November 8, 2019
By Lizzie Weakley
As we get older, our bodies may begin to require more care and might function less efficiently than when we were younger. After decades of wear and tear, our joints, muscles, and bones begin to ache from years of service. In addition, the older we get, the risk for a chronic illness increases, which may cause chronic pain or discomfort. Fortunately, there are ways to deal with this problem that are both practical and affordable. Check with your doctor before trying any of these tips.
Depending on your age and overall health, your doctor may give you approval for starting an exercise program. This can be done at home by watching an exercise program for persons whose circumstances, like age and health, are similar to yours. Alternately, the doctor may suggest joining a local YMCA or recreation center exercise class that meets at least weekly. Exercise can help to strengthen bones while making joints and muscles more limber. Systematic exercise also may stimulate the production of your body’s endorphins, which can ease pain and help you feel better. The immune system may also benefit and contribute to the reduction of inflammation.
Avoid inflammatory foods like sugar, and for some, white flour or gluten, may ease physical discomfort. Weight reduction for obese persons can take extra pounds off of the body frame, also reducing physical discomfort. Certain foods or a specific eating plan may be suggested by your doctor or a nutrition specialist to ensure you are getting all the nutrients your body needs to function efficiently, which may in turn lessen physical pain.
If you are a busy person with chronic pain, it may be a good idea to spend some time each day relaxing and escape stress temporarily. Taking a short nap or enjoying nature in the back yard or at the park provides a break from your daily routine, which also have a positive effect on chronic pain levels.
Medical Pain Management
Your GP may provide a referral to pain management doctors who can treat your discomfort from a medical perspective. With many treatment options to choose from, there is a good chance they can find ways to make you feel more comfortable. Pain management experts have the skills and knowledge needed to assist with chronic pain issues.
There is no need to suffer pain in silence. Try tips like these to get your pain under control so you can enjoy a more comfortable lifestyle.
Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her three-year-old husky, Snowball.
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July 26, 2019
June 24, 2019
Courtesy of Lizzie Weakley
It used to be an accepted part of life that people would need dentures when they reached a certain age. However, dentures are no longer inevitable today. Taking proper care of your teeth can keep them in good shape for many years to come. If you want to maintain a full set of pearly whites as you age, here are four options to keep your teeth in your mouth and off the nightstand.
Braces aren’t just for teenagers anymore. If you missed out on straightening your teeth as a child or have teeth that have relapsed from previous treatment, orthodontic treatment can align your teeth and improve your bite. Teeth that are straight and aligned last much longer than teeth with crowding, which makes it difficult to clean them thoroughly, or malocclusions that cause wear and tear on the tooth’s surface.
Missing teeth often lead to more missing teeth. When you lose a tooth, the jawbone becomes weaker and surrounding teeth begin to loosen and shift. Protect the rest of your teeth by replacing missing teeth with dental implants. Implants can even be installed on teeth that have been missing for years. Unlike dentures, implants replace the tooth down to the root, which strengthens the jaw and helps to keep existing teeth in place.
Root Canals and Crowns
A damaged or abscessed tooth doesn’t automatically mean an extraction. Many teeth can be saved with root canal treatment and a crown. It might be tempting to save money in the short term by having a tooth pulled instead of getting a root canal, but that savings today will cost you in the future when the surrounding teeth begin to loosen.
Gum disease is a common cause of tooth loss. If you want to keep your natural teeth, it’s important to stay on top of gum care. Twice-yearly cleanings are essential for keeping your gums healthy, but sometimes aging and illness can cause periodontal disease despite good care. Prompt treatment, such as a gum graft or laser treatment, from a gum specialist called a periodontist can save your gums and your teeth.
Although these four options can help keep your aging teeth healthy and prevent tooth loss, regular visits to your dentist are the most important factor in keeping your teeth healthy at any age. Make an appointment today to get a cleaning and checkup and to learn more about retaining your smile into your golden years.
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May 23, 2019
Courtesy of Lizzie Weakley
Healthy teeth are a vital part of our overall health. They allow us to eat comfortably and help to reduce the chances of secondary infections from dental problems. As we grow older, though, it may not be possible to maintain our original teeth. Decay or damage can simply be too extensive, and it becomes time to talk about other options for improving your oral health. One choice that is growing in popularity is dental implants. If you have teeth missing or in very poor condition, there are several reasons why you may find that implants are a good choice for you.
You Replace Only The Missing Teeth
Tooth loss is rarely organized. You may lose one on the upper right, one on the lower left, and one in the front, or any other random order. Bridges, partials, and dentures require larger openings for insertion, but dental implants can take the place of a single tooth. If an adjacent tooth needs to come out later, it is no more complicated to add another implant. Other dental options require a totally new appliance for the expanded space.
You Won’t Lose Them
This goes for loss from inside your mouth and out. One of the greatest inconveniences and fears of dentures is that they will come out of your mouth when you are speaking or eating. All on 4 dental implants are permanently attached, with no concerns about adhesives. And because they don’t come out at night, you won’t worry about dropping them, getting them dirty, or leaving them in a hotel room.
They Are Easier to Care For
Dentures require a container for cleaning and a seemingly endless stream of tablets. They take up space on the bathroom countertop and provide an unpleasant intrusion when you are a guest. Dental implants are brushed and cared for just like natural teeth, reducing the expense, mess, and space associated with caring for your teeth.
They Will Last Longer
Typically, dentures only last five to eight years, while dental implants can potentially stretch out as long as 15 years with proper care and with gentle use. Using dentures can mean additional time at the dentist on a more frequent basis, as well as the expense of purchasing new appliances more frequently.
Having healthy teeth is an important part of your overall health, especially as you enter your senior years. However, the effects of time and life can leave your teeth in poor condition and in need of removal. At that point, you have a choice between traditional options like dentures and bridges, and more permanent solutions like dental implants. Over time, implants are less expensive and more practical.
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April 3, 2019
By: Darleen Mahoney
As Seniors search for more Healthcare options and answers, Health fairs are becoming more and more a valuable resource. Healthcare can be confusing and overwhelming for many seniors and their caregivers. Health fairs offers seniors in the community the opportunity to engage with professionals in a relaxed and threatening or sterile atmosphere to discuss common health issues and concerns.
Many Health fairs focus on preventative and offer proactive information like health screenings, blood pressure checks, cholesterol blood tests, vision and hearing tests which may provide feedback to identify any risks. For example, Gulfside Healthcare Services located in Land O’Lakes Florida, is presenting a community Health fair for Seniors and their Caregivers on April 16th, featuring a “Healthcare Navigation Table of Experts” for one-on-one assistance with healthcare-related needs offering free blood pressure checks, free living wills, and access to information on Home Health, Palliative Care, Hospice Care and Elder Law.
Successful Health fairs can inspire health lifestyle changes in Seniors and provide support for their Caregivers.
*If you would like more information on the Gulfside Healthcare Services community Health Fair, contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or 727-845-5707
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January 25, 2019
Courtesy of Alison Lee
When you’re a retired senior, you finally get to pursue your “real” life. Long vacations, cruises, new hobbies, and other adventures await. However, old age also brings more illnesses, and sometimes it can be a challenge to balance your ideal post-retirement life with your healthcare costs. Make sure you’re doing these 10 things to minimize your healthcare spending.
- Take advantage of preventive care.
The earlier you spot a disease, the easier and cheaper it is to fix – plus, you’ll feel better sooner. Medicare covers a bounty of preventive and screening services, from cardiovascular disease screening to depression screening. If you’ve been under Medicare Part B for more than 12 months, you’re also entitled to a “wellness” visit every year.
To make the most of your visit, make a list of health questions and concerns throughout the year to take to your wellness check-up so you don’t forget. Being thorough and honest about your habits (such as whether you smoke or drink alcohol), medical history, and family health history can help your doctor catch risk factors early.
- Buy generic medications and buy them online from more affordable sources.
You can save a significant amount of money by choosing generic drugs over brand-name ones. Generic and brand-name drugs are deemed “bioequivalent” by the FDA, so there is virtually no loss in quality.
Many Americans also buy prescription drugs online from international and Canadian pharmacies, such as Canadian pharmacy referral service Rx Connected. Pharmaceutical industries in other countries may be more strictly regulated than in the U.S., making their drugs significantly cheaper.
Buying drugs online may sound risky, but there are many legitimate websites that care about drug safety and patient wellbeing. However, do exercise caution when buying anything online. If a price is too good to be true, or if the company claims you don’t need a prescription for something that should, it’s likely a scam. Legitimate websites like Rx Connected will welcome consumer questions and concerns, and even encourages doctors to call them directly.
- Get vaccinated.
Make sure you get vaccinated during flu season; it’s often free for seniors under Medicare. The flu bug changes every year, so it’s important to get a flu shot each year. Seasonal influenza isn’t just a nuisance; it’s highly contagious and especially dangerous for seniors. Complications can be serious. Click here for more information about the flu.
You should also ensure you are vaccinated against other contagious diseases. Talk to your doctor about what vaccines to get, including booster shots. Getting vaccinated is not just good for you; you can help protect immunocompromised and high-risk individuals too.
- Learn about Medicare Savings Programs and Extra Help, and see if you qualify.
If you haven’t already, research Medicare Savings Programs and Extra Help, programs that help those enrolled in Medicare pay their premiums. You may still qualify for Medicare Savings Programs if your income is higher than the limits. If you’re eligible for the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary Program, Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary Program, or Qualifying Individual Program, you are automatically eligible for Extra Help for prescription drugs.
- Visit a Community Health Center.
Community Health Centers are available in all 50 states, Washington D.C., and every American territory. These state-funded clinics offer free or low-cost care regardless of a patient’s ability to pay or their insurance status, and are located in designated “medically undeserved areas.” Services may include preventive care, mental healthcare, pharmacy services, dental care, and more. You can find one near you by clicking here.
- Learn about health.
Now that you’re retired, you have time to read all those books on your backburner book list! Why not also read more about health in general? The good news is, a large amount of useful health information is free and found on the internet. Being informed can alert you to potential problems early.
Of course, there is an unfortunate amount of misinformation on the internet. Stay away from articles with sensationalized titles like “Lose 10 Pounds in 1 Week!” Stick to government-approved websites like the CDC, Medline Plus, and the National Institutes of Health.
However, DO NOT diagnose yourself based on information you read on the internet. There’s a reason why physicians go through years of schooling. When in doubt, see a doctor.
- Now that you know more about health, get the appropriate level of help.
Not every little discomfort warrants a trip to the ER. If you have a minor health issue or question, see if you can find a 24/7 phone line where you can talk to a nurse. Many insurance plans offer this service, as do many hospitals. A qualified nurse can decide whether your health question warrants a trip to the doctor’s office. Online services – where you talk to a doctor remotely over the internet – are another low-cost option for more minor health problems.
- Compare before you buy.
Just like buying a new car, you should shop around before committing to a health service. Ask your healthcare provider about the Healthcare Bluebook, a good tool to use to compare pricing for health services offered by different providers. Don’t pay for a hundred-dollar X-ray when there’s one at half the price just a block away!
- Does your local community center, senior center, or non-profit advocacy group offer discounted or free programs?
If you have a chronic illness like arthritis or diabetes, a non-profit advocacy group may have a facility near you that offers programs to help manage your condition. If you do not have a chronic illness, check out what your local community and senior center offers. Don’t restrict yourself to fitness programs; your physical and mental health can benefit greatly from art therapy, music lessons, and more.
- Continue living a healthy lifestyle.
The best way to save on healthcare is to not get sick in the first place. Now that you’re retired, invest some time into making healthful, home-cooked meals, spend an hour or two at the park each day, and make sure you’re active and socializing regularly. If you smoke, now is a good time to quit, and while a glass of wine or two is fine on occasion, if you drink excessively, now is also a time to cut down.
Ask any physician and they will say that good health is really quite simple: eat well, move around, get enough rest, and be happy. So go ahead and enjoy retirement.
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January 22, 2019
Courtesy of Lisa Smalls
Elderly people in our world deserve the best in their golden years, including the best sleep. Unfortunately, it gets harder to sleep well as we age. Seniors are more likely to struggle falling asleep, staying sleep and sleeping deeply enough—they also suffer from age-specific sleep problems—than any other age group.
Seniors, you are not destined for poor sleep. We will explain how to attack your sleep issues and come out the other end rested and refreshed for another day on earth.
The good news for senior citizens here is that most sleep issues the elderly might face can normally be tracked back to physical (soreness, osteoporosis, arthritis, restless leg syndrome, insomnia) and psychiatric illnesses (depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s disease) and the medications doctors use to treat them.
Thankfully we’re not usually talking about issues that do require medication to alleviate. But our older friends should discuss their sleep issues with doctors and family members to address them.
Also, did you know our sleep patterns change as get older? Our internal clock, which tells us when to rest and when to wake up, actually shifts as we age. Seniors tend to want to go to sleep earlier and wake up earlier.
But our need for sleep, once we reach adulthood, does not change. Popular belief is misinformed. How much sleep we actually need to heal and feel fully restored each morning does not decrease with age. All adults—defined as anyone age 18 or over—need 7-9 hours per night.
And we’re all human. We have habits that hinder our sleep.
One sleep thief is the food we eat or drinks we imbibe. Eating too close to bedtime means our bodies are still working to digest as we’re trying to wind down for the day. Drinking alcohol may relax your inhibitions, but it doesn’t ease you to sleep.
Sleeping in a room that is too warm will keep you up. Seniors do get colder because often they don’t move enough to keep the blood circulating. But sleep scientists recommend sleeping in a room cooler than 70 degrees. Your body temperature will regulate to a good temperature once it begins the hard work of repairing itself as we sleep.
Sleeping in a room with too much light definitely robs you of good sleep. The artificial blue light behind our smartphones, tablets and televisions is the worst offender. The light artificially signals your brain that it must stay awake. You must keep those devices in other rooms at bedtime, ideally starting two hours before bedtime.
Ironically not getting enough natural sunlight during the day also slows the process of falling asleep. Seniors may not be mobile enough to go outside. It may be dangerous for them to do so without help, or they may not feel safe enough to do it where they live. Without at least two hours of natural sunlight per day, your circadian rhythm gets confused. You end up not feeling ready for bed once it’s time.
Another problem related to mobility is that seniors may not get enough exercise each day. Whatever you can do to get your heart pumping, based on your physical ability, will burn fuel. Burning off some during the day, eases you to sleep at night.
Finally, the wrong mattress or a too-old mattress will definitely keep you up at night. You toss and turn because your body isn’t comfortable. Any mattress that throws your spine out of alignment or puts too much pressure on delicate joints and muscles needs to be replaced.
Tools for better sleep
It starts with the best mattress, that you can afford, that works for you. Because there is a very competitive marketplace for mattresses these days, you have so many mattress options to choose from that will address whatever issues you have.
Younger adults usually do well with a medium-firm mattress. Medium-soft mattresses are better for seniors, who need a little more give, something more gentle to curve to older shoulders and hips. The important thing is that your spine remains aligned straight regardless of your sleep position.
For example, If you sleep on your back, that area of the mattress should not cave against your weight. That would put your tailbone and lumbar vertebrae out of alignment with the rest of your spine. If you are bothered by back pain, choose a mattress designed to alleviate it.
Now that you’re equipped with this knowledge, you’ll be on your way to better nights of sleep.
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October 25, 2018
Courtesy of Hazel Bridges
Most of us know we could be making healthier choices, and we have some understanding of how these could help us in old age. Now that you are a senior, you may start feeling like you missed your chance. This is not the case, however, and you are never too old to take control of your health habits and start working toward a better quality of life. Here are a few simple ways to do that.
According to the CDC, the benefits of exercise as a senior include improved stamina, bone health, muscle mass, and reduced risk of injury. There is some evidence that it also improves cognitive skills such as remembering words. By regularly working out, you increase your ability to live independently, keep up with grandchildren, and generally make the most of your golden years.
You don’t have to take up a whole new sport or get into anything particularly intense. You can adjust your activity to your level of fitness and to any injuries you have. Some seniors choose to join a class where they can meet new people and have an excuse to get out the house. Learn something new, like tai chi or water aerobics, or join a walking group to socialize with other seniors from the neighborhood.
If that doesn’t sound like your thing, there are also plenty of exercises you can do from the comfort of your own home. If you need equipment, a basic set of dumbbells and resistance bands can allow you to do a variety of strength workouts, which are incredibly beneficial in terms of muscle and bone strength. A yoga mat helps you stretch safely and comfortably, which can keep you flexible and improve circulation. Whatever you choose, consider investing in a fitness tracker like a Fitbit, which can help you monitor your progress. Check out iMore’s guide to Fitbits for seniors to choose the best one for you.
Eat Well — and Switch Things Up
It’s incredibly important to eat a healthy diet later in life. You may have heard that your metabolism slowing will have impacted your body’s ability to burn calories, but the truth is that this doesn’t make that big a difference. You should still focus on eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, protein, and healthy fats while avoiding sugar and processed foods. Any other specific requirements will depend on your body. Talk to your doctor to see if you could use more of a specific nutrient in your diet, such as calcium or iron.
Take Care of Your Mental Health
According to the World Health Organization, 15 percent of adults over 60 suffer from some kind of mental health disorder. Many of the conversations around old age and mental health revolve around dementia because it tends to occur in older adults. This awareness is important; however, it is also worth remembering that other, more common forms of mental illness also affect seniors.
This includes depression and anxiety, which could be caused by a variety of factors associated with old age. Staying active, eating well, and socializing regularly are key to promoting good mental health, with the latter in particular being essential. Seniors who report feeling lonely and isolated have an increased risk of physical and mental decline and dying earlier. If you feel your social circle is not satisfying you, join a class or group that can help you meet people. It is never too late to make new friends.
As you get older, it can be easy to feel like your quality of life is set to inevitably decline. However, it is important to remember that many of the health issues associated with old age are preventable through a few key lifestyle changes. You can enjoy a fulfilling and exciting life in your golden years as long as you commit to taking control of your physical and mental well-being.
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October 18, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
As the hot days of summer fade away and the leaves begin to change and the weather gets crisp, the season of fall is most welcome. Fall is not the only season that arrives in October, but a most unwelcoming season arrives as well…. flu season. Flu season is most active between October thru May. As this season is upon us, its important to be proactive in flu prevention, symptoms and treatment. The flu season is not the only season you want to experience, but the one you want to avoid.
While a flu diagnosis is serious regardless of age, a flu diagnosis in Seniors carries greater risks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that adults 65 and older are at greater risk of complications from the flu because they may have weakened immune systems. The CDC estimates that between 70%-85% of seasonal flu-related deaths and 54%-70% of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations occur in those over the age of 65.
A flu vaccine is the best option in flu prevention. It is recommended that Seniors and their caregivers receive the flu shot every year. The best time to get a flu shot is October thru November, so mark your calendars! The CDC reports that the flu vaccination may reduce the risk of getting the flu by 40-60%. The CDC recommends that even Seniors with weakened immune systems receive the vaccines, the vaccine can still protect against the illness and can weaken the flu strain if the immune suppressed Senior comes in contact with the flu virus.
Other ways to avoid getting the flu:
- Washing hands and wrists/ Hand sanitizer when more convenient
- Avoiding people who are sick
- Get plenty of rest
- Eat healthy, boost immunity
- Getting exercise-this could reduce your risk by a third
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth-this is how the germs enter the body
- Sanitize your Mobile devices
- Adding Vitamin C-Boost your immune system
The onset of flu symptoms can happen very quickly, some people developing symptoms one to four days after exposure to the virus. Seniors may develop the flu and their symptoms look very different than typical flu patients. Therefore, Seniors who have the flu are misdiagnosed or delayed in their diagnosis and therefore can progress into a more serious health problem. Most flu symptoms include a fever over 100 degrees, many Seniors with the flu do not have a fever, cough, or a sore throat.
Symptoms in a Senior may include:
- General discomfort, knowing something is clearly wrong
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Abdominal Pain
- Flu-like symptoms that get better and then worse
- Swollen mouth/throat
If you’re over the age of 65 and experience any of these symptoms, visit your physician right away to reduce the potential risk of a flu diagnosis. If you see your doctor within the first 48 hours, your doctor may prescribe you an antiviral medication. When taken at the onset of the flu, this medication can reduce the symptoms and the severity of your illness.
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July 16, 2018
Older Posts »
Courtesy of Janet Campbell
When you’re tending seniors, you want to provide the best possible care to ensure the best quality of life. In order to be effective and efficient it can help to create a checklist, whether mentally or physically, of the areas you should discuss on a daily basis. Follow these important guidelines to ensure you’re covering the crucial aspects of your senior’s care and making the most of home health care visits.
Sleep. As we grow older, getting sufficient sleep is an area in which many seniors struggle. It’s also an area that can have ramifications in other parts of life, contributing to a variety of mental and physical health concerns. According to The Guardian lack of sleep is linked to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, reduced ability to focus, poor memory and a shorter life span.
For seniors, the concerns are even more far-reaching, with some studies showing poor sleep quality contributing to dementia, depression and the decline of other mental faculties. These together can be a slippery slope. With health concerns mounting, some feeding each other such as obesity contributing to sleep apnea and heart disease, depression can then worsen, sleep can worsen and a vicious circle can quickly develop.
There are many ways to encourage better sleep quality. One idea is to establish a bedtime routine including a warm, relaxing bath to help unwind. Sunlight can help trigger healthy body rhythms, so spending time in the outdoors during the day can also be a boon. Physical activity can also help seniors sleep, so long as they avoid exercising within three hours of bedtime. Also offer an appropriate sleep environment, free of noise and lights. Seniors should have a comfortable bed that alleviates pain as well. For those who wake up groggy or achy, consider upgrading to a new mattress better suited for an aging body’s needs. It is best to replace your mattress every seven to eight years to get a good night’s sleep. If you dream of reducing the number of times you toss and turn each night, refer to this guide to choose a comfortable mattress.
Diet. Meeting a senior’s nutritional needs is another key way to enhance quality of life. As we age the body’s metabolism gradually slows, and as some experts point out this can mean less calories burned. Seniors should opt for foods that are nutritionally dense instead of consuming empty calories. The diet should be tapered down according to need, rather than adding the nutrient-dense choices.
The diet choices should be simple, satisfying and nutritious. Plates should be half-filled with fruits and vegetables, and whole grains should be the source of at least half of the grain choices. Whole grains include foods such as brown rice, whole grain cereals and whole grain breads. Seniors should avoid consuming excessive amounts of sodium. The diet should include healthy fat sources such as nuts, avocados, vegetable fats and fatty fish. Protein sources should include eggs, chicken, fish, beans and nuts.
Exercise. Getting sufficient exercise is another key component in maintaining good quality of life for seniors. OnHealth explains loss of muscle mass associated with aging contributes to the metabolic decline in seniors. Staying fit helps keep muscles and bones strong, helps maintain a healthy weight, and helps maintain or restore balance. Seniors who stay active can reduce their risk for health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, depression, obesity and back pain. A senior fitness program can enhance flexibility, memory function and improve mood as well.
Seniors can begin exercising at any age but should discuss a new exercise program with their physicians. Scheduling sessions can help stay on track, and celebrating progress can be an encouragement. Seniors should include aerobic, strength training, balance and flexibility exercises in their regimen. Gentle chair yoga is a good option for many seniors new to exercise.
Easing a worried heart. Has your senior been fixated or overly worried about life lately? Chatting lightly can begin loosening up a senior who has become wound too tight about the ups and downs of life. First and foremost you must listen – most folks benefit from a sympathetic ear even if their listener doesn’t give them a solution to their problem. But if there are recurring issues then you could begin gently guiding them to take some action towards acceptance, no matter how small it might be. It could be as simple as some advance planning for the inevitable, or volunteering part time.
Better health, better life. Helping a senior maintain a good quality of life is paramount. Check off these three things when visiting seniors: Ensure seniors get sufficient sleep, enjoy a healthy diet and participate in an exercise program. Make the most of home visits with these simple guidelines.
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