As you get older, your body ages. It can be harder to lose weight, muscles weaken and eyesight can fail. Your health can be affected as well. You can develop medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis, all of which can affect your lifestyle and your independence. The older you get, the more at risk you are of developing one of these conditions. Since aging is a natural progression that no one can escape, it’s important to focus on your body’s health in order to offset the effects of age.
One way to increase your body’s health and to lessen your chances of developing one of these diseases and disabilities is to exercise. Since age can affect your joints and muscle mass, low-impact exercises can be used. Not only are these exercises easier on your joints, they also have a low-risk for exercise-related injuries. If you’d like to get started on your journey to better health and an active lifestyle, try out some of the following low-impact workouts for seniors.
Alzheimer’s disease is a disease that affects millions of people around the world. Although this disease commonly affects the elderly, there are people who develop what is called younger-onset Alzheimer’s. This condition begins to demonstrate itself with mild forgetfulness. As the disease develops, the symptoms become worse, leading to brain impairment and death. A person suffering from late stage Alzheimer’s loses the ability to function and live independently, making in-home care a necessity.
Although the person living with Alzheimer’s is clearly affected, many tend to overlook the effects on loved ones. Spouses or family members usually step in to assist a loved one with Alzheimer’s and it can be difficult to accept this new reality. Alzheimer’s can change a person’s personality and causes the person to forget cherished memories and loved ones. In order to live with this new reality, the affected family members need to take certain steps in order to deal with the progression of this disease.
Everyone needs a vacation now and then, even senior citizens living at home or in an assisted living community. Interest in traveling seems to increase with age, and today’s technology makes it easy to travel with older individuals. With a bit of preparation and planning, vacationing with seniors is easy and highly rewarding.
Mobility, medications, and documentation are the largest obstacles when vacationing with seniors. To make travel easier, plan to meet these challenges before you embark on your vacation.
Make sure to bring enough medication to last longer than you plan to be away, just in case something delays your return. Pack a small bag to use as carry-on luggage or to place within reach inside your car. Inside that bag, place one day’s worth of medication, copies of prescriptions, tickets, visas and passports, extra eyeglasses and copy of prescription, a snack, a change of clothing, and a camera.
Make sure you have plenty of available funds in your credit cards and ATM bank cards; traveler’s checks are not as widely accepted as they used to be.
Take advantage of existing senior travel programs. Associations like Elderhostel, a non-profit organization devoted to life-long learning, promote and facilitate travel among older individuals. Established in 1975, Elderhostel now offers accommodations for seniors in hostels, inns, and other luxurious-but-affordable establishments. Elderhostel can help you with everything from booking tickets to reserving a room.
RoadScholar categorizes trips and tours by activity level, ranging from easy to challenging. Easy adventures entail minimal walking and very few stairs, for example, while moderate programs require the ability to walk up to one mile in a single day or stand in a museum for a few hours. Easy activities might include a short drive or train trip to watch a play, attend a film festival, or just to take in the sights. A car trip through Arizona punctuated with short walking tours around monuments would constitute a moderate vacation on that website.
Preparing to Travel with a Senior
Before you leave, make sure you have gathered all of the senior’s contact information, such as physician’s name and phone number, emergency contact other than yourself, and telephone number of the person taking care of the senior’s affairs while they are gone. Make sure passports are valid for at least three to six months after you plan to return, just in case you run into some sort of trouble that prevents your prompt return. Review all travel advisories and make sure you have put passports and other important documents in a secure place. Ask your senior’s home care aide to help you if you need assistance.
If you are leaving the country with a senior citizen, consider enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Plan. The U.S. Department of State provides this program, known as STEP, to assist travelers in an emergency. The program is free and voluntary.
Contact the airline or train depot to check for delays. Check in using the airline website at least two hours before departure for domestic flights and at least three hours before leaving on an international flight. Some airlines allow you to use your cell phone for a boarding pass, a process known as e-boarding, rather than using time-consuming paper passes.
Senior citizens may qualify for a simplified security process at airline gates. For example, a person over the age of 75 may not have to take off their shoes, may be able to leave on lightweight outerwear and sweaters, and may be able to pass through a metal detector a second time rather than submitting to a pat down if the alarm is set off. The Transportation Security Administration may allow you to use their TSA Pre-Check to avoid security lines at the airport.
Contact the airline at least 72 hours in advance to find out if it assists passengers with special needs. Some airlines offer wheelchair assistance. Most allow a caretaker to pass through security and the gates to help a passenger as long as the caretaker has made a request at least a day in advance and can produce proper identification and paperwork.
Opt for upgrade seating whenever possible. Sitting for long periods, especially on-board a pressurized airline cabin in coach class, in a small economy car, or bumpy train car, can be very hard on an older body.
Once you are at your destination, plan on moving slowly and taking plenty of rest stops. If a museum tour typically takes one hour, for example, plan to take two to three hours. Watch for signs of fatigue.
Ask the hotel if a house doctor is on-call and request the telephone number. Also, write down the location and telephone number of the nearest hospital.
Do your best to stay on schedule for medications. This can be challenging, especially when you travel through different time zones.
Try to maintain a normal diet to avoid stomach upset. An abrupt change in diet can cause unpleasant effects that interfere with vacation plans.
Most of all: enjoy your time. Traveling with a senior citizen can be a deeply enriching and rewarding experience.
You may find yourself in the unenviable position of choosing the right living situation for a loved one. As a loving spouse, parent, child or friend, you take your responsibility seriously. You want to choose a living environment that is safe and comfortable, but you may be unsure where to start. Perhaps the best place to begin is to remind yourself of what your loved one could gain by making a change in their living arrangements.
Benefits of Living in the Right Environment
Living in the right environment can help your loved one live life to its fullest. You can extend your loved one’s independence by providing an environment with the appropriate level of medical and personal care. Accepting a little help walking, today, for example, can reduce the risk for a debilitating hip fracture, tomorrow. The living situation should be as supportive as possible, while still fostering a sense of independence.
A new home often brings new experiences, interests, and friendships in a way that combats loneliness and isolation, which are significant problems in older populations. In fact, a February 2014 paper by University of Chicago professor of psychology John Cacioppo shows that extreme loneliness is twice as unhealthy for older people as obesity. The study shows that, in comparison to an average person, loneliness caused a 14 percent increase in the risk for death.
The right living environment provides peace of mind for you, your loved one, and the rest of your family. Choosing the proper level of supervision for your loved one helps everyone sleep soundly at night.
Determine Your Loved One’s Needs
Your loved one’s living situation should reflect his or her personal and medical needs. Start by asking your loved one where they would like to live, while assuring them you will try to accommodate their wishes. Then ask their physician about your loved one’s medical needs. Discuss your findings with other family members to gain their input. Finally, visit with home care agencies and assisted living facilities and in your area to learn about the various services they provide.
Home care agencies offer a wide variety of services to help you loved one stay at home. Services may include personal care, homemaking, meals, help managing money, and more.
Staying at home may be a good idea if your loved one:
- Has a close network of friends and family members who live nearby and are willing to help
- Has easy access to transportation that does not include driving
- Lives in a safe neighborhood
- Lives in a home that can be modified with handrails, ramps and other safety devices
- Is not overwhelmed with housework or yard chores
- Does not require a high level of medical care
- Is willing to reach out for help and support
Assisted Living Community
An assisted living community provides a moderate amount of personal and medical care to your loved one. You may wish to consider an assisted living community if your loved one:
- Needs minor assistance with housekeeping, dressing, cooking, and other activities of daily living
- Does not need round-the-clock medical care
- Wants to live in a place free from upkeep and maintenance
- Likes the idea of socializing and easy access to interesting activities
Contact a local home care agency for more information on the types of living arrangements appropriate for your loved one.
Choosing a new living arrangement for a loved one is a big responsibility. Fortunately, there are many levels of care available to keep your loved one living as independently as possible. With a little care and planning, you can easily determine if your loved one can continue living at home with in-home care, or if he or she should move to an independent or assisted living community.
Dietary supplements add nutrition to your diet when you cannot consume enough vitamins, minerals and other nutrients your body needs to stay healthy or ward off disease.
People over the age of 50 usually need to consume more vitamins and minerals than young people do. As you grow older, for example, your body has more trouble absorbing vitamin B12, which is important for healthy nerves and red blood cells. You may not get out into the sun as much, either, which could leave your body low on vitamin D.
The best way to get the nutrients you need is to eat a healthy diet, of course, but that is not always possible when you grow older. You might find cooking for one or two to be time-consuming, wasteful or expensive. Your appetite may not be as hearty as it used to be when you were physically active. You might even have trouble eating because of poorly fitting dentures or an illness that causes lack of appetite.
Important Vitamins and Minerals to Supplement
Discuss your need for supplements with your doctor; she or he can help you decide which supplements, if any, you need.
Boost your vitamin B12 intake by eating fish, shellfish, meat, dairy products and fortified cereals. According to the National Institute of Aging, you should get 2.4 mcg of vitamin B12 each day. You may need a different form of vitamin B12 supplement if you are taking medication for acid reflux.
Calcium works with vitamin D to keep your bones strong and reduce your risk for fractures. Milk, milk products, some canned fish, fortified cereals and dark green, leafy vegetables are rich in calcium. Women over 50 need 1,200 mg of calcium per day, while men between age 51 and 70 need 1,000 mg daily.
Exposure to sunlight for at least 15 minutes twice per week helps your body manufacture vitamin D. You may not get outside very much as you grow older; this lack of sun exposure leaves you at risk for vitamin D deficiency, which can cause fatigue, along with body aches and pains. The usual vitamin D supplement dose is 600 IU each day.
Vitamin B6 helps your body develop healthy red blood cells. You get vitamin B6 through potatoes, bananas, chicken breast and in fortified cereals. The usual vitamin B6 supplement dose is 1.7 mg for men and 1.5 mg for women.
Antioxidants protect your body from dangerous free radicals formed during digestion and other body processes. Vitamins C and E are antioxidants; you can get these vitamins through supplements or citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers, wheat germ, nuts and seeds, and some types of oils.
Contact your physician, personal nurse or in-home care professional to learn more about dietary supplements.
A nutritious diet is important at any age. Making healthy food choices provides special benefits to seniors. Eating well promotes health and energy, improves digestion and helps you maintain a healthy weight. Making these healthy eating choices may be easier than you think. Assisted living facilities offer a variety of healthy eating choices for seniors. If you live at home, you can create your own healthy meals by yourself or with the help of a home care expert.
Simple Steps to Good Nutrition
Every senior can make two highly effective and very simple healthy eating choices right away, with absolutely no extra help, planning or expense – removing salt from the table and switching to whole grain breads. Lowering your salt intake is good for your heart; simply keeping the saltshaker out of view naturally reduces your sodium consumption. Whole grain breads are high in fiber that makes you feel fuller and optimizes your digestive system.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that older people who include at least 3 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables into their daily diet may:
- Receive some of the vitamins, minerals and fiber they need to maintain good health
- Maintain energy levels
- Maintain digestive regularity
- Prevent or delay the unhealthy effects of obesity, hypertension, heart disease and other chronic illnesses
Enjoy a variety of flavors and colors
If you are like most people, you are becoming less active as you age. Adjust your caloric intake according to your activity level to maintain a healthy weight. The USDA provides specific guidelines regarding calorie intake specially designed for individuals aged 60 to 74, categorized by gender and activity level. For example, a woman who exercises less than a half hour a day should consume only 1600 calories, one who exercises for 45 minutes a day can take in 1,800 calories, and a female who exercises for an hour each day can eat up to 2,200 calories daily. A man who exercises for 30 minutes or less should restrict his diet to 2,000 to 2,200 calories, one who exercises for 45 minutes can consume up to 2,400 calories and a man who is physically active for more than an hour each day should take in as much as 2,600 calories daily.
To lower your cholesterol and keep your heart in tip-top shape, cut down on your beef intake and increase your consumption of fish. Opt for lean cuts of chicken and pork whenever fish is not available.
Avoid empty calories, like those in chips, cookies, soda and alcohol. These foods and drinks add to your waistline but provide little to no nutrition. Satisfy your sweet tooth and cravings for crunchiness with some fruit or nuts.
Considering Cost and Ease of Preparation
Some senior citizens worry about the expense and preparation associated with choosing fresh foods over prepared entrees. Many frozen or canned fruits and vegetables are healthy, as long as you avoid excessive amounts of added sugar and salt.
Entrees can be especially problematic for many seniors living independently.
Purchasing, cooking, and freezing home-cooked meals may not be a reasonable option for you anymore, even though you do well at performing other activities of daily living.
Consider hiring a home care aide to do your grocery shopping, cooking and housework, to make it easier for you to enjoy nutritious meals at home without the inconvenience.
Summary: Nutrition is important at any age but especially so for seniors. Getting proper nutrition, however, is really quite easy. Seniors living in assisted living facilities or independently with in-home care can eat a healthy diet without a lot of inconvenience or needless expense.
One of the key selling points of any assisted living facility is the quality of its staff. The best facilities have staff members that are professionally trained, enthusiastic about working with older people, and understanding of the concerns of the residents and their families. Establishing a good working relationship with the staff of your loved one’s assisted living facility will help you ensure he or she gets the best care possible.
When moving your loved one into an assisted living facility, take the time to get to know the people who will be helping to take care of your parent, spouse or other loved one. Don’t just say hello to management; get to know the folks who will be regularly interacting with your loved one, including care workers and activities directors.
Be sure to provide thorough information about your loved one to facility staff. Give them lists of preferred foods, medications, activities, hobbies and more. The more information staff has about your loved one, the better they will be able to take care of him or her.
When visiting your loved one, be sure to greet staff by name and make small talk with them. You’d be surprised at how far simple courtesy can go to establishing good relations.
If you need to raise a concern or make a complaint, do it in a constructive matter. Bring your issue to the appropriate party and take a collaborative approach to resolving the issue. A combative or pushy attitude just isn’t helpful.
Always Best Care now offers franchise opportunities. Always Best Care has been synonymous with the highest standard of service since 1996, when the founders realized the need for exceptional, trusted professional care for senior citizens. Now you can deliver the same high quality of services to people in your community by opening an Always Best Care franchise.
The number of senior citizens is growing at a robust pace. Each day, 10,000 Americans celebrate their 65th birthday. This means an Always Best Care franchisee can expect to increase his or her revenue as more men and women in the United States reach retirement age.
A handful of these individuals need medical care; many more could benefit from non-medical home care, such as help with grooming or moving around the house. The non-medical home sector is enjoying an upward trend as these seniors realize the benefits of non-medical home care.
As an Always Best Care franchise, you will take in three different revenue streams: assisted living finder services, non-medical in-home care, and skilled home health care. This three-pronged approach to revenue allows you to increase your bottom-line in more than one way. You can utilize all three revenue streams, or focus on just one.
Always Best Care Provides Extensive Franchise Support
As an Always Best Care franchisee, you will receive more marketing support than you ever dreamed possible. From support to marketing, Always Best Care provides the tools you need to make your franchise a success.
Every region of the country has an area representative that currently owns an Always Best Care franchise or has owned one in the past. These representatives provide a wealth of knowledge about every aspect of your Always Best Care franchise. Your area representative is available to help you, the new franchise owner, 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
We will help you market your franchise with national advertising funds for nationwide search engine optimization, pay per click advertising, and marketing on YouTube and social media outlets. We know how to spread the word about the non-medical home care your new Always Best Care franchise provides to residents in your area.
Home care can be a great option for seniors, as they get to remain in their homes while having a professional take care of their daily needs. This takes away much of the angst of elder care, allowing seniors to retain as much independence and autonomy as is practically feasible.
Home care workers provide a variety of services, including wound care, medication management, speech and physical therapy, dietary management and more. Some home care services also allow workers to help clients take care of daily living tasks such as cooking, laundry, etc.
Home care can be provided on a long-term or short-term basis. For example, if a loved one is recovering from a surgery, but is expected to make a full recovery, a short-term home care solution is a great option for taking care of that person’s needs while he or she is recovering. Long term home care assistance is helpful for older people who will need sustained assistance.
Home care has a variety of advantages, including:
- Allowing seniors to stay in their homes
- Increased independence for seniors
- Easier for family and friends to visit
- Individualized service
- Comfortable, familiar environment for seniors
When considering home care for yourself or a loved one, consider your individual circumstances and whether home care services are the right solution for you.
Foot care is important at any age, but especially so during your senior years. You rely on your feet – keep them healthy for a long, healthy and mobile life. Here are a few tips to help you do that.
- Practice good foot care and frequently check your feet for sores, cracks in the skin, and other problems. Have a family member or in home care provider check your feet if you cannot.
- Improve circulation into and out of your lower legs by sitting in a recliner or bed that raises your feet above the level of your heart. Gravity helps blood flow away from feet, back toward the heart. This allows fresh, oxygen-rich blood to flow into the tissue in your lower legs and feet.
- Stimulate circulation even more by stretching after you have been sitting for a long time. Walking, a gentle foot massage, or a warm footbath also work well.
- Avoid sitting for long periods, especially with your legs crossed. Get up and stretch every couple of hours.
- Do not wear uncomfortable or ill-fitting shoes, especially footwear that pinches. Loose shoes can rub against your foot as you walk, to create sores or calluses. Tight shoes prohibit proper blood circulation in and out of your feet.
- Avoid exposing your feet to cold temperatures. Exposure to cold temperatures can cause a variety of health problems, such as the less serious version of frostbite known as “frostnip,” trench foot and chilblains. Trench foot occurs when the body shuts down blood circulation to the feet in an effort to retain body heat. During chilblains, cold temperatures permanently damage tiny blood vessels to cause redness and itching. Trench foot and chilblains can develop at temperatures as high as 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Do not smoke. In addition to other health conditions, smoking reduces circulation in a way that causes foot problems.
- Foot problems may be an early sign of a more serious disorder, such as arthritis, diabetes, and nerve and circulatory conditions. Consult with a physician if foot problems grow worse or do not get better in time.
Dance through life on feet that feel great. Take care of your feet today, and they will serve you well tomorrow.