July 26, 2019

5 Tips for Handling Back Pain that Every Senior Should Know About

Filed under: Aging,Healthcare,Seniors Health — Tags: , , — seniorlivingguide @ 10:44 am

Back Pain Management for Adults
By Lizzie Weakley

Don’t let consistent back pain slow you down. As soon as you notice discomfort in your upper or lower back, take steps to reduce it so that you can return to your normal life.

Get More Sleep

A healthy night of sleep will actually increase your pain tolerance for the next day. As you get older, it’s easy to start sleeping only a few hours a night. If your pain is bothering you, add a few more hours; you might notice a significant difference.

On the note of sleep, make sure that you’re sleeping on a quality mattress. Firm mattresses offer significantly more support than soft ones and can keep your back in a healthy position.

Stay Active

Just like any part of your body, your back muscles need exercise to be strong. Even if your pain is acting up, attempt to fit in a little exercise each day. Go for walks to keep your lower back muscles active. If you live in a community that offers activity programs join in! Use gentle stretches to slowly strengthen weakened areas. Find a sport or an activity that keeps you moving without putting you through undue stress.

If you aren’t sure about any physical activity, check with your doctor. They may have suggestions specific to your unique physical condition.

Visit a Chiropractor

Back pain can be caused by many different factors. A chiropractic clinic, such as Burman Chiropractic Clinic PC, will be able to assess your pain and offer specific forms of advice.

Most chiropractors can help you immediately relieve your pain through massage or other treatments. They can also make sure you’re standing in a healthy posture, give exercise recommendations, and suggest specific forms of physical therapy.

Use Heat and Cold Intelligently

An ice pack will help you with immediate bouts of pain. The ice will numb the surrounding nerves and reduce inflammation. Use ice for about 20 minutes, then give the nerves in that area a rest.

Heat is used to relax muscles. Consistent heat therapy can reduce tension in a specific area. Try applying a hot pad to your back each night. You can also take a hot shower or soak in the tub. Don’t keep heat on an area for extended periods of time; if you feel uncomfortably warm, take a break and reapply the heat later on.

Buy a New Pair of Shoes

Your shoes dictate your posture throughout the day. Old or worn-down shoes could be the source of your back pain.

Find a pair of shoes that fit well and move the pressure away from your back. Different people have completely different posture needs, so talk to your doctor or chiropractor for specific recommendations.

Address your back pain as soon as you notice it. Your problem may be correctable with medical attention or simple lifestyle changes. If you maintain your health and exercise consistently, you will notice a significant reduction in the pain that you experience.

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July 19, 2019

How to Ask for Help in Your Golden Years

Filed under: Aging,Aging in Place,Home Health Care,Seniors — Tags: , — seniorlivingguide @ 3:49 pm

How to Ask for Help in Your Golden YearsBy Anica Oaks

You may have heard the saying, “Grow old gracefully,” but there are many changes that occur as you move beyond middle age and into your golden years. Your 60s, 70s and beyond will be filled with various psychological and physical changes and challenges. Asking for help can make you feel weak, but you aren’t. It’s a sign of strength and self-awareness to recognize when you can no longer do something on your own.

Understand How Age Changes Things

You were probably taught from an early age that it’s important to be independent. Asking for help can make us feel like we’ve failed somehow, and you may worry that you’ll look weak and be a burden to your loved ones.

Getting older comes with some inevitable changes, and it’s important to accept these facts rather than try to go against them. Your health may decline, or you might have to live with a health condition like arthritis. You may also be dealing with feelings of loneliness and isolation now that your children are grown. If you are widowed, then facing the rest of your life by yourself can trigger deep feelings of sadness that may turn into depression.

Recognize What You Need

Are you physically struggling to get around like you used to? Maybe going up the stairs is too painful or strenuous now. Perhaps you have emotional needs that aren’t being met, but you don’t want to bother people by calling them up just to talk.

Maybe you notice some health symptoms that weren’t there before; do you have frequent chest pains, feel dizzy or have become more forgetful than you used to be? It’s natural to want to ignore these things and write them off, but getting help early can make you happier and protect your well-being.

Finding the Right Resources

The last thing you may want to do is move into a care home, but they are not all like hospitals or filled with sick seniors. Instead, there are many retirement villages and facilities that offer round-the-clock assistance while still giving you plenty of space and independence.

For those who do not have any close family or friends they can reach out to, exploring elderly home care options can make you feel empowered and give you the help you need. Make sure that you are vocal about everything that’s bothering you; it’s possible for loneliness, sadness and even fear of the future to make us come off as cold and distant.

Don’t allow yourself to become closed off from the world. As you progress through the next stage of your life, be open to asking for help, receiving love and being in the presence of others as much as you can.

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July 17, 2019

A Guide to Treating Chronic Pain for Seniors

Filed under: Aging,Seniors Health — Tags: , — seniorlivingguide @ 3:17 pm

Chronic Pain for SeniorsBy Lizzie Weakley

Your chronic pain condition doesn’t need to run your entire life. Try these tips to find relief and enjoy more of your daily activities.

Get More Exercise

Regular exercise will strengthen your muscles and keep your body in a better overall condition. Even a small amount of movement each day will help you manage your pain.

If you haven’t exercised in a while, start with simple stretches and a daily walk. Consider enrolling in an exercise class geared toward seniors. Your health care professional will be able to recommend specific exercises that strengthen the area where you experience the most pain.

Look for Natural Alternatives

NSAID pain relievers like ibuprofen or aspirin are good to use in a pinch, but they can have complicated effects with other medications. Extended use of NSAIDs can also result in stomach problems in the long term.

Look for natural forms of pain relief like herbal teas, heating pads, and ice packs. Cold should be used to ease immediate pain, and heat should be used to loosen muscles. You can also try acupuncture, massage, and other treatments to find relaxation.

Seek Regular Treatment

You aren’t expected to manage your pain alone. Many different chronic pain services are available to help you find a long-term solution. Start by talking to your doctor about the options available to you. You might also want to visit a specialist related to your condition.

Don’t let yourself go without treatment. Some cases of pain are truly chronic, but others can be solved with medical care. Pain doesn’t always stem from an obvious source; only a doctor can identify and treat the actual cause of your discomfort.

Get Plenty of Sleep

A full night’s sleep has been shown to significantly increase your tolerance to pain. Adding two hours of sleep to your current schedule could increase your tolerance by as much as 25%.

As a senior, getting enough sleep isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Your chronic pain might even keep you from falling asleep at night. Clear your schedule so that you can sleep in a little later in the morning. You might also consider taking naps in the middle of the day. You’ll feel significantly better when you wake up.

Many seniors only sleep 4-6 hours a day. For pain management, try to average 8 hours; shoot for 10 if your pain is bothering you. If you continually deal with insomnia, your doctor may be able to prescribe a sleep aid to assist you.

There’s no single solution for the management of chronic pain. Your pain specialist may recommend several different treatments; try each option, and stick with the ones that work best for you.

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June 5, 2019

4 Mattresses Sure to Provide a Good Night’s Sleep for Seniors

Filed under: Seniors Health — Tags: , — seniorlivingguide @ 12:17 pm

Sleep for Seniors

Courtesy of Lizzie Weakley

If there’s one thing that can help determine how you feel the next day, it’s a good night’s rest. Depriving yourself of quality sleep can be bad for your health. In fact, it can be downright dangerous. Driving without sleep is very much like driving drunk. As one gets to a senior age, there are plenty of reasons one might lose sleep, but it is just as important to get the rest you need.

There are many ways to help ensure that you sleep well: avoiding alcohol and caffeine before bed, having a regular bed-time, and otherwise establishing an effective routine. However, one of the keys to getting quality sleep is having the right mattress. Not everyone can sleep comfortably on every mattress. As you get older, you might have more regular back pain or your body might need a particular kind of support. Luckily, there are specially designed mattresses that may improve your sleep by leaps and bounds. Below are four possibilities to consider.

Memory Foam

One option that helps many people improve the quality of their sleep is memory foam. If you think your mattress is too hard or stiff, memory foam may be a great choice. The material used actually conforms to the shape of your body while you lay on it. It adapts to your body’s contours and can provide great support for both your shoulders and hips. Memory foam can wear out over time, so you want to look for a mattresses that guarantees long lasting comfort. Some memory foam mattresses, like those from Lulu Mattress, include cool gel, which can help regulate body temperature to ensure that you will not get to too warm or too cool.

Smart Gel

A second popular choice is known as a smart gel mattress. Distinct from the aforementioned cool gel, these kinds of mattresses have an extra layer of gel added to the design of a foam mattress either in the support system or the mattress’s layer of upholstery. Smart gel mattresses work similarly to memory foam mattresses but can provide more support, as they have a stable, but flexible, structure. If you have back pain or similar problems, smart gel can help support your body, while providing comfort. These kinds of mattresses also dissipate body heat more while normal memory foam tends to absorb and retain it.

Pillow Top

A third choice for sleepers who want a bit more support with their mattresses is to choose a pillow top mattress. A “pillow top” usually exists as an extra layer of support you add yourself on top of an existing mattress. They are very soft and often feel and function similarly to a memory foam mattress. However, the extra layer can provide better support than a mattress without a pillow top would.

Latex

Lastly, you may prefer to use a latex mattress. Latex mattresses can come in varying degrees of cushion and firmness. You can choose a latex mattress that best meets your needs in regards to the level of support you need as well as your individual sleeping style. They absorb less heat than memory foam mattresses, and thus can help keep your body cool as you sleep. They are also often made of more natural materials than memory foam as well.

Overall, sleep is important. It helps determine your overall health and your energy throughout the day. Sleep is even more important for seniors, who often need more energy throughout the day. Performing some research when looking for a mattress, even consulting your doctor, can help you determine the kind of mattress that is right for both your body and your finances. The body of every person, old or young, is different and needs different things. Certain designs may do a better job of providing you with the kind of support you need to get a good night’s sleep.

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March 18, 2019

Medication, Alternatives, and Beyond: 4 Pain Relief Methods for Seniors

Filed under: Seniors Health — Tags: , — seniorlivingguide @ 9:35 am

Medication Alternatives for Seniors

Courtesy of Dixie Somers

Pain is a natural feeling that the central nervous system uses to inform people that their bodies are potentially in danger. Without pain, we would inadvertently harm ourselves on a daily basis, not to mention live a much shorter life. While pain is necessary for survival as we know it, some people’s central nervous systems malfunction, causing some people to feel pain throughout the day.

Surprisingly, some 50 million people in the United States alone suffer from chronic pain. As people get older, they’re more likely to face around-the-clock pain. Let’s dig into four potential treatments that are known to help people deal with constant, non-stop pain.

Money Might Not Grow on Trees, but Kratom Sure Does

Kratom refers to a tree in Southeast Asia, scientifically known as Mitragyna speciosa, which has been used by the natives of Indonesia for hundreds of years to knock the edge off of the pain they’d feel while working. Mitragyna speciosa’s leaves contain dozens of opioid-type molecules that are great at blocking pain. The plant is legal in the United States and costs no more than pennies per dose. Be sure to talk to your doctor before using any substance that might interact with any medications you might be taking already.

Physicians Can Really Work Magic in Bringing Relief to Suffering Seniors

Licensed physicians have a vast array of tools at their disposal to help people feel better, such as seniors who suffer from chronic pain. Physicians can consider your specific situation and work with you to figure out the best route for you. Whether that’s physician-approved exercises done at home or prescription drugs from a pharmacy, you’ll know it’s backed up by study and professional know-how.

Mental Health Treatment Could Help Some Seniors Deal with Pain

Cognitive behavioral therapy involves a counselor and client talking to one another with the intention of getting the client to build skills to deal with unwanted behaviors and thoughts. Even though people effectively can’t rid themselves of pain, crafting a toolbox that is filled to the brim with such mental tools can, in fact, get seniors feeling better.

Weightlifting

Exercise is known to help people feel better. Believe it or not, certain exercises can be used to reduce pain in people with chronic pain. Although the risks of injury are somewhat high, the effects are said to be well worth it. Exercises like weightlifting and walking are great to help seniors stay active as they age and mitigate pain. Be sure to consult a doctor before you start any new regimen.

Dealing with pain all the time is one of the worst medical problems to face and can be incredibly frustrating. However, these four tips and tricks should keep any senior out of terrible pain. With the help of some trial and error and your doctor’s advice, you’ll be back to doing what you love in no time.

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January 29, 2019

Restlessness When Living with Dementia

Filed under: Alzheimer's,Dementia,Seniors Health — Tags: , , , — seniorlivingguide @ 1:18 pm

For someone living with dementia, restlessness and fidgeting are common behaviours which have long been associated with agitation or stress.  Together with fidget widget for seniorsDementia Advisor for Alzheimer’s Society Judith Bower and UCLan Senior Graphic Design Lecturer Jane Souyave, Active Minds have been working towards creating an activity to help alleviate fidgeting and repetitive movements.

Conversing with carers of people living with dementia, the teams realised that these restless and repetitive motions were not always negative and wanted to dispel the thoughts that fidgeting is a disruptive behaviour.

Funding from the Alzheimer’s Society and UCLan’s Innovation funds have allowed the teams to work together and raise awareness surrounding communications and connection techniques for people living with advanced dementia. The ‘Positive Connections’ group was formed and worked tirelessly to come up with a concept which would later advance in to a product – the Fidget Widget.

What Is Fidget Widget

An age-appropriate activity, Fidget Widget comprises of five different handheld tactile tools which have been specially designed to help keep hands both relaxed and busy. The different tools can be interacted with in a variety of creative ways such as spinning, sliding, twisting, turning or rolling.

The variety of actions have been shown to not only keep restless hands busy, but also improve dexterity and provide stimulation and engagement as the activity is both meaningful and fun.

Fidget Widget is not just an individual activity however, it has been shown to be beneficial in both group and singular settings and is a brilliant way to get carers involved.

The Fidget Widget tools have undergone a two year testing period whereby the families of people living with dementia were supported with communication techniques using the Toolkit. The incredible feedback from the families showed the positive effect these products have had for their loved ones.

Interacting with the Fidget Widget has been shown to help enhance a persons psychological wellbeing as it provides an outlet for restless hands whilst being a meaningful and engaging activity. The creation of this product has allowed a wider understanding of restless behaviours and the ways in which we can interact with people living with dementia who may have verbal communication difficulties.

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January 25, 2019

Are you doing these 10 things to save on healthcare?

Filed under: Health Insurance,Healthcare,Medicaid,Medicare,Seniors Health — Tags: , , — seniorlivingguide @ 2:49 pm

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.

healthcare saving for seniors

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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!

  1. 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.

  1. 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

How to Get Your Best Sleep in Your Senior Years

Filed under: Healthcare,Seniors Health — Tags: , , — seniorlivingguide @ 2:21 pm

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.

Sleep Issues

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.

better sleep for seniorsAlso, 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.

Sleep culprits

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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November 19, 2018

How best to celebrate Christmas with a person with dementia

Christmas can be a very overwhelming time for someone living with dementia. A sudden influx of friends and family can cause individuals to feel stressed, agitated and confused. Active Minds outline their top tips for supporting your loved one through the overwhelming Christmas period, whilst ensuring you enjoy a magical festive time together.

Planning

This will help the day run as smoothly as possible, ensuring that both you and your loved ones enjoy the festivities without a hitch.

  • Create a schedule, ensure celebrations are planned for earlier in the day to avoid tiredness or agitation.
  • Speak to friends and family in advance about plans, and make sure everyone works together to ensure elderly members feel included and part of conversations.
  • It may be a good idea to familiarise extended family members with any Activities For People With Dementia By Active Mindsbehavioral changes that they may expect to view in the person with dementia.
  • A person with dementia can find large groups intimidating so keep invitations to a minimum.
  • Familiarise you loved one with the guests in preparation for the event, talk about them and show pictures of everyone who will be coming.
  • Have a quiet room set up where your loved one can go if things become a bit too much, with some activities that can help them relax.
  • Plan some simple family activities and games that are inclusive to all generations.

Eating and Drinking

Food and drink plays a big part of Christmas. It’s important to think about eating and dietary requirements for elderly relatives as rather often older party members may have particular needs.

  • Those with dementia may struggle to eat for many of reasons, such as a lack of appetite. So it’s best to avoid overloading their plate with Christmas Dinner, as this can be a daunting prospect.
  • Keep alcohol to a minimum to avoid arguments or accidents that can agitate a person with dementia.
  • Try where possible to serve food that is familiar to your loved one as this will help them feel comfortable and relaxed and may even spark memories and conversation.

Safety

  • Sometimes people with dementia experience problems with vision. To avoid confusion, place colour-contrasting rugs in front of doors or steps to make sure they are visible (dark coloured rugs may be mistaken for holes).
  • If the house is unfamiliar to your loved one, place labels on doors to help them move around easily.
  • If possible, limit access to places where injury could occur, such as kitchens or staircases.
  • Keep a list of emergency contacts nearby.
  • If staying the night, leave lights on in case your loved one gets confused if they get up during the night.

Take time for yourself

Caregivers often struggle trying to balance Christmas plans and looking after their loved ones, meaning it can be an incredibly stressful time of year, so you must make sure you take some time for yourself.

  • Pace yourself and set realistic goals so you don’t overstretch.
  • Assign another member of the family to also be on hand to ensure that your loved one is ok and comfortable, so the job isn’t entirely your responsibility.
  • You may want to have a respite care plan put in place to begin shortly after the festivities have ended. This would ensure to give yourself a well-deserved break.
  • Be proud of yourself – Christmas can be a tough time for both a person with dementia and their carer.

If you have an elderly relative or friend that’s not spending Christmas with you, regular phone calls can help elderly people not feel isolated or lonely. Although this can be a very busy time of year, try and make time for a visit, even if it’s only brief, as this will be hugely beneficial for them.

Christmas Gifts

Of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas without the giving and receiving of gifts. Choosing gifts for people with dementia isn’t always easy, so we’ve put together a few ideas which make the perfect present.

  • A DVD of a classic film or TV series from their past, the film may help to spark memories.
  • There are jigsaw puzzles available which are created especially for someone with dementia, including illustrations which can encourage reminiscence and conversation, perfect as a stimulating gift.
  • Make a memory book or photo album full of special times spent together. Not only will you be creating something that you can enjoy with your loved one, this will be a reminiscent gift, that your family member can pick up and look at any time they want.
  • Giving your loved one a board game to enjoy with everyone is a great gift. Active Minds have developed special dementia friendly games such as Animal Bingo and a specially adapted version of Snakes and Ladders.
  • Colouring books are a relaxing activity to help a person unwind and focus, as well as giving a sense of satisfaction once the colouring is completed.

Activities are one of the most effective ways to keep people with dementia calm and content over the Christmas period, visit Active Minds to take a look at their resources and activities suitable for those with dementia.

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November 15, 2018

Senior Health: Understanding the Holiday Blues

Filed under: Seniors Health — Tags: , , , , — seniorlivingguide @ 12:06 pm

By: Darleen Mahoney

Oh, the holidays! The season where everything is jolly, trees are twinkling, children’s eyes are glistening, and tables are surrounded by family’s laughter and love. This is not necessarily the case for everyone, especially for seniors. As seniors age, they may no longer feel like celebrating the holidays anymore. For them the holidays may take on a different meaning and can make them sad, depressed or feel anxious. A few key seniors health during the holidaysindicators of (SAD) Seasonal Affective Disorder, may be unusual fatigue or sadness or little interest in the holiday season in general.

There may be different triggers that may cause these feelings of melancholy over the holidays. Digging deep into the heart of the matter with a frank conversation will help you to make sure that your loved one has a more joyous holiday season.

Seniors may reflect on holidays past, struggling to find the joys in the present. It’s okay to treasure those old memories and keep them in a special place in their heart. Its also okay to enjoy the present holiday and find joy in making new memories.

The death of a loved one during the holidays can also be a trigger. Even if the loss occurred many years ago, it brings up memories of the loss itself bringing on feelings of grief and emptiness. There may be guilt if they are having a good time.

Take the time to talk through how your loved one is feeling and let them know that their feelings are normal. Everyone grieves in their own way. Ask them what their wishes are to help them handle it as you acknowledge their feelings together.

Here’s a few ideas:

  • Light a candle in memorial
  • Place the person’s picture in a special place
  • Family dinner where everyone shares a special memory

Stress is another factor that can cause depression and/or anxiety among seniors. Pressure from family and friends to attend holiday celebrations the same way or differently than in the past. Keeping a senior occupied with the festivities of the season may very well be therapeutic, but nothing can ruin a holiday occasion faster than having so much to do that that you can’t enjoy the holiday. The idea of baking, decorating, shopping and all the traditions that are enjoyable may become overwhelming if overscheduled. Prioritize what is important and be realistic. Focus on what you and your loved ones need rather than what others expect of you.

Financial pressures can also cause depression for seniors on limited budgets. Not only are they purchasing gifts, but additional holidays meals and their heating expenses tend to increase. This season is an overall expensive time of year.  Reminding your loved one that it truly is the thought that counts when it comes to gift giving and here are a few suggestions:

  • Baked Goods
  • Drawing Names
  • Handmade Gifts
  • Passing Down Family Heirlooms

Keep in mind that there is a difference between the holiday blues and depression. If you feel that your loved one is experiencing something more than the blues, seek the advice of a professional.

Perhaps the most effective cure to the holiday blues is a few simple physical gestures of affection such as a hug or holding a loved one’s hand. These simple acts can reduce stress, anxiety, while bringing joy and love to both of you.

As a caregiver or family member of a senior suffering with the holiday blues, make it your mission to get involved. You can make a significant difference and lessen the holiday blues for your loved ones for a more enjoyable holiday season for all.

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