands Home Care.

The Sneak Thief of Sight

Her vision was fine. In fact, she often bragged about the fact that she’d missed the late-forty reading eyeglass prescription so many of her peers endured. Nevertheless, her daughter kept pestering her about making an appointment with her eye doctor. But really, with all the other physical ailments she was concerned with—the arthritis creeping into her fingers and back and the diabetes that had taken her favorite snacks away, who had time?

Home Care Massapequa NY - The Sneak Thief of Sight

Home Care Massapequa NY – The Sneak Thief of Sight

Five years later, she almost hit a pedestrian walking across the street. She wasn’t even aware of him until he banged on her window. This time, she heeded her daughter’s strong suggestion that she go see an ophthalmologist. Two days later she was sitting in his office after completing a comprehensive eye exam when he told her she had glaucoma, and that it had already taken part of her peripheral vision away and would eventually steal the rest of her sight unless she started immediate treatment.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is often referred to as the “sneak thief of sight.” There are few early warning signs and, once noticed, significant vision loss has occurred and is irreversible. Treatment consists of eye drops, pills, laser surgery, or traditional surgery. The aim is to control the pressure build-up in the eyes, which is putting pressure on and damaging the optic nerve. Surgery is usually a last option if medications are not keeping the eye pressure in check. There are several recent advancements in surgical techniques that are proving promising including the trabectome and canaloplasty. The Glaucoma Foundation is an excellent source of information for any new treatments on the horizon.

Diet and Exercise

While medical treatment is vital in order to limit further damage to the eye and loss of vision, there are some lifestyle approaches your parent can take to help the cause. A diet high in anti-oxidant rich fruits and vegetables is recommended, particularly those with carotenoids such as orange and yellow peppers. Blueberries and cherries are good for the eyes as well as wild-caught salmon, high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Specific supplements that Dr. Axe recommends are bilberry, astaxanthin, fish oil, CoQ10 and magnesium. As supplements can interact with prescription medicine, it is always best to check with your parent’s primary health care provider before adding supplements to their diet.

Exercise improves the circulation and tends to lower the intraocular pressure. Aerobic exercise, in particular, has been shown to be beneficial. Aim for 30 minutes of brisk walking or other type of exercise such as stationary bicycling most days of the week.

Home Care Provider

If your loved one needs assistance with the everyday activities of living, consider obtaining the services of a senior home care provider. In addition to daily tasks, they can provide transportation, accompany your parent on daily walks, and prepare eye-healthy meals that are then shared and enjoyed together.

Resources:  https://www.glaucomafoundation.org/treating_glaucoma.htm
https://draxe.com/glaucoma-natural-treatment-prevention/

If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Services in Massapequa NY, please contact the caring staff at Gentle Hands Home Care.

Keep Yourself Healthy While Caregiving

Too many caregivers find themselves feeling sick and run down the longer that they’re on their caregiving journey. If that’s the case for you, there may be some changes you need to make to get a little bit healthier.

Home Care Services Jamaica NY - Keep Yourself Healthy While Caregiving

Home Care Services Jamaica NY – Keep Yourself Healthy While Caregiving

Eat Well and Regularly

Busy caregivers often fall back on some poor eating habits because they’re trying to just keep going. If that describes you, it’s time to switch things up. Start doing meal prep weekly with whole fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. The more convenient the healthy food options are to grab and to eat on the run, the more likely you’ll be to reach for those than for something less healthy.

Exercise as Often as Possible

Exercise works your muscles and it gets your blood flowing. It also helps you to sleep better at night, which can be a tremendous help when you’re a busy caregiver. You’ll also start to find that you’re gradually experiencing much more energy as you stick with your exercise plan. Find activities that you enjoy so you’ll stick with them.

Protect Your Emotional Health

Isolating yourself isn’t healthy for you and it doesn’t leave you in a good position to be an effective caregiver. Reach out to friends and family with whom you’re close. Even if you’re sending text messages when you have a chance, that’s a start. You might also want to consider joining a support group in order to meet other caregivers who understand what you’re going through.

Make Your Own Doctor Appointments

It’s probably no big deal anymore to make appointments with your elderly loved one’s doctor and to take her to them, but when is the last time you went to your own doctor? If you’re trying to keep yourself healthier as a family caregiver, you need to make it a point to talk with your own doctor about your health.

Take Time for Just You

Everyone needs to take time away, including family caregivers. You can’t keep going without allowing yourself to have down time. Schedule it in and keep those appointments with yourself. If you need someone to stay with your loved one while you take time to rest, consider hiring home care services providers. You can schedule them for regular intervals, ensuring that you take the time that you need.

Focus on caring for yourself and it will start to fit seamlessly in with your caregiving responsibilities.

If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Services in Jamaica NY, please contact the caring staff at Gentle Hands Home Care.

How Can Homecare Help Seniors with Asthma?

If you are the family caregiver for an aging loved one, you might be considering hiring some help. Homecare aides can be a blessing for a home with an aging senior, because they can help with many of the daily tasks that your loved one struggles with. They can help with getting dressed, bathing, using the restroom, and reminding your loved one to take their medications on time.

Homecare Bronx NY - How Can Homecare Help Seniors with Asthma?

Homecare Bronx NY –
How Can Homecare Help Seniors with Asthma?

What you might not know, though, is that homecare aides can be of more specific help as well. In addition to general care and assistance, they are also trained to help seniors suffering with chronic illnesses, such as asthma. While homecare aides are not certified to administer any medication on their own, they are capable of reminding your senior to take their medicines on time, and of helping with many other things.

Here are just a few ways that a homecare professional can assist your asthmatic loved one:

Reminding them to take medications – As mentioned above, one of the most important ways that a homecare aide can help a senior with asthma is to remind them to take any asthma medications they have been prescribed. These medications may be vital for your loved one, and having someone there to help them to remember to take them can be a great way to keep them in better health.

Retrieving medications in an emergency – Oftentimes, one does not know they are going to have an asthma attack before they have one. If a senior is in the middle of an asthma attack, they may be incapable of moving through the house to go retrieve their inhaler. Their homecare aide, however, can act fast, and can get them the inhaler quickly, so that they can end the attack and recover more quickly.

Assisting with exercise – Even if a senior has asthma, it is important that they still do a fair amount of physical exercise to keep their body healthy. You can research the best ways for your loved one to get regular exercise, and your loved one’s homecare aide can monitor and assist them while they work out.

Household help – If simple things make it hard to breathe, chances are, you wouldn’t want to waste your breath cleaning your house, right? Homecare aides can help with tidying things up, allowing your loved one to rest and save their breath. They can also help with cooking and other household tasks that may be difficult for your loved one to do with asthma.

Hiring a homecare aide can be a great idea for someone with asthma. With the help of a professional, your loved one may even be able to live on their own! A homecare aide can help them with nearly anything they need help with, and this will give you more peace of mind, since you know that someone is looking out for them, and helping them to live a more comfortable, relaxed life.

If you or an aging loved one are considering Homecare Services in Bronx NY, please contact the caring staff at Gentle Hands Home Care.

How Can You Help Your Loved One Stay Emotionally Healthy?

Your loved one has a variety of different needs that you’ll help her to meet during your caregiving journey. One that is very important is helping her to keep her emotional health and well-being positive. There are a lot of different aspects that feed into emotional health, so you’ll need to look at a variety of possible solutions.

Home Health Care Brooklyn NY - How Can You Help Your Loved One Stay Emotionally Healthy?

Home Health Care Brooklyn NY – How Can You Help Your Loved One Stay Emotionally Healthy?

Talk to Her Doctor

Your loved one’s doctor can help you to spot potential issues that can contribute to poor emotional health for your loved one. for instance, medication side effects or even vitamin deficiencies can be a potential issue. Working with your loved one’s doctor helps you to get to the root of potential causes much more quickly.

Get Some Exercise In

While you’re at her doctor’s office, make sure that it’s safe for her to start an exercise plan. If your loved one is cleared for physical activity, start finding ways to exercise with your loved one. This can be as simple as taking a walk together in the morning before the weather warms up or doing some stretches together before bed.

Make Some Plans

Often people can become sadder than they anticipate if they don’t have something to look forward to. If your loved one’s schedule consists mostly of doctor’s appointments and other obligations that aren’t very enjoyable, it’s time to add some other activities in there. Start scheduling events that your loved one might be able to look forward to and know that they will be enjoyable.

Help Her to Avoid Isolation 

If your loved one isn’t being as social as she used to be, that can take a toll on her emotional health. Start lining up some visits with friends, family members, and neighbors so that your loved one has some company. That’s not always possible, of course, and your loved one might need more company than that. That’s when hiring elderly home health care providers can come in handy to keep your loved one occupied and interested each day.

Your loved one’s emotional health may ebb and flow depending on what she’s going through at any given time. Try to be understanding of any particularly difficult issues or times of year for her.

If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Health Care Services in Brooklyn NY, please contact the caring staff at Gentle Hands Home Care.