Vitamin D is Important for Senior Health

Vitamin D is Still an Important Factor Regarding Senior Health

When you are involved in elderly caregiving in NY and Long Island, it’s important to remember that Vitamin D is important for senior health. The recommended amount of vitamin D for senior citizens over the age of 71 is 800 IU a day, but a simple blood test can determine if you are taking in the correct amount for your age group.

Vitamin D is a natural vitamin that the body produces in response to sunlight. Vitamin D allows the body to absorb calcium, which is important for healthy, strong bones. Unfortunately, too many elderly men and women are not getting enough vitamin D, which can lead to high blood pressure, brittle bones and autoimmune disorders.

Not Just Sun- Getting Vitamin D for Senior Health Inside

Lots of people believe they get enough Vitamin D from natural sunshine. However, elderly men and women are often deficient due to an inability to get outside. Whether because of weather limitations or limited mobility, seniors don’t necessarily have the same outdoor access as their younger counterparts.

Spending an hour or so a day in the sun is the first step, but when that isn’t an option it’s extremely easy to get the amount that you need by eating the right types of foods. Many are already fortified with this vitamin, such as milk, certain dairy products and cereals. Tuna, cheese, egg yolks, tofu and pork are just a few more vitamin D enriched foods. Supplements are also a great source of vitamin D.

Lower Health Risks to Seniors

Seniors who regularly take vitamin D will lower their risk for osteoporosis, diabetes and cardiovascular problems. Vitamin D is important for senior health, fortifying bones and offering protection in the event of an elderly fall. Your caregiver can remind you to take your vitamin D, ensuring you stay on track. For more information concerning elderly caregiving in Long Island, NY, please contact us today.

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.

Ride-Sharing For Seniors: Motivator For Technology Adoption

One of the sad facts of aging is that people lose the ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. This is largely due to deteriorating vision along with other health-related issues. Telling an aging loved one that he or she can no longer drive can be painful for all concerned (see our previous post Don’t Take Away My Car Keys, Yet!). Though it is a matter of safety it is also a matter of freedom. But ride-sharing for seniors offers freedom and safety at the touch of a button.

 

An elderly woman is smiling as she enters through the front passenger door of a car. Uber ride-sharing for seniors concept

 

Ride-Sharing For Seniors

The loss of mobility has been an unavoidable part of aging since the dawn of the automobile. Until recently, many elderly people depended on rides from friends, relatives 0r other community organizations (see our previous post No More Car for Dad or Mom, Now What?). However, technology is changing this old expectation. Ride-sharing services are now available in many communities, offering a cheap, easy, and reliable option for local travel. Offered by companies such as Uber and Lyft, ride-sharing is a convenient way for seniors to get around.

Ride-sharing for seniors ensures that your loved ones are not completely homebound or dependent upon others for rides. This option can also help lessen the blow of having to take away your loved one’s car keys. Thanks to ride-sharing services, the elderly no longer have to endure the loss of mobility that comes with age.

 

Teaching the Technology

Teaching your loved ones to use ride-sharing apps may be a necessary step to ensure their independence. Luckily, these applications they are simple enough for anyone to pick up with a few lessons. Also, they have the added benefit of concretely introducing technology to seniors and act as motivators for their adoption. Both libraries and senior centers offer technology classes to seniors, providing an excellent resource in this area. Additionally, home healthcare workers can help guide seniors through the ins and outs of the technology. With a little time and patience, you can get your elderly parent on the road in safety.

 

David York Can Help

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, please contact us at 718.376.7755. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or LinkedIn.

Helpful Technology for Seniors: Recharge Your Life

Technology has become a way of life and will only continue to increase in prevalence – even for the senior population. Instead of shying away from the latest innovations, seniors can embrace devices that have the potential to enhance their independence as well as their quality of life. There’s a wealth of helpful technology for seniors, many of whom are recharging their lives with the help of gadgets. Take a look!

Telecommunication Technology Togetherness Concept

 

Promoting Independence

Seniors typically take several medications per day and this daily task can become overwhelming. The number of medications prescribed as well as the frequency of dosages is easy to forget. The risk of medication errors has always been high but rarely addressed. However, many devices have implemented apps and voice assistants which provide reminders and alarms set to the individual’s needs. Some devices also allow family members to check on the well-being of loved ones with wireless sensors. These unintrusive devices allow seniors to remain as independent as possible.

 

Social Connections

Some seniors face feelings of isolation and are unable to readily connect with family and friends. The use of social media has helped counteract these feelings. The age of waiting for phone calls or letter to arrive is over. Now, seniors can experience the instant satisfaction of receiving brief texts, seeing pictures posted or using webcams to check in with the people they care most about.

 

Overcoming Technological Intimidation

At times, seniors have had an attitude of skepticism toward technology. This is likely due to continuous product revisions and ongoing updates and advancements. According to a Pew Research Center study, a significant majority of older adults say they need assistance when it comes to using new digital devices. A mere 18% feel comfortable learning to use new devices on their own. In contrast, 77% indicate they would need someone to walk them through the process.

To overcome this fear, seniors with tech-savvy friends or caregivers can request help as needed. Education is also provided by senior centers and libraries as well as your local Office of Aging.

 

David York Agency Can Help

Technology is always moving forward and it’s easy to feel left behind. However, embracing technology can greatly enhance the quality of life for many seniors. From promoting independence and social connections to stimulating the mind with ongoing education, technology is a great tool for seniors.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, please contact us at 718.376.7755. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or LinkedIn.

Eldercare Planning: Your Parents & Home Healthcare

Many adult children start to worry about their aging parents. They see them struggling as they get on in years and believe they would be better off with help. Eldercare planning is a difficult subject to broach (especially with seniors who are resistant to such discussions see our post on the subject), but it’s also a necessary conversation for seniors who are experiencing a decline in health or finding it hard to care for themselves.

Portrait of a young woman holding her happy grandmother

Approaching Eldercare Planning with Your Parents

Conversations about diminished capacity can be very difficult to have with your parents. They may get offended that you are worried about them and they may have no interest in hearing your viewpoint. It can be frustrating for you to make your concerns clear. However, it doesn’t have to be that way!

Here are some tips to help you through this discussion.

  • Choose the right time. Don’t think that you are going to talk to your parents when you both have five minutes. This conversation cannot be rushed. Instead, find some time that you are all free to sit down and talk.
  • If possible, include all of the children. It can be helpful if all of the children are on the same page. Otherwise, it might look like you are ganging up on your parents.
  • Be prepared with the options. It is important that you are ready to have the talk. Write down the different options that are available to your parents. Prepare a list of pros and cons, as well as the costs associated with each of them.
  • If it gets heated, take a break. The conversation may get heated, and it may be better to take a break before things get said that can’t be taken back. Leave the list of options, pros, and cons, and plan on coming back in a day or two (after your parents have had time to think).

Difficult Now, Helpful When Necessary

Talking to your aging parents about getting help can be quite difficult. However, if you find the right time and come prepared, it is more likely to go well. If not, take a break and revisit the issue once everyone has settled down. David York Agency has a Checklist and Workbook to help guide you through the discussion. Please check them out on our website.

Remember, though this discussion is difficult now, it could lead to a better future for your parents. Decide on small changes that can be implemented now and others that will be helpful down the road.

 

If eldercare planning is a concern for you and your loved ones, please consider the David York Agency. Our qualified, compassionate caregivers are ready to help. 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.

Small Changes that Make Aging-In-Place at Home Easy

Aging at home is more desirable than moving to assisted living. This is called Aging-In-Place. In fact, the AARP reports that 90% of seniors plan to age at home. However, most senior homes are not equipped for the comfort, convenience, and safety of the elderly. So, how can you or your loved one achieve a senior-friendly home?

Aging at home senior riding his stairlift with a cane in home setting.

Fortunately, floor-to-ceiling renovations are not necessary. Instead, a few small changes will go a long way to improving senior quality of life and relieving pressure on home healthcare workers.

Consider these important tips for home modifications that make aging at home easy:

 

Safety, Security, and Aging at Home

Seniors are more likely than younger people to experience falls and accidents. As such, preparing to age at home requires special attention for safety and security.

Start by tackling lighting. Sufficient lighting makes a big difference for seniors experiencing diminished eyesight. Seniors need two or three times as much light in order to see, so the addition of light fixtures and wide windows is recommended. Make sure that desks, tables and sewing machines have task lighting available. Also, consider repainting dark rooms in light, glare-free colors.

Remove throw rugs and obstacles that could cause a fall. Minimize slipping by treating non-carpeted areas with non-slip sealant. If feasible, consider swapping hardwood and tile floors for carpeting.

Don’t forget the outside of your home! Add outdoor lighting, including guide lights along paths, and clear shrubs and clutter from paths, decks, and patios.

Also, consider installing an alarm or “panic” system that allows the homeowner to call for help in the event of a fall.

 

Mobility and Convenience

If you use a walker or a wheelchair, you may need to widen your doorways. A cheaper and easier alternative is re-hanging doors with swing clear hinges. These allow the door to open all the way and make standard doors wheelchair accessible quickly and easily. Also, if your house is multi-level, you may want to install a chairlift. Finally, replace doorknobs with lever handles and standard light switches with rockers, both of which are much easier for arthritic hands.

The kitchen and bathroom are particular areas of concern in terms of convenience and safety. Step-in showers are best for seniors. A walk-in tub is another alternative, but is often more expensive. Add grab bars to showers and toilets for additional support.

In the kitchen, induction cooktops may be better than traditional stoves since there are no open flames and dishwashers with drawers reduce the need to bend down. Ensure the most-used cooking and dining supplies are in cabinets as close to eye level as possible.

 

Self-Reliance

If you are making home modifications for a senior relative, remember: they know what they need. The goal should not be to reduce their independence but to enhance it, reducing their reliance on you and home health aides while aging in their own home.

The most important thing to remember is that small changes can be better than larger ones. In many cases there are cheap and easy options that can alleviate small stresses. Even small things like “reachers” or talking clocks can make a huge difference to you or your relative’s quality of life.

 

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.

Long-Distance Caregiving: Feeling Adequate at a Distance

At a time when seniors wish to remain independent  – and in their own homes – for as long as possible, establishing a support system is essential. The act of caregiving often falls on relatives or close friends, but these caregivers are not always local and long-distance caregiving is on the rise.

Grandparents talking on the phone at the table. Long-distance caregiving

But how can you provide adequate care from a distance while maintaining the balance of your daily life?

Remaining involved in your loved one’s life, providing long-distance care, and living your own life is a difficult balance. The “sandwich generation,” – identified as middle-aged adults “sandwiched” between caring for their children and their aging parents – can be full of overwhelming and thankless tasks, but maintaining your relationship and providing care at a distance can be done!

Here are a few ways to maintain the caregiver relationship when living far away.

 

The Reality of Long-Distance Caregiving

Long-distance caregiving is an undeniable stressor. The difficulty of balancing the duties of a caregiver with work and family can be daunting and exhausting. You will have to learn to manage your time and your loved one’s time simultaneously. You will also have to adapt your schedule to include travel time as well as care time.

Expect to make sacrifices if you plan to maintain significant involvement in your loved one’s life. From missing work to rearranging appointments, your job as a caregiver will be all-encompassing. Frequent phone calls at all hours of the day and night may become a new norm. You may also take on the added expense of additional home care in order to ensure your loved one’s well-being when you cannot be present.

 

What Can I Do?

How can we accept the reality of distance as a barrier but also incorporate ways to embrace it? Finding peace of mind away from your loved one is difficult, but not impossible.

Some ways may include purchasing new forms of technology such as a fall alert system. This is a small investment ensuring that emergency personnel would respond if a loved one suffered a fall. There are also various forms of medication reminders to help loved ones take their medications at the recommended time.

Establish methods of communication that are readily available and easily understood. When utilizing the telephone, your loved one may prefer a landline with multiple cordless phones and charging stations placed around their living area. If your loved one is receptive to video chat, ensure these newfangled programs are installed properly and simplified for ease of use. Many seniors suffer from hearing and vision loss so preset the volume on devices to ensure they can hear properly. Place telephones in locations that are accessible and uncluttered.

 

Helpful Tips from the AARP:

1. Maintain your identity and embrace the characteristics and strengths that you have while incorporating them into caregiving.

2. Reprioritize as circumstances arise.

3. Get organized. Check out these David York Agency publications for the task: Workbook & Checklist.

4. Be open to accepting help whether it be with minimal daily tasks, assistance from other family and friends or hiring a home care agency.

5. “Keep filling your tank.” Caregiving requires mental and emotional energy. Allow yourself to unwind and reboot.

 

Understanding the reality of caregiving and accepting ways to embrace it may ease the struggle of long-distance caregiving. David York Agency prides itself on individualized care and maintaining the dignity of your loved one. If you need assistance, support, or an open ear in the world of caregiving, reach out today!

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, please contact us at 718.376.7755. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or LinkedIn.

Ageism, Elderspeak, and Long-Term Care

Wouldn’t you be confused if a near-stranger patted your head and called you “sweetie”, or if a nurse shouted instructions despite your excellent hearing? These behaviors are confusing and elicit irritation, but, for seniors, they are becoming more and more common. Ageism, elderspeak, and bias are an unfortunate reality for many seniors in long-term care. Seniors everywhere are struggling against the presumptions that demean them as well as the negative toll on their personal lives.

a care worker or medical professional with a senior client at her home . She is discussing the senior woman’s options on her digital tablet.

Ageism in Medicine

Ageism refers to negative stereotypes about older people that lead others to treat seniors differently from younger people. In medicine, extensive clinical evidence shows that older adults do not receive the same level of preventive care, diagnostic care or treatment as other age groups.

By speaking to residents in certain ways, long-term care workers perpetuate stereotypes about seniors. In turn, older adults may shut down or become angry at staff, which reduces their willingness to ask for help or to talk about their health concerns.

What is Elderspeak?

Elderspeak refers to a communication approach towards seniors that is based on the assumption that older people are incompetent, fragile or impaired. To some, elderspeak is unavoidable because many elders suffer from hearing loss or cognitive decline. But most seniors view elderspeak as a type of bullying that belittles their age. Elements of elderspeak include the following:

  • Speaking in a sing-song voice
  • Using baby talk
  • Talking too slowly
  • Interrupting frequently
  • Speaking loudly when it is unnecessary
  • Saying “we” instead of “you”
  • Using overly familiar endearments (“dearie,” “sweetie”) towards unfamiliar seniors
  • Using overly familiar signs of affection (hair-tousling, back-patting) towards unfamiliar seniors

Elderspeak and Dementia

Research suggests that elderspeak may be distressing to older adults, and may lead nursing home residents with dementia to act out negatively (e.g., disregard instructions, act aggressively) or to withdraw from social interactions altogether. This throws into sharp relief that even in the face of cognitive decline elderspeak has a negative impact on seniors.

Challenging Elderspeak

Several approaches can reduce the frequency of elderspeak. These include:

  • Self-awareness. Most nursing home staff do not realize that they sometimes use elderspeak to communicate with residents. This form of speech may occur among caregivers who genuinely want what is best for the people in their care. When caregivers become aware of their speech behaviors towards seniors, ageist assumptions are challenged.
  • Clear, respectful speech. Nursing staff should learn to speak to seniors in a normal, conversational way, including the use of humor when appropriate. A simple educational lecture is all the difference necessary to raise awareness among caregivers.
  • Encourage assertiveness. Not every senior will take offense at all elderspeak practices. Some seniors find nicknames such as “sweetie” or “honey”, endearing. However, when seniors are annoyed or hurt by certain utterances they can be encouraged to speak out, for example, to say, “You don’t need to yell, I have a hearing aid” or “My name is Lori, can you call me that?” By using calm, clear wording, seniors can advocate for themselves and challenge the inaccurate perceptions of others.

David York Agency provides exceptional in-home care for seniors. If you have further questions about ageism, please contact us.

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 TwitterGoogle+, or LinkedIn.

Yoga and Meditation: Proven Benefits for Senior Health

Yoga is  the preferred form of movement for many people. Meditation might be a luxury for others. However, for the aging community, regular practice of these mindful activities should be taken more seriously. They provide quantifiable benefits for overall senior health.

Group of happy seniors practising yoga for senior health

A gentle yoga class can help improve flexibility and circulation while simultaneously reducing heart rate and blood pressure. These are measurable advantages, but there are also innumerable subtle benefits that will be unique to each individual.

For some, thought processes and attitudes will become more positive, while others may experience increased tolerance to pain. The best part is that all participants will benefit from improved quality of life.

 

Just the Facts

Mindful, intentional movement, has reportedly reduced back pain and stiffness with as little as 33 minutes a day, three days a week. “Yoga and Other Low-Impact Exercise for Seniors,” a blog post published by A Place For Mom, is an excellent resource for further information. It carefully explains the many and varied advantages of a yogic practice, citing research from Harvard Medical School.

In addition to physical movement, some practices engage mantra (word repetition) and mudra (hand postures) to create dynamic brain-building exercises. One such exercise, Kirtan Kriya, has been studied extensively due to the remarkable improvements found in practitioners’ brain function.

Better recollection, mood improvement, and increased connectivity have been observed in cases incorporating a practice of only 15 minutes a day! Psychology Today notes that this minimal investment pays off exponentially with increased memory recall and verbal acuity.

The cumulative benefits of physical yogic exercise and meditative mantra can significantly improve quality of life expectations in the senior community. The aging community often focuses on attempting to reduce the negative effects of time. With yoga and meditation, it is possible to improve and re-energize the body and brain.

 

Here’s how you can take advantage of yoga’s extraordinary benefits:

 

Yoga for Senior Health

Yoga is a wonderful option for the aging senior. The best thing about yoga is that you can practice anytime, anywhere. You don’t need a mat to practice yoga just a few minutes a day.

Think about yoga as a state of mind, a way of creating an inner peace with yourself and the world. This mindset will help you get the most out of your practice.

If you’re a beginner, the AARP has some great information to get you started with basic poses. However, if you find yourself without a mat, you can practice these simple techniques.

 

Mindful Meditation

Meditation is the art of clearing your mind to create a greater awareness and appreciation of the world around you. Practicing mindful meditation as a senior can help you center your thoughts and create an inner calm.

 

Focus on Your Breathing

Pranayama, also known as yogic breathing, is the practice of breaking down your breath to help you relax. This form of yoga can help lower your heart rate and get more oxygen to your brain. It will also help your muscles relax. Just a few minutes a day of this technique can help you renew your energy for the day.

 

Practice Your Standing Poses

Standing poses allow you to work on your balance, strength, and flexibility. Incorporate a few forward folds, standing backbends and side bends to help you keep your muscles pliable. These poses will also help reinvigorate you.

 

The most wonderful thing about yoga is that it is a personal practice. Make it what you want, take from it what you need. It is a great activity for active seniors as well as those new to exercise.

 

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.

How Home Health Aides Can Prevent Foodborne Illness

preventing foodborne illness

People over 65 need to take special care to reduce their chances of contracting foodborne illness (i.e. food poisoning). Fortunately, home health aides for senior citizens can help.

Generally, food in the U.S. is usually very safe. However, food that has started to go bad or has been in a refrigerator too long may carry bacteria. This could cause illness in anyone, but is particularly dangerous for the elderly.

Toxins Especially Dangerous to Elderly

Older people process toxins in their body more slowly than younger people, so bacteria stay in their body longer. In addition, older people may have weaker immune systems, due either to chronic conditions or medications.

Seniors tend to live alone or with an elderly spouse. As such, food may often sit in the refrigerator longer and even go bad. Their lack of mobility and a normal concern about the budget on a fixed retirement income can contribute to the problem.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 48 million Americans become ill each year from foodborne illnesses. As many as 128,000 people are hospitalized annually, and 3,000 of those foodborne illnesses become fatal. Many of those affected are senior citizens or children.

Home Health Aide Can Prevent Illness

Here’s where a home health aide can help. As people age, their memory may gradually deteriorate and they may lose some of the acuity of smell and taste they once had. Smell and taste are the ways people can easily tell if food is no longer safe to eat. If an elderly parent, relative, or friend is dealing with a diminishment in those senses, a home senior care aide can examine fruits, vegetables, and meats to see if they are still fresh.

A home health aide who helps prepare food or provides company can be a safeguard against food poisoning. At David York Agency, we offer a number of home healthcare services to help ensure your elderly loved one gets the care and nutrition they need. Whether you just need someone to come over a few days a week to help prepare fresh, healthy meals or you need a full-time home healthcare assistant, we can help.

 

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 to provide you and your loved one with the assistance you need.

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

How MyPlate for Older Adults is Helping Improve Senior Care

MyPlate for Seniors

This May, the U.S. government rolled out a new version of its popular MyPlate for senior adults is a daily nutritional guide specifically tailored for the elderly. MyPlate shows a plate divided by food groups. Fruits, vegetables, protein, and other food groups are visually displayed to represent how and what healthy people should be eating daily. Now, MyPlate for Older Adults is providing a powerful tool for senior care that helps the elderly and their caregivers better understand the unique dietary needs of this age group.

According to MyPlate, at least half of older people’s daily diets should consist of nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables. Nutritionists note that these do not have to be fresh. They maintain that frozen fruits and vegetables have a nutritional profile equal to that of fresh. Furthermore, they often are easier to shop for and keep for many senior citizens.

Many believe that elderly individuals should not be wholly vegetarian, though. Proteins such as lean meats and fish, with healthy servings of high-protein dairy products, are also important to get enough iron and calcium.

Finally, MyPlate for Older Adults is unequivocal about salt: if you’re over the age of 65, don’t use it. Instead, they recommend replacing salt with spices and sodium-free sauces.

Caregivers Can Help With Good Nutrition

Good nutrition is critically important to older adults because it can prevent or slow many of the chronic conditions that are common as people age. A diet heavy in fruits and vegetables, for example, can help control diabetes. The calcium in dairy products can prevent osteoporosis. The no-salt rule is a boon to those with high blood pressure.

However, many senior citizens may not cook healthy meals on their own. Depression, lack of appetite, mobility issues, or frailty may make them less likely to stock and prepare food. Fortunately, caregivers can assist in shopping and preparing healthy meals in accordance with MyPlate. If your older loved one wants to age in place, it could make a huge difference in their ongoing health.

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 you need.

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