5 Low-Impact Exercises for Active Seniors

Senior Exercise

The aging process doesn’t mean you should give up on exercise. In reality, it is just as important to work toward fitness now, as it was in your teens. A  study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has found that too few people over 50 participate in regular physical activity. More than a quarter of adults in this age group are at higher risk for diabetes, cancer and heart disease. A lack of exercise can exacerbate typical risk factors. With the ageism in medicine that we have spoken about in the past, the importance of senior physical activity is rarely emphasized.

The CDC recommends that adults get at least thirty minutes of exercise five days a week. Maintaining this level of activity can help manage and prevent chronic diseases. Seniors will also be able to maintain their good health and to live independently for longer. Regular exercise can also help with balance, depression and arthritis pain.

There are lots of low-impact exercises for active seniors, and studies have shown an array of health benefits which will ultimately improve quality of life.

Portrait of smiling senior couple exercising at home

Of course, not all exercises are created equal, and finding the right activity for your lifestyle and physical limitations is important. Take some time to research senior-centric programs and find the best fit for you.

To get you started, we’ve compiled a list of 5 low-impact exercises that are suitable for seniors.

 

Low-Impact Exercises for Seniors

 

Barre Class

Based on exercises utilized in ballet, barre classes focus on strength, flexibility, and balance. Seniors will also appreciate the barre for the safety it provides. They can grab onto it to prevent falls. This is a flexible format that provides options available that allow you to customize your experience. Do you need lighter weights? No problem. You can also perform wall push-ups instead of traditional push-ups.

 

Silver Sneakers

Designed specifically for the elderly, the Silver Sneakers senior fitness program offers low-impact exercises for active seniors. Classes include targeted instruction and proven results. Happily, it’s compatible with many insurance carriers, including Medicare! Visit your local gym to learn more about Silver Sneakers classes, availability, and focus. Strength, balance, and cardio classes are available at participating gyms, giving you the freedom to choose a course that suits your needs.

 

Zumba Gold

If dancing is your passion, Zumba Gold classes are designed for you! Built around simple choreography, these classes will get your blood pumping. Seniors can enjoy all the wonderful music that makes Zumba so great, and get an age-appropriate workout.

 

Pickleball

Pickleball is a combination of badminton, tennis, and ping-pong. Although it’s a fast sport, it is low impact and easy to follow. Commonly played on an adapted tennis or basketball court, the playing area is small, limiting the amount of movement necessary to play. The paddles resemble a cross between ping-pong and racquetball paddles, the ball is similar to a whiffle ball, and the nets are much lower. You can usually find pickleball at community centers as well as senior centers. Play with 2, 3 or 4 players and enjoy a different experience every time.

 

Line Dancing

This form of exercise is also social entertainment. You and your friends will arrange yourselves in lines and perform a choreographed dance in unison. Line dancing is a great way to get moving and have some fun. No instructor needed, just plenty of friends willing to participate.

 

These are just a few of the low-impact exercises for active seniors. With a little research and persistence, you can find an activity that speaks to you and actively improves your health.

 

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us online or by phone at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide how to provide your loved ones with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

Eldercare Planning: Tips for the Future

It’s never too early to start planning for your golden years; in fact, the best time to plan is well before you actually need care. Eldercare planning is a necessity, and preparing for your future is simple if you know the steps. The process can help you create a strategy that ensures you live the life you envision for yourself. Plus, laying out your information, needs, and expectations will prevent any last-minute scrambling should something unexpected occur.

Of course, if you or your senior loved one haven’t planned for eldercare yet, it’s never too late to start.

eldercare services

Assembling the Necessities

Lots of people put off eldercare planning. Whether it’s due to stubbornness, optimism, or ignorance, it is a necessity that isn’t on everyone’s radar. However, if this planning is left undone, it can put an unnecessary burden on children or spouses.

To help you avoid this pitfall, David York Agency has published a workbook and checklist to assist you in this task. These links will take you to these publications. Contact our office if you would like hard copies mailed to you.

Here are some tips on what information you can start putting together now. Start by creating a simple document that includes the following information. This simple document will help others help you when the time comes.

  1. Professionals including your doctors, financial advisers, attorney, accountant and any others, along with their contact information.
  2. Create a file with your important documents (or copies) such as your social security card, insurance papers, birth/marriage/divorce certificates, detailed medical information (including allergies, medications, immunizations, etc.), Medicare/Medicaid card, passport, deeds, titles, etc.
  3. Financial information with account numbers, locations, and contact information.
  4. All sources of income from investments, annuities, salaries, and other benefits.
  5. Recurring bills from mortgages and utilities to loans and auto-renewing subscriptions, services, and deliveries.
  6. Sensitive computer information including passwords, email accounts and online billing.
  7. Estate planning and end-of-life documents such as your will, burial arrangements, funeral services preferences, property distribution, disability and retirement plans, Do No Resuscitate (DNR) order, etc.

No detail is too small to help ease the burden to your family and protect you if the need arises. By starting to compile this information as early as possible, you and your family will be prepared for any eventuality.

Planning for Home Healthcare

David York Home Healthcare Agency is well acquainted with the issue of planning for home care and can provide valuable input as you chart your course. Should you need home healthcare help, please contact us to determine the best possible professional care for your family’s needs.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide your loved one with the care and assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or LinkedIn.

Exercise Can Delay Dementia

What is Dementia?

Dementia is a type of cognitive decline characterized by memory loss, communication difficulties, and impaired thinking. Dementia is a growing concern for aging populations. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 47 million people have dementia worldwide. WHO also estimates 75 million people will be affected by dementia by 2030. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, an estimated 60 to 80 percent of patients suffering from dementia also have Alzheimer’s disease.

Dementia is not a normal part of the aging process, and signals damage to the brain. Doctors have long advocated a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of dementia. A new study finds that exercise may also play a vital role in helping to delay dementia.

Group Of Seniors Enjoying Dancing Club Together

 

Study Results

Results of this ground-breaking study were published in the September 2017 issue of Scientific Reports. The study found that mice who ran on a wheel for one week had more new neurons in their brains than those of mice who did not run. Neurons are brain cells that transmit information to other parts of the body and provide direction.

Since dementia patients have damaged neurons, the creation of healthy neurons through exercise is a fantastic find. Researchers surmise that exercise can help change brain cells in humans, protecting them from the onset of dementia as well as ensuring a higher quality of life.

 

Exercising to Delay Dementia

Though the study focused on running, there are many other ways for seniors to stay active and keep their brains healthy. Here are four types of exercise to help seniors stay mentally and physically active:

  • Aerobic exercise, or cardio, gets the heart pumping. Some examples of easy aerobic exercises for seniors include jogging, brisk walking, or dancing. Chair-based aerobic programs are also available.
  • Flexibility exercises help seniors maintain good posture and normal a range of movement. Examples of flexibility exercises include stretching and yoga.
  • Strength exercises benefit seniors’ muscles and bones. Examples of strength exercises for seniors include lifting light weights or using resistance bands.
  • Balance exercises can help seniors stay steady on their feet and prevent falls. Tai chi as well as yoga are a popular balance exercises among seniors.

When starting any exercise routine, it’s important for seniors to start out slowly and listen to their bodies. Seniors with medical conditions should also consult a doctor before beginning any type of exercise regimen. Be sure to find trainers that are specially trained to work with the elderly.

Have your trainer lay out a safe exercise plan and have it approved by your healthcare practitioners. David York Agency has a handy workbook that can help.

Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and it can help seniors maintain a healthy body and a healthy mind.

 

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide your loved one with the care and assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or LinkedIn.

What is Ageism in Medicine?

Today, there is an unfortunate epidemic that is affecting the elderly. This problem is the result of biases, misconceptions, and assumptions, and we refer to it as “ageism in medicine.”

Consider this: a doctor tells a 75-year-old woman that there is no need to take blood pressure medication because hypertension is a “normal” part of aging. Miles away, a research study about the side effects of a cholesterol-lowering medication includes no research subjects over the age of 60. In addition, the drug in question is most commonly prescribed to the elderly. What’s wrong with this picture?

These stories have one theme in common. They reflect a serious social issue called medical ageism, a phenomenon that affects millions of American seniors.

 

What is Ageism in Medicine?

Ageism is described as the “systematic stereotyping of, and discrimination against, people because they are old.” In medicine, ageism results in deficiencies in the medical care that older adults receive.

It is a fact that the elderly receive less aggressive medical prevention, detection, and treatment than younger adults. As a result, greater rates of preventable disability and early mortality occur among this age group.

Ageism is everywhere. It occurs at the institutional level, as evidenced by the lack of training provided in geriatric medicine. It also happens at the individual level. For instance, a nurse avoids spending time with her senior patients because they are “depressing.”

 

Examples of Ageism in Medicine

  • Only 40% of older Americans receive routine health care screenings for high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol. This occurs despite the fact that these conditions worsen with age.
  • Only 10% of older Americans receive prostate and colon cancer exams even though early intervention is crucial for treating these diseases.
  • A doctor complains that his next patient is a “difficult old lady” who is a “trainwreck” waiting to happen.
  • A 70-year-old widower tells his doctor that he is always sad and has lost a lot of weight. The doctor doesn’t refer the man for depression screening despite the fact that the suicide rate for elderly white men is higher than it is for any other group in America.

The list goes on.

 

How Can I Help?

If you are a healthcare provider or professional caregiver

  • Seek out training opportunities in geriatric care and medicine.
  • Be mindful of any implicit biases (prejudices you may not be aware of) that affect how you perceive and interact with older adults.
  • Be aware of the language you use to describe older patients. Phrases like  “cranky old-timer” and “sweet old lady” may seem harmless, but they can perpetuate stereotypes about older adults.

If you are a family member or caregiver

  • Be assertive in ensuring that your loved one receives routine, preventative care. Do not assume that her physician’s office will automatically conduct regular screenings.
  • Help empower your senior relative to have a plan before talking to the doctor.
  • Educate yourself about ageism in medicine and become an advocate for your older relative.

 

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free consultation will help determine what services your loved one needs. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or LinkedIn.

Lack of Geriatric Specialists Creates Medical Ageism

The number of geriatric medical health caregivers is not keeping pace with the increasing number of older Americans. In addition, there is a lack of adequate training in the field of geriatric medicine as well as an insufficient amount of hands-on clinical experience. While physicians may have experience dealing with senior patients in their practice, they don’t have the same broad base of knowledge specific to the elderly as physicians who specialize in geriatric medicine. Unfortunately, this all adds up to a lack of geriatric specialists and ageism in senior medicine.

 

Lack of geriatric specialists

 

Focusing on Geriatric Problems

According to the AARP, specialists in fields such as oncology, urology, and neurology focus on these specific fields, but neglect to study the particulars of accumulated diseases in the elderly. Seniors accumulate medical issues over a lifetime, and these problems require a different medical approach. Geriatric healthcare professionals also understand the necessity of high level compassion and communication when handling older patients. Often, doctors discuss their senior patients’ prognosis or treatment with family members, bypassing the patient altogether. This creates a feeling of invisibility and lack of respect.

 

Geriatric Specializations: The Facts

Research conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) shows that most existing medical training does not cover the scope of the special needs and diverse conditions of older patients. In addition, medical students are not choosing geriatrics as a specialty. The following data demonstrates this problem:

  • fewer than 8,000 physicians are certified in geriatrics
  • less than 1 percent of pharmacists have geriatric certification
  • less than 1 percent of registered nurses specialize in geriatrics
  • fewer than 2,000 doctors specialize in geriatric psychiatry

 

Changing the System

Geriatric specializations need to be taken more seriously. First, there need to be more programs that offer this specialty. Next, – what with the rising population of elderly patients –  it should be made a more established path into medicine. We must see geriatric focus in healthcare programs for primary care doctors and offered as a specialty by more educational facilities. Above all, medical institutions should make geriatric medicine more attractive to those choosing a specialty.

Seniors benefit in many ways from seeing geriatric specialists; not only is their overall healthcare and quality of life better, but they are hospitalized less often and can lead more independent lives. This, in turn, lowers overall medical costs and creates a healthier generation of Americans. Ageism in medicine is an unfortunate reality. However, the right information can lead to improvement.

 

When you need home healthcare for a senior in your family, contact us. Our licensed practical nurses (LPN), registered nurses (RN), certified personal care aides (PCA) and certified home health aides (HHA) are ready to help. We employ professionals trained in the care and needs of geriatric patients. Let us can help your loved one live a more independent, fulfilled life.

Elderly Ageism in Medicine: Lack of Geropsychologists

The American Psychological Association (APA) reports on an ageist trend in medicine today:

A severe lack of geropsychologists to serve our rapidly aging society that requires specialized care and an ageist trend preventing elderly patients from using them.

Mental health issues among older Americans take on many forms, from depression and anxiety to behavioral health problems and difficulty adjusting to aging. Unfortunately, seniors see mental health issues as stigmas and are often too embarrassed to seek help.

Ageism in medicine is a growing trend.

 

Geropsychology: Fast Facts

According to the APA, there are only 10-15 geropsychology programs currently available and only 4.2% of psychologists specialize in geropsychology.  Furthermore, only 39% of practicing psychologists say they have treated patients over age 65.

Elderly: Fast Facts

  • approximately 20.4% of people 65 and older have some kind of mental disorder;
  • 15-20% of seniors have or have experienced depression;
  • 5.4 million seniors over 65 have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s (1 of every 8 people)
  • chronic health issues affect about 80% of older people and  60-65% have multiple conditions

Geropsychology Is Critically Important

Geropsychologists  help seniors (and their families) handle health issues specific to the elderly. As such, they can help older people enhance their overall feeling of wellbeing and encourage setting personal goals despite health problems.

It is extremely important that seniors experiencing depression or anxiety receive specialized professional help. According to the APA, depression, and anxiety affect the immune system, making patients susceptible to disease, infections, cancer and heart problems. Also, existing medical conditions can lead to depression and elevate risk factors.

Worse yet, depression can lead to suicide. The APA reports that depressed seniors are more likely to commit suicide than younger patients. This happens at a rate of 14.22 out of every 100,000. Furthermore, when they do attempt suicide, they are more likely to succeed.

Elderly Ageism At Play

Rather than seeking psychological counseling, many seniors experiencing mental or behavioral health issues turn to their primary care physicians. Many of these doctors do not refer their patients appropriately.

  • Probably due to the expectation that seniors are naturally “blue” considering their health status and loss of independence. This is the very definition of elderly ageism. This attitude is precisely why elderly patients do not get the care they are entitled to.
  • On a practical level, doctors may be hesitant to refer patients to mental health programs since many are not covered by insurance. Retired fixed incomes may not lend themselves easily to this kind of added expense.
  • Finally, logistics may be a barrier. Many seniors do not have access to reliable transportation and escorts.

Still, given the potential gravity (and possibly fatality) of the situation, doctors should be more willing to work around these obstacles. After all, for a younger person doctors would be afraid not to.

Overcoming the Problem

We can help. The David York Agency’s has ties to Project HEAL who help seniors struggling with depression through their government grant. Our highly qualified caregivers provide seniors with companionship both at home and to any of their appointments. They also provide the assistance they need to get the most from their golden years.

Contact us – together we can assess your needs and establish the proper care level for you or your family member or loved one. For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

Benefits of Home Health Aides for COPD Patients

home health aide checking blood pressureAccording to the American Lung Association, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema – is a chronic lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. It is also the third leading cause of death in the United States.

Sufferers of COPD compare breathing to pinching your nose while sucking air through a straw. A coffee stirrer, to be exact. Imagine going through your daily activities like that. Getting dressed, cooking a meal, or simply bathing becomes daunting. The difficulty of breathing for patients with COPD worsens over time, limiting daily activities.

Most caregivers in the United States are family members. As reported by the National Alliance for Caregiving, approximately 34.2 million Americans have provided unpaid care to an adult aged 50 or older in the past 12 months.

The benefits of home healthcare services for people living with COPD.

Home health aides provide quality, personalized home care to the elderly and disabled. Having an aide to monitor and evaluate respiratory symptoms is one of the major benefits of home health care.

Aides are also available to remind patients to take medications, assist with physical and occupational routines, and provide companionship. Since dust and allergens are harmful to patients with COPD, aides can provide homemaking care by dusting, changing linens, and doing laundry. Registered nurses are also on call 24 hours a day to guide the home health aides and answer questions. This allows the family and patient to spend quality time together instead.

The home health aides at David York Home Healthcare Agency can help lighten the load of the ‘sandwich generation’ – from family members who probably work full-time while also caring for a loved one – young and old.

The professionals at David York Home Healthcare Agency communicate with doctors and families to develop individualized care for every patient. For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you determine what services might be best for you and your loved ones.

If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

Senior Care: Managing Elderly Onset Lupus

woman being wheeled in a wheel chair

If you have Elderly Onset Lupus, you know the challenges of managing this disease and how important having a good support system is.

Watching for triggers and symptoms gives patients and caregivers better control over the disease. Monitoring the disease with regular check-ups is important. Open and honest communication with family, caregivers, and home health aides ensure the proper steps are always being taken.

Limit the Triggers

  • Stress can cause a lupus flare. Avoiding overly stressful situations is sure to improve both your overall health and quality of life. As you struggle with this disease, limiting your schedule and obligations may help.
  • Yoga, exercise, and meditation are great for keeping in shape and focused in addition to being great ways to reduce stress. Skilled practitioners can help develop an exercise routine and provide physical and/or occupational therapy if needed.
  • Ultraviolet light can trigger lupus. Always cover your legs, arms, and head when outdoors and remember to apply sunscreen.
  • Healthy eating habits help to boost your immune system. Home health aides can assist in shopping for and preparing well-balanced meals.

David York Home Healthcare Agency Can Help

Alongside family and friends, home health aides from the David York Agency can help manage your treatment plan from home. Depending on your case, home health aides offer a variety of services such as a nurse assessment and monitoring by a supervising nurse. Home health aides assist with bathing, grooming, and dressing as well as household chores. Additionally, home health aides provide much-needed companionship.

We encourage you to be involved in the planning of your home care, and we support all your rights as a homecare client. Our professionals are certified, and we take pride in providing the highest degree of personal service.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

Contact us today with any questions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recover from Cataract Surgery with Assistance

woman eye exam

Our sight diminishes with age, which naturally has an impact on our quality of life and our ability to live independently. According to the CDC, 20.5 million Americans over the age of 40 suffer from cataracts.  The good news is that cataracts disease is treatable with cataract surgery. With a little help, continuing to live on your own is entirely possible.

The National Eye Institute defines a cataract as “a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision.” This cloudiness can affect one or both eyes and is not transferred from one eye to the other. As people age, the proteins in the eyes can clump together, forming the cloud over the lens. Smaller clumps may not affect vision, but they will continue to grow over time. A cataract may also change the color of the lens of the eye, gradually tinting it brown. Some of the symptoms that cataract sufferers will notice include: blurry vision, faded colors or inability to identify blues and purples, double vision, and poor night vision.

New glasses and brighter lighting in your home may provide temporary relief. However, if cataracts interfere with daily activities, the only truly effective treatment is surgery. The operation is simple, but it may require anesthesia (depending on your risk factors and personal preference). Care after surgery can be crucial in ensuring your eyesight returns appropriately.

In the first couple of days after surgery, you will experience mild discomfort. In the first few weeks, your doctor will recommend you avoid heavy lifting and bending at the waist. Healing is not fully complete for eight weeks. During your recovery period, home health care services could be of great assistance to you.

YOU’LL NEED HELP

After surgery, a home health aide can assist with housekeeping duties, grocery shopping, and transportation to and from follow-up doctor’s appointments. In addition, a home healthcare agency has supervising registered nurses to give direction and guidance to the home health aides. This can be a significant aid during recovery as there are risks associated with cataract surgery. While problems like loss of vision, infection, bleeding, and inflammation are rare, having someone there to provide insight and help get you prompt medical attention can prevent permanent damage.

If you are suffering from cataracts and are considering cataract surgery, contact us to discuss how we can assist with your individual needs. Cataract surgery can improve your quality of life and preserve your independence. Let our quality, personalized home care aid you back to healthy vision.

At David York Agency, it is our mission to provide the highest-quality support services to the aged, infirmed, and disabled. Our highly trained and vetted professionals can provide your family with a level of in-home assistance that meets your needs.

For more information about our qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best for you and your loved ones.

If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or LinkedIn.

Caregiver Stress Needs to Be Taken Seriously

Caregiver Stress Needs Serious Attention

Caregiver Stress is Real

Caregivers experience stress just as frequently as anyone else. Unfortunately, they are often dismiss it. It’s assumed that caregiver stress is an expectation that comes with the job. People feel that the stress should be tolerated, like learning to cope with long, boring commutes.

Caregiver Stress Has Medical Consequences

In fact, caregiver stress can cause demonstrable medical problems. Those who take on the responsibility of caring for aging or ailing individuals need to stay healthy themselves. They should not fall into the trap of denial. Just because they’re helping others does not mean they won’t need help themselves. Round-the-clock care can lead to running on lack of sleep or lack of food – both causes of declining health. Caregivers do not receive the amount of healthcare monitoring they themselves deliver, so self-care is exceedingly important.

Patients Can Suffer As a Result of Caregiver Stress

When caregivers deny their own health needs, it isn’t just negative for them. According to some recent research from UC Berkeley, patients suffering from dementia will have a shorter life expectancy if their caregivers experience persistent untreated anxiety or depression.

As many as 40 percent of dementia caregivers suffer from depression. Though the problem is widespread, it is rarely discussed. Those who experience caregiver stress should not feel as if the problem is unusual or that it reflects poorly on them as people. The job is fraught with emotional and physical realities that are often sad. These sad realities naturally lead to stress often culminating in depression. This occupational hazard is an issue that needs to be addressed.

Working Through Caregiver Stress

There are many resources available for caregiver stress, including groups that provide social support and therapists who specialize in helping people cope with caregiver stress. Of course, many people will be able to overcome caregiver stress if they reach out to others in order to get some help with their responsibilities.

Home health aides can work with caregivers in order to provide the best possible standards of assistance for the patients. Being a caregiver is difficult, and getting more support can make all the difference in the world.

An Additional David York Agency Service

David York Home Healthcare can refer you to an agency to help you work through the caregiver stress and feelings of depression you may be experiencing. We can also recommend services that target depression in the elderly, should your loved one be experiencing mental health problems. Please contact us for more information on caregiver stress and related issues.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.