The Relationship Between Music and Memory

We’re all familiar with the feeling of nostalgia that washes over us when a song comes on the radio and triggers a landslide of memories of a specific place, person, or experience. Our senses are closely tied to our memories, and for elders experiencing memory loss or dementia, this connection can be life changing. At Options in Home Care, our primary goal is to create a safe, comfortable living situation for your elderly or disabled loved ones. We employ a number of techniques and approaches to helping elderly or disabled people live their best lives and are encouraged by the positive results we find when patients are exposed to music and the positive impact that has on their memories.

Many memory illnesses, including Alzheimer’s and many forms of dementia, destroy many parts of the brain. However, long-term memories can remain untouched by these illnesses for a long time. Long term memory of music from earlier stages of life very often remain, and by tapping into that, many caretakers of elderly persons experiencing major memory loss witness an awakening and euphoric response from those in their care.

Social worker Dan Cohen, seen in the documentary Alive Inside, cares for elderly people and creates personalized playlists for them in their care facilities. He does this in hopes of helping these memory-loss patients reconnect with music that they once loved, and potentially the associated memories. Cohen has witnessed patients answer questions and talk about their youth after listening to familiar music, attributing the re-emergence of these memories to the music.

Cohen’s goal is to change the standard of care at nursing facilities to include personalized music for the patients. After putting a couple hundred iPods in four facilities in New York, he saw a major increase in storytelling, communication and socialization amongst patients. People began sharing their songs with each other, inquiring about artists and related music, and creating an interwoven community of music lovers relishing in the past while enjoying the present. Cohen acknowledges that not all care facilities have the staff required or otherwise means to provide such personalized care, but the rate at which technology is progressing and becoming more accessible has driven the cost of such an endeavor down while driving the accessibility up.

The relationship between music and memory is not one that is highly disputed. Not only have all non-medical professionals experienced the sensation of music-triggered memories, but caretakers like Cohen see it firsthand in those he cares for on a daily basis. He witnessed the joy, the progress, and the excitement music triggered in his patients, and bringing that to more elderly people who suffer from memory loss and related illnesses is a small step that can yield major results.

In-Home Caregivers in Los Angeles

At Options in Home Care, we take pride in being the premier in-home caregivers in Los Angeles. We make it possible for seniors and the disabled with any health condition to continue living independently and comfortably in their own home, because a nursing home is not the only option. If someone you love is suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s, or another memory loss illness, we at Options in Home Care are excited to include music in our arsenal of helpful, results-producing techniques to help elderly or disabled people in our care get the most out of their lives.

Understanding Elderly Dementia

Understanding

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Dementia is not a specific disease. It’s an overall term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities.”

Experts also warn that oftentimes dementia is incorrectly referred to as “senility,” especially with older patients. This is a widespread belief but is not correct as serious mental decline is not a normal part of aging. People suffering from dementia could experience problems with short-term memory, keeping track of things (like keys, a wallet, or if they paid their bills or prepared dinner), remembering appointments or may even wander out of the neighborhood or another familiar place. For more information about elderly care and home service for the elderly, visit Options In-Home Care today.

Caring for Someone with Dementia

Caring for a loved one who suffers from dementia can be a long and exhausting road. The Family Caregiver Alliance National Center on Caregiving offers a great guide to understanding dementia behavior associated with elderly individuals. Caring for an ill loved one is difficult under any circumstances but when that person has difficulty remembering, communicating, and thinking clearly, it gets even more difficult.

The experts at the Center of Caregiving recommend that improving your communication skills will help make the caregiving process less stressful and can improve the quality of your relationship with your loved one. It’s not an effortless process to learn how to communicate with a family member suffering from dementia, but there are some tips to help smooth the way.

  1. Positivity is key. It’s important to set a positive mood with your attitude and body language. Use facial expressions, tone of voice and physical touch to help communicate your message of love and understanding.
  2. Get their attention. Before even trying to speak, limit the distractions in their surroundings and make sure you have their full attention. Speak to your loved one by name and make sure you are communicating at eye level.
  3. Be clear. Don’t make things more complicated than they need to be. Communicate clearly with simple words and sentences and speak slowly and try not to raise your voice.
  4. Keep it simple. Ask just one question at a time and try to keep it at “yes” or “no” answers. Don’t’ ask too many questions at once or open-ended questions.
  5. Listen carefully. Be patient and watch for nonverbal cues and body language.
  6. Break things down. Tasks become easier when you break things up into steps they can follow. Provide gentle reminders when necessary.
  7. Distract and redirect. It’s common for those suffering from dementia to become agitated and upset so try to change the subject or the environment when this happens.
  8. Respond appropriately. Dementia sufferers often feel confused and anxious so make sure you are responding with love, affection and reassurance.
  9. Remember the past. Reminiscing can be soothing and affirming so don’t be afraid to remember events from years past.
  10. Keep your sense of humor intact. Laughter really can be the best medicine so don’t be afraid to laugh with your loved one, just never at their expense.

 

If you are caring for an elderly loved one who is suffering from dementia, there are some additional resources that could be helpful as you navigate this difficult road:

Home Care Service for the Elderly

Options In-Home Care provides home care service for the elderly. From meal preparations to daily prescription reminders, the caregivers of Options In-Home Care ensure that the elderly are well taken care of at home.

In-home caregivers help the elderly remain independent while providing assistance whenever needed. Get in touch today with one of our certified nursing assistants.

Clever Ways to Remember Your Medications

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When was the last time that you’ve taken your pill? If you can’t remember, there’s a chance that you’ve missed more than one dose or have done the opposite, which is double dosing.

Medicines are most effective when they are taken at the same time each day, as specified by your doctor. But it’s hard to keep track of your doses especially when you’re prescribed multiple medications that you need to take at different times. For more information about elderly care and home service for the elderly, visit Options In-Home Care today.

To get the most out of your meds, you need to set up simple reminders that let you know when to take your medicines.

Use a calendar

It’s so simple, yet it’s also very effective. Mark your calendar or notebook with your daily doses and update it as you go. This way, you won’t forget the last time that you took your pill.

If you are a cellphone user, you can use its calendar feature or download an app like Round and Pill Reminder to alert you when it’s time to take your next dose.

Use an automatic pill dispenser

Sometimes, a regular pillbox is not enough for the job. An automatic pill dispenser, on the other, has an alarm that sounds off when you need to take your medication.

If you’re outside and need a reminder, a pocket pillbox with alarm can help you remember. Slip it in your pocket and wait for the alarm to indicate when your next dose will be.

Alternatively, a reminder watch can help you take the guesswork out of taking medications. It looks like a regular sports watch but can be programmed to have different alarms that automatically reset the next day.

Flip the pill bottles over

If you have medicines that you need to take night and day, you can flip the bottles once you are done taking your dose.

Flip the bottle cap down when you take your pills in the morning, and flip it back with the right side up when you take another dose in the evening.

This is an easy way to remember your medications when you need to take them only twice a day. Keep your bottles in a secure place where they can’t be knocked out of place.

Put them on an easy-to-see spot

Out of sight, out of mind? Not when you put your medicines where you can easily see them. Whether it’s on the kitchen counter, by the fridge, or on your bedside table, keeping your pills within arm’s reach will help jog your memory.

Make sure, though, to keep them away from young children’s reach. If your medicine needs to be refrigerated, put a Post-It note on the fridge to remind you to take out the medicine.
Tie your medication with another activity

The association helps you remember when to take your next dose. Whether it’s before you shower or after you brush your teeth, incorporating medicine intake with your routines makes it easier for you to remember your dose schedule.

If all else fails, ask for help

Despite all the reminders, we sometimes still forget when to take our medications. Ask a family member to remind you when to take your medicine.

If you live alone, a relative could call or send you a message to let you know that you need to take your next dose. Alternatively, you can ask your caregiver to inform you when your next dose is due.

Home Care Service for the Elderly

Options In-Home Care provides home care service for the elderly. From meal preparations to daily prescription reminders, the caregivers of Options In-Home Care ensure that the elderly are well taken care of at home.

In-home caregivers help the elderly remain independent while providing assistance whenever needed. Get in touch today with one of our certified nursing assistants.

Keeping Your Eyes Healthy After 60

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Your eyes are the gift of sight and taking care of them should be of utmost importance. Whether you have perfect vision or not, there are plenty of tips to protect your eye health to help maintain your quality of life and reduce risk of vision loss that comes with age.

Small preventative measures, like sun protection, diet and exercise can help protect your eyesight and prevent vision problems later in life. Here is a list of seven eye care tips that will help you protect your eyes and your vision for years to come.

For more information on elderly health and details about the top in-home caregiver in Los Angeles, reach out to Options In-Home Care.

Get Annual Dilated Eye Exams

It’s important to get regular checkups to catch any eye problems such as glaucoma or diabetic eye disease. It is recommended for patients over age 60 to have yearly dilated eye exams. During this exam, your eye doctor will put drops in your eyes that will widen your pupils so he or she can examine the back of each eye.

This technique is used to find some common eye diseases that have no early signs or symptoms. During this exam, you should also have prescription glasses checked.

Eat for Your Eyes

Eye health starts with a good diet. Choose foods rich in antioxidants, like vitamin A and C, such as dark green leafy vegetables, fish, nuts and dark-colored berries. Foods high in Vitamin A, for example, are commonly found in bright yellow and orange vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes. Foods high in vitamin C, such as strawberries, oranges and mangoes help fight eye disease. Foods high in omega 3s, for example, salmon and other cold-water fish are good for tear production, which relieves dry eyes.

Protect Your Eyes

Remember to always wear sunglasses that shield your eyes from 100% of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays when you’re outdoors during the daytime. This may help reduce your risk of cataracts, macular degeneration and other eye disorders.

Also, a hat with a brim will reduce the amount of UV exposure slipping around the sides of your sunglasses.

Apply the 20:20:20 Rule with Electronic Use

After two hours of staring at a computer screen television screen or mobile device, you can strain your eye muscles. To help relieve this, apply the 20:20:20 rule. Rest your eyes every 20 minutes by looking 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This exercise encourages the eyes to relax the muscles inside the eye to reduce fatigue. Another exercise is to look far away at an object for 10-15 seconds then gaze at something up; close for 10 to 15 seconds. Do this 10 times. This exercise will help reduce the risk of your eyes locking up after prolonged computer or mobile use.

Don’t Smoke

The many dangers of smoking have been well documented, especially when it comes to eye health. Smoking increases your risk of oxidative stress. Smokers or people highly exposed to second hand smoke are at greater risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, uveitis and other eye problems.

For help with quitting, visit the American Lung Association’s free online program – Freedom from Smoking Online – at www.ffsonline.org.

In-Home Caregiver in Los Angeles

Our eyes are important for performing everyday activities. Reduce the risks associated to eye disorders with these essential eye care tips for your elderly loved ones b Options In-Home Care.

If you are or someone you love is transitioning into an elderly home care and are in need of an in-home caregiver in Los Angeles, contact the compassionate and certified caregivers of Options In-Home Care. today. Located in the greater Los Angeles, San Bernardino or Orange County areas of California, the caregivers of Options In-Home Care are here to assist you and your loved ones!

Transitioning to Elderly Home Care

Transitioning to Elderly Home Care

Transitioning to elderly home care typically isn’t just challenging for the senior(s), but also for the entire family as well. If you are getting used to the transition, you are not alone.

Your first few visits may be difficult. Your loved one may be angry with you or feel abandoned. You may feel guilty or overwhelmed. But be patient, allow yourself to recognize the bad days and appreciate the good ones. Both parties need time to adjust.

If you are experiencing a bumpy transition, here are some tips that can help you, your loved one(s) and your family during this time.

What to Expect

As time progresses, your senior loved ones and you will feel more at ease with the decision and transition. The change requires time to adjust, plan and understand. Emotions may be heightened within the first few days and weeks, but take some time to plan out the time after you’ve made the transition. If you need support, make adequate plans with family and friends. If you need time, be honest and let them know.

The beginning may be a bit confusing for both you and your loved one. You are both getting used to a new routine, a new schedule and a new environment. You may feel lost navigating through this transition, but staff can help you adjust.

Your loved one may make negative comments that leave you with a guilty conscience. He or she may want to go home, which you should acknowledge the desire. Instead of ignoring the situation, communicate and understand the struggle of your loved one. Sometimes their negative comments are a sign for just an ear that’ll listen and let me feel secure, offer comfort and let out a cry.

The conversation may be a process but offer your loved one room for emotions during the transition, empathize and offer comfort. If you need to release your emotions, separate it from your loved one and turn to family, friends and others in your support network.

As time progresses, when you have time, take an objective look. Step back and evaluate the weeks and months leading to date. Recognize your feelings with a rational and grounded state of mind. Then create a workable schedule for visits and phone calls, which may include others in your scheduling efforts so that your loved one has a steady flow of visitors.

How to Help Your Loved One Transition

Home is where the heart is. The transition into an elderly home care creates a foreign environment. To help your loved one feel more at home, make their new home as comfortable and personal as possible.

Some tips to help create an at-home atmosphere include:

  • Capture and recreate the same mood, texture and tone of your loved one’s former home.
  • Bring things that your loved one has made or collected.
  • Add comfort with their favorite items.
  • Add family photos or children’s homemade crafts.
  • Change up décor for the holidays.
  • Stimulate all the senses with soft fabrics, colorful artwork or scented accents.
  • Bring the outdoors indoors with fresh flowers, colorful and vibrant plants and other seasonal reminders to brighten up the room.
  • Add magazines, books and newspapers for entertainment.

In-Home Assistance

If you are or someone you love is transitioning into an elderly home care, contact the compassionate and certified caregivers of Options In-Home Care today.  Located in the greater Los Angeles, San Bernardino or Orange County areas of California, the caregivers of Options In-Home Care are here to assist you and your loved ones!

 

Secrets to Staying Sharp as You Age

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As one ages, one of the concerns that often comes up is mental capacity and the ability to process thoughts clearly.  While some of these functions are gravely affected by a number of degenerative conditions, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, the good news is that there are things that you can do at any age to help you stay sharp when you get older. If you would like to learn more about the services offered by professional elderly home care experts, Options In-Home Care is there for you.

Below are some of the best ways to staying sharp and “on your toes” as you age.

Be Active

One of the most common ways that elderly people begin to feel their age is when they become sedentary.  Sitting or lying down for hours each day can cause the muscles in your body to atrophy and weaken.  This can make even the simplest of functions each day extremely difficult.  In particular, this is one of the reasons some older folks need help walking with the aid of walkers and wheelchairs.  By staying active and incorporating some form of strength training the keep your muscles and bones strong will go a long way to helping you be able to get around.  You will be able to continue to do activities because you physically have the strength and energy to do so.  Being active also doesn’t mean exhaustive workouts at the gym.  You can do fun physical activities including dancing, bowling, bicycling, and aqua aerobics!

Socialize

By staying social, whether with your family or friends or a community of others around you, you can continue to keep your mind sharp and engaged.  You will continue to draw on memories from your life, while also discuss current events, your feelings, and what is happening to you and others.  Social interaction helps to keep you from getting sad, lonely, or depressed, which can sometimes happen as you get older.  Particularly if you lost your spouse or you are living in a nursing home, by socializing with others, you can keep your spirits up and continue to enjoy others around you.

Play “mind Games”

There are a number of games and activities that you can do that help keep your mind sharp.  It’s important to remember that your brain is a muscle and by tapping into parts of your brain on a regular basis by engaging in activities where you have to think, you will effectively help to stay sharp as you age.  Some of the “mind games” that help to do this include, but are not limited to:

  • Puzzles (including word search, crossword, Sudoku and jigsaw puzzles)
  • Board games (like Scrabble, Monopoly, and Risk)
  • Mahjong
  • Card games

And, this does not even include any computer or internet games that you can play that help you tap into your strategic skills!

Never Stop Reading

Another way to stay sharp as you age is to read books.  Keeping your reading comprehension skills up will help you to keep your mind sharp as you get older.  Reading of any kind is great, but if you can try tapping into fictional books and open up your imagination and creative side, this can be a fun way to continue to expand your mind.

Eat Your Veggies

Diet definitely plays an important part in our lives, regardless of age.  As you age, it is important to make sure that you are eating healthy and getting enough vitamins in your body.  Ideally, you would like to get enough nutrients from the foods you eat each day.  By eating your vegetables, you can get quite a bit of the vitamins needed to keep your mind sharp.  Additionally, according to the National Institute on Aging, a Mediterranean-based diet that includes fish, whole grains, legumes, and vegetables helps reduce risk of mental decline.

Start Now

Last, but certainly not least, one of the best ways to stay sharp as you age is to begin starting a number of these healthy habits noted above right now.  All too often, people begin to try to reverse the effects of not partaking in some of the habits above and, by then, it is too late.  By incorporating a healthy diet and exercise plan in your life right now, while also engaging in activities with others and tapping into your brain with a variety of activities, you can help to ensure your mental capacity as you begin to get older.

Professional Elderly Home Care

Located in the greater Los Angeles, San Bernardino or Orange County areas of California, the caregivers of Options In-Home Care are here to assist you and your loved ones as you begin to age.  If you or someone you love thinks that you may require professional elderly home care, please contact the compassionate and certified caregivers of Options In-Home Care today to learn more.

The Progression of Dementia

Dementia is sometimes believed to be a mental disorder or illness.  However, the dementia stages actually refer to a set of symptoms that develop as the result of damage to the brain from the result of other conditions, most commonly being Alzheimer’s disease and strokes.  The symptoms that someone with dementia may experience will depend on what part of the brain may be damaged.  The most common symptoms of dementia include memory loss and difficulties problem-solving, thinking or even speaking.

Unfortunately, one of the most devastating parts of learning you or a loved one has dementia is that it is both incurable and irreversible.  However, the good news is that with early detection and with the appropriate care, the progression of dementia can be slowed down.

The progression of this condition is typically categorized in seven dementia stages, with the most common scale used for showing the progression of dementia being the Reisberg Scale (also known as the Global Deterioration Scale for Assessment of Primary Degenerative Dementia or “GDS” for short).

STAGE 1 DEMENTIA: No Cognitive Decline

Stages 1 through 3 are also known as “pre-dementia stage” and typically do not show any signs of memory loss or problems with cognitive skills or movement.  Stage 1 is also classified as the “normal functioning stage”.

STAGE 2 DEMENTIA: Age Associated Memory Impairment

During Stage 2, a dementia patient may experience occasional lapses of memory, particularly with respect to forgetfulness of names of familiar people or where they placed an object.  The reason that Stage 2 is also known as “Age Associated Memory Impairment” is because these symptoms are typically seen as we get older.  However, this type of memory loss can be an early sign for detection and diagnosis.

STAGE 3 DEMENTIA: Mild Cognitive Decline

Stage 3 includes very evident signs of cognitive impairment.  This can include getting easily lost, performing poorly at work, having difficulty concentrating, losing and misplacing things, forgetting names of close friends and family, and having difficulty with reading comprehension.  This is typically the stage when people begin to experience frustration and even anxiety as these symptoms begin to affect their normal day-to-day life.

STAGE 4 DEMENTIA: Mild Dementia

Now out of the “pre-dementia” phase, individuals begin to show clearer signs of dementia, including forgetfulness and memory loss associated with recent or current events, trouble remembering their past, disorientation, as well as difficulty in managing their finances or arranging travel.  Individuals with mild dementia can also begin to show changes in their personality and mood, withdrawing from social situations in an effort to cover-up or avoid showing signs of dementia to others.  Others can even be in denial as a defense mechanism.

STAGE 5 DEMENTIA: Moderate Dementia

Patients with Stage 5 dementia typically require some assistance to manage daily life, including basic functioning such as eating or using the bathroom.  Individuals may forget major details, such as where they live or their telephone number, and can even forget what time it is or where they’re at.  It is at this stage that most family members determine that their loved one with dementia requires around-the-clock supervision and sometimes even in-home care.

STAGE 6 DEMENTIA: Moderately Severe Dementia

At Stage 6, patients begin to experience severe memory loss of very familiar people, such as their spouse, children, and primary caretakers.  They are typically extremely disoriented and can begin to show signs of delusional and obsessive behavior.  This can be a very difficult and challenging period as both those with dementia and their loved ones try to manage their emotions and feelings around what is going on.  It can be very painful to watch your loved one not recognize you or remember your name.  Patients can begin to show a great deal of agitation and even aggressive behavior and act out of character.  It’s during this stage that patients typically do require around-the-clock care, as they may wander and even experience hallucinations.

STAGE 7 DEMENTIA: Severe Dementia

Once a patient has reached Stage 7, in addition to the symptoms above, it is as if the patient’s brain loses connection with the body.  They will progressively lose motor skills and the ability to speak.

In-Home Assistance

If you are or someone you love has been diagnosed with dementia and requires additional in-home assistance or have questions about the different dementia stages, contact the compassionate and certified caregivers of Options In-Home Care today.  Located in the greater Los Angeles, San Bernardino or Orange County areas of California, the caregivers of Options In-Home Care are here to assist you and your loved ones!

Taking Care of Someone with Incontinence

Incontinence can be a very difficult topic for many families. It’s especially uncomfortable on those that experience it and those that have to care for someone with incontinence. For those that care for someone who is either ill or elderly, it can become one of the final, last straws for what they may be willing to do in the process of caring for someone.  It is uncomfortable for all involved, so it is helpful to understand how to best to care for someone with incontinence.

Be Empathetic

It is really important as a caregiver that you understand what someone with incontinence is feeling about the experience they are going through.  Feeling as though you have no control of your bladder (or even your bowel movements) and having to even consider the use of products to help manage this issue can be very stressful and overwhelming.

Feelings of denial, anger, and even depression are common.  It can be embarrassing and some patients can even feel a sense of a loss of dignity. Additionally, making certain types of comments or drawing any additional attention to the issue will not be helpful in aiding someone manage their feelings about their struggles with incontinence.

Communicate Your Concern

Communication is key between you, the caretaker, and your loved one.  If you feel that they may be showing signs of incontinence, while it may be uncomfortable, it is important to approach them in a very loving, understanding and concerned manner.  Come from a place of wanting them to be properly cared for and to prevent them from discomfort or any accidents.

Speak with a Doctor

It can be extremely helpful to discuss your concerns with a doctor (either the doctor of the loved one with incontinence, if you can, or your own doctor).  They may be able to give you an idea on what’s going on, how to approach your loved one, solutions for managing incontinence as a caregiver for your loved one, and what not to do.

Offer Helpful Solutions

Work to be a problem-solver, instead of trying to avoid or ignore the issue.  If your loved one has had a couple of accidents that appear to indicate an issue with incontinence, gently bring up your concerns and offer some solutions.  First, you may want to bring up the use of pads or protective undergarments and bedding to help manage any future accidents.  For some, they may be more willing to look into these solutions to avoid any accidents in public.  If not already notified or diagnosed by a doctor, you may wish to also recommend that your loved one schedules an appointment with their doctor to see what, if anything, may also be done to help manage his or her incontinence.

Take Care of Yourself

While true whenever you’re caring for a sick or elderly loved one, you should always make sure that you are doing what you need to in order to take care of yourself.  Taking care of another person can be exhausting—physically, mentally and emotionally.  It can be even more exhausting and taxing on someone than taking care of a newborn baby.  There are many more factors involved with adults. They’re larger, heavier, and they talk back!  It is imperative that you take care of your own health first. This includes making sure that you get enough rest, get outside and eat a proper diet.  It also means taking care of your mental and emotional well-being.  There are support groups for people who take care of loved ones who are ill, many of whom care for loved ones with incontinence.  Getting support from these groups can help you work through the emotional and mental

Know When You Need to Seek Elderly Care Services

In conjunction with taking care of yourself is also knowing when it’s time to seek additional help through professional assistance, whether it’s in-home caregivers or possibly a nursing home.  It is okay to acknowledge when something is just too overwhelming and too overbearing to take on yourself.  Not only will it ease the burden on you, as a caretaker, but it also helps to provide your loved one suffering from incontinence the best kind of care he or she may need during this time.

While incontinence is still not a fun thing to have to go through, in-home caregivers and nursing homes are skilled and have a different type of relationship with your loved one than you do.  It will help to allow you to spend the kind of quality time doing the type of activities that can bring joy and happy memories together!

If you are or someone you care for are located in Los Angeles, San Bernardino or Orange County and are in need of elderly care services at home, contact the compassionate and certified caregivers of Options In-Home Care today.  The elderly care services of Options In-Home Care can assist you!

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How to Maintain Healthy Joints into Your Senior Years

As you age, the body goes through several changes. Moving around can become more difficult as your muscles and joints begin to deteriorate and weaken over time. Joint pain and the subsequent troubles affiliated with joint pain is common for seniors, but there are things that can be done to help maintain healthy joints while you age.

Watch Your Weight

Did you know that for every pound you gain, there’s four times more stress placed on the knees? If you are overweight, think about how many pounds yo u may need to lose to get down to a healthy weight so unnecessary stress can be removed from your knees and other joints. Maintaining a healthy weight can be challenging, but there is no denying that excess weight puts a lot more strain on your body’s joints, particularly those in important supporting roles, like your knees, back and hips. If you are experiencing any pain in these joints, consider that your weight may be affecting these joints and then figure out a healthy plan for weight loss which may include a balanced diet and increasing your activity.

Be Active

In addition to its weight loss benefits, being active and having a regular plan to get in physical activity is a great way to help maintain healthy joints. Think of your body like a machine that will get stiff and more difficult to move when not consistently put to use. When you regularly get exercise in, this is a great way to warm joints up, increase your blood flow and circulation throughout the body (and specifically to your muscles a nd joints), improve elasticity in the muscles and flexibility in the body, and to help build up your muscle known as atrophying). It’s important to note that being active does not necessarily mean you have to put 2-hour sessions in at the gym. Being active may be as simple as walking around the block or swimming some laps. If you have pain in your joints, you may wish to find ways to participate in low-impact exercises, such as water aerobics, yoga, or cycling.

Build Up Your Muscles

The health of your joints is highly dependent on the strength of the muscles and tendons that surround them. This is why when you stop being active and your muscles weaken, you end up putting a lot more strain on your joints to support your body’s weight and to function properly. Weight training can help strengthen and build the muscles around your joints and keep them healthy. It is important with any exercise routine that you consult your doctor. Also, you should consider working with a fitness trainer who can not only show you which strength training exercise are best for building stronger joints, but can also demonstrate for you how to properly do these exercises and prevent injury.

Protect Your Joints

A common cause of joint pain comes from not properly protecting them (as well as the improper use of them) throughout your life. This can cause a lot of strain and even injury for some of your joints. In any activities that may require a great deal of kneeling or getting down on your knees, it is helpful to wear knee pads and to protect your knees from the wear and tear that may come from that activity. Another common injury is the lower back due to improper bending and lifting of heavy objects. You should be bending at the knee and using your leg muscles to help support your body and lift the object off the ground. All too often, people bend at the waist and use the lower back to lift up the heavy weight. Another cause of back pain is improper posture and slouching. Check your posture right now. If you are slumped over and your shoulders are going forward, straighten your back and pull your shoulders back. By better protecting your joints, you will help to maintain healthy functionality into and throughout your senior years.

Start Now

There is absolutely no reason you should wait to begin taking care of your body until you begin experiencing pain or complications in your joints. Even if you are not a senior yet, starting healthy practices for joint care right now is one of the best ways to ensure healthy joints down the line. Not only will this help to preserve your joints as you age, but you will develop healthy habits now that will improve your overall health.

If you are a senior located in Los Angeles, San Bernardino or Orange County and are in need of assistance at home, contact the compassionate and certified caregivers of Options In-Home Care today. The caregivers of Options In-Home Care can assist you with building healthy habits to build and maintain healthy joints.

Preventing the Onset of Cataracts

Cataracts can cloud your eyes making it seem like you are constantly looking through a foggy window.  Having clouded vision due to cataracts can make it difficult to do every day activities such as driving and reading. Cataracts tend to develop slowly and do not affect eyesight right away but over time, it will interfere with your vision. This is why preventing cataracts is critical.

There have not been specific studies proving that cataracts can be prevented or that you can slow the progression of them.  Some doctors agree that there are strategies that may be helpful though.  These strategies of preventing cataracts include:

  • Get your eyes examined regularly

During an eye exam, cataracts and other eye problems can be detected early on.  Your doctor will be able to tell you how often you should have an exam.

  • Quit smoking

Smoking may increase your chances of developing cataracts so try to stop if you are a smoker.  Your doctor may suggest medications, counseling, or other strategies to help you stop smoking.

  • Manage other Health Problems

If you suffer from diabetes or other medical conditions that are precursors to cataracts, make sure you are following your treatment plan.

  • Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables

You want to make sure your body is getting all of the vitamins and nutrients that it requires.  Make sure to choose fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors.  The antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables help to maintain healthy eyes and are effective in preventing cataracts.

Though there is no proof that pills with antioxidants will prevent cataracts, a study has shown that a diet rich in vitamins and minerals is associated with a reduced risk of developing them.  Because fruits and vegetables have proven health benefits already, it is a good and safe way to increase your vitamin and mineral intake.

  • Wear Sunglasses

Cataracts can develop if you get too much Ultraviolet light from the sun.  Make sure you have sunglasses that block ultraviolet B (UVB) rays when you are spending time outside.

  • Reduce alcohol intake

Drinking alcohol to excess can increase the risk of developing cataracts.

If you discover that you have cataracts and they are in the early stages, there are some things you can do to lessen the effects until you decide to have surgery.

  • Visit your optometrist regularly to ensure that your eyeglasses are an accurate prescription.
  • If you are having difficulty reading, use a magnifying glass to see smaller text.
  • Make sure your home is brightly lit.
  • When you spend time outdoors, wear sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat to reduce any glare from the sun.
  • Try not to drive at night when you don’t have to.

Following the above suggestions may help for a period of time.  As the cataract progresses your vision will continue to get worse.  If your vision is deteriorating and day to day activities are becoming too difficult, it may be time to contact your doctor and discuss surgery.

In the meantime, while you are waiting for surgery, Options in Home Care can provide home care services to assist in getting you to and from appointments across Los Angeles and San Bernardino County.  If you need help with any of your daily routine activities, they will be able to assist you until you are able to have your surgery and gain your eyesight back to resume your regular tasks.