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.

Avoiding Heat Exhaustion

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, extreme heat causes an average of 658 deaths per year in the United States. That’s more than many natural disasters in this country! No one is more at risk from heat exhaustion and heat stroke than the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions.

Avoid spending too much time outdoors at once, but if it does happen, be aware of the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The most common signs of heat exhaustion are dehydration, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, nausea, clammy skin, and cramping. If you notice these symptoms, get indoors or in the shade immediately and drink water. Heat stroke is the more severe of the two, and symptoms include a high body temperature, alternating between chills and sweating, flushed skin, rapid breathing, and a racing heart rate. If you think you’re beginning to suffer from heat stroke, stop what you are doing immediately and seek medical assistance.

Protect yourself this summer season by following these guidelines.

  1. Limit your time outside in the hottest parts of the day: from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Even if you stay in the shade, the heat and humidity can do just as much damage without the sun being directly on you.
  2. If you must go out, ensure that you are wearing proper attire. Hats with a wide brim, loose fitted clothing, and sunscreen all help to protect you from the heat.
  3. Light colors help to reflect the sun’s rays and the heat associated with it. Whites and pastels will keep you much cooler than dark blues and blacks. Also be sure that your clothing is lightweight and loose fitting.
  4. Drink plenty of water. Fluids will keep your body hydrated and less likely to suffer the ill effects of heat exhaustion. Avoid any drinks with alcohol in them; they will only dehydrate your body and make the situation worse.
  5. Avoid exercise and other strenuous activity in the extreme heat. Work out in air conditioned gymnasiums or through activities that are cooling, such as swimming.
  6. Avoid hot areas such as attics or cars that have been outside for a long time. Cool your car down before getting in.
  7. Let your body get used to the heat. If you go on vacation to a place with temperatures that you are not accustomed to, allow a few days for your body to adapt to these new conditions before you do any kind of vigorous activity.

One of the most dangerous issues with overexertion in the summer is actually a psychological one. Many people, especially the elderly, do not want to admit when they can’t do something safely. Some would rather risk severe injury or death rather than appear weak or incapable. However, be aware of your own limitations and the seriousness of the summer weather. Don’t allow your idea of what you could do in the past keep you from taking care of your health now.

David York Agency provides skilled home health aide services for the elderly in their home and is abreast of all the latest guidelines for seniors.  We would be happy to discuss your case with you.  Please call us at (718) 376-7755 or visit our website.  You can also follow us on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

 

iPads are Great for Seniors

For many years, seniors have faced the stigma of being slow adopters of new technologies. However, as computers and graphical interfaces become more user-friendly, nearly everyone has been able to utilize them to make their lives more convenient and more accessible. Here are some of the great benefits that iPads offer to seniors.

  1. iPads offer a great deal of flexibility in terms of text and image sizes. Simply pushing your fingers apart makes the text as large as it needs to be. As eyesight fades with age, this can allow anyone to continue to read books or stay up-to-date on current events.
  2. Nothing is more troubling for seniors than feeling disconnected from their friends and loved ones. iPads give them access to email and messaging software so that they can still keep in touch. Video streaming applications such as FaceTime even allow them to chat with children, grandchildren, and friends who may live on the other side of the country.
  3. Even if motor control is a problem for some seniors, iPads have an extremely easy-to-use graphical interface. A man with arthritis may not be able to rummage through old photos in a box, but swiping from picture to picture on an iPad is a breeze. The same is true for most applications. Interacting with the iPad is often as simple as touching the icon you want. Apple prides itself on its simple touch-screen model which is ideal for many seniors.
  4. There are many great healthcare apps for seniors that will allow them to track their diet, monitor their health, and even communicate with their doctors and other healthcare providers. There are even apps that can warn loved ones of any troubling physical signs in their elderly relative.

If you do decide to get an iPad for your elderly friend or family member, take the time to talk with them about what he or she wants out of an iPad. Show them how to set it up and how these benefits will make their lives easier, safer and more fulfilling.

Having this gateway to the outside world is critical once the elderly become homebound. David York Home Healthcare Agency is very sensitive to the potential of feeling isolated and makes every effort to send caring and compassionate home health aides into the client’s home. David York Home Agency (DYA) is well versed in the problems of the elderly and all factors related to eldercare services. DYA provides certified home health aide services for the elderly in their home and is abreast of all the latest guidelines and trends for seniors.  We would be happy to discuss your case with you.  Please call for a free consultation today at (718) 376-7755 or visit our website.  You can also follow us on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Surviving a Stroke – The Tips You Need Now

Stroke – It’s a leading cause of death throughout the United States. The American Stroke Association suggests it is the fourth leading cause of death and disability in the U.S., and it can happen very fast. A recent Next Avenue post had some insights that are helpful to any household.

What Is It?

stroke recovery

There are two basics kinds of strokes. Ischemic strokes occur most frequently. A blood clot stops blood flow to the brain in cases like these. Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when the brain’s blood vessels break and bleeding occurs in the brain.

What Does it Look Like?

Strokes have very noticeable symptoms. Often there is a sudden sense of numbness or weakness on one side of the body. It’s usually noticed in the face, arm, or leg. Sometimes there is confusion, too. You may notice the individual has trouble speaking or even understanding. The person could also have trouble seeing or difficulty walking. Maintaining balance is usually an issue, too. Occasionally a severe headache will occur as well.

There are other potential symptoms of stroke, though they tend to be less frequent. There could be a sudden round of nausea. There may also be a brief loss of consciousness. Sudden pain in the face or limbs could also be a sign of stroke. Shortness of breath may also signal the onset of a stroke.

There are a few of simple tests to decide if it’s a stroke:

  1. Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
  2. Ask the person to raise his arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  3. Ask the person to say a simple sentence. Watch for garbled words and slurred speech.

If any of these symptoms are present, call 911 emergency services immediately. The “Time Lost is Brain Lost” campaign is absolutely true. The sooner medical attention is sought, the more likely it is that the person will fully or mostly recover.

To learn more about stroke and what you can do to help an individual experiencing a stroke with this Next Avenue post.

David York Agency (DYA) is skilled at recognizing the symptoms of various diseases endemic to the elderly and makes every effort to send caring and compassionate home health aides into the client’s home. DYA provides certified home health aide services for the elderly in their home and is abreast of all the latest guidelines and trends for seniors.  We would be happy to discuss your case with you.  Please call for a free consultation today at (718) 376-7755 or visit our website.  You can also follow us on FacebookTwitter, google+ and LinkedIn.

Are You the Caregiver? Tips for Caring for Yourself, too!

Caring for aging loved ones was never an easy prospect. However, up until now, caregiver stress was not such an issue. Families lived in multi-generational households and together they shared the burden of a sick or elderly loved one.

senior woman and caring daughter walking in forest

Today, families are scattered and the responsibility for care falls on the spouse to shoulder almost alone. There’s so much to consider on a daily basis, and it’s easy for their needs to get lost in the mix. The spouse usually has their own physical problems of decreased mobility, strength and pain discomfort often followed by depression. It’s clear that these caregivers need help, but is the help that is available enough to relieve the stress?

How can you ensure their needs are met while they’re working so hard to care for someone else? A recent Time Magazine blog post had several helpful tips that may prove useful if you’re in that situation.

  • Support Groups are Helpful: Often just speaking to others who are in the same situation you are day after day is a good way to connect, relax, and recharge. Local hospitals and churches sometimes offer caregiver support groups. Even the local rec center may have support programs for caregivers.
  • Look Online: Sometimes when you can’t connect in person, you may be able to connect online in a forum or via social media groups on channels like Facebook. Make certain, though, that you utilize caregiver focused groups, as those that include patients and family may have you worried you’ll step on someone else’s feelings.
  • Write: If you’re journaling, you may be able to relieve some stress. There are several different ways to handle this. Some use a gratitude journal where they record things for which they’re grateful. Others simply use a journaling space where they can vent. No matter how you use it, you’re certain to find some solace in simply recording your thoughts.
  • Get Technical: There are several apps that may help you stay organized, which can alleviate the stress of your situation. Ask others about the apps they use or do some searching to figure how what can help you keep track of those appointments and medications.

Caregiver stress can be incredible at times, but there are ways to deal with it. Read the full Time Magazine article when you have a moment, and don’t forget to enlist the help of professional caregivers, like those at the David York Agency.

David York Home Healthcare Agency is fully acquainted with all factors related to eldercare services and is always available to set up a senior care plan taking the whole patient into account. David York Agency provides skilled home health aide services for the elderly in their home and is abreast of all the latest guidelines for seniors.  Contact us at 718.376.7755 and visit our website. You can also like us on on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.

Keeping Your Cool

Summer is shaping up and it’s going to be a hot one! That can be dangerous for your health. For seniors, beating the heat is even more important than ever.

Older adults and young children are often the most at-risk groups for heat-related illnesses. Taking certain medications like beta blockers and diuretics, having medical issues like heart disease and just living alone all increase your risk for heat stress and common traits among senior citizens. Heat stress can result in minor inconveniences like heat rash or cramping or it can create serious problems like dehydration, heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Preventing heat-related illness is an important part of senior home health.

Symptoms

Keep coolPay attention to your body when it’s warm and be aware of the symptoms of heat stress, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. (This is good advice for any age.) Here are a few symptoms to watch out for when the weather gets warm:

  • Hot, dry skin.
  • Paleness, even when hot.
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Fainting

Treatments

If you or a loved one is suffering from any of the above symptoms, seek medical help immediately. Call 911 and cool the person down by getting them to shade or air conditioning as quickly as possible. Use any means necessary to cool the body’s temperature like wet towels, a hose or ice packs placed in the armpits and groin area.

Prevention

Prevention is far better than treatment. If the temperature is over 80 degrees Fahrenheit, seniors need to take precautions.

  • Make sure your AC is functioning.
  • Younger people should check on older loved ones often.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Stay indoors if the heat index is high.
  • Discuss all your medications with your doctor to learn which can increase your risk of heat-related illnesses.

Keep your cool this summer and maintain your health.

David York Agency provides skilled home health aide services for the elderly in their home and is abreast of all the latest guidelines for seniors.  We would be happy to discuss your case with you.  Please call us at (718) 376-7755 or visit our website.  You can also follow us on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

 

Aging Well

Have you ever heard someone use the phrase “aging well”? It usually refers to a person’s looks but aging well can mean so much more. It’s not just about wrinkles, sagging and spots. It’s really about health.

AgingWell

Aging well means maintaining your health. A healthy body is naturally more attractive but that’s really just a side benefit of a healthy body, mind and spirit. Here are a few ways you can start aging gracefully no matter if you are 19 or 90.

 

Choose good foods.

You really are what you eat. Science has proven that over and over again. What we put into our bodies has so much influence on how well they operate. Make good choices starting at a younger age and you’ll thank yourself when you’re older.

Whole foods are always best. Choose foods that are processed as little as possible. You want your plate to be full of real food, grown from the earth and not a laboratory experiment. Leave the packaged foods and shrink-wrapped treats at the store and make an effort to eat for nutrition and not convenience.

Think about color when you make a plate. Colorful vegetables and whole grains have more nutrients than beige food. Try to eat deep greens more often. Opt for lean proteins and healthy fats like olive oil instead of fatty cuts.

Move more.

Your body was made to move. The more you move, the better you will feel. Patients of all ages with chronic conditions like fibromyalgia, MS and arthritis find relief in gentle exercise. If you want to stay healthy well into your golden years, begin an exercise program now.

Many local senior centers, community centers, gyms and YMCAs have excellent programs made just for active older adults and senior citizens. Water exercise, chair aerobics and strength training are popular choices. Look for something that you can enjoy and stick with in the long term. If you aren’t able to get out of the house for exercise, look into home healthcare services that may be able to provide qualified help like physical therapy.

Don’t forget to exercise your mind and spirit.

Most studies show that people who are involved in activities that challenge the mind and feed the soul stay in better physical health and suffer less depression as well. Some show that the progress of dementia and perhaps even Alzheimer’s can be delayed with cognitive exercise. Don’t forget that you are made up of more than a body. Your overall health includes your mind and spirit too.

Take up hobbies that stimulate your mind. Learn something new by taking adult education classes at your local community college. Engage your friends in word games and puzzles. Get familiar with the local library and read, read, read!

Find activities that soothe and feed your spiritual side too. Your preferred place of worship is always a good place to start. There are also local charities that could use your life skills and knowledge like food banks and afterschool programs. You can spend a little time improving the world and yourself in the process.

When you think about aging well, think about your whole self and what you want your later years to be like. The choices you make today will determine the quality of those years to come.

At David York Agency, we could provide direction as to how to manage the total care of your senior loved one. Please call us at (718) 376-7755 or visit us on our website DavidYorkAgency.com to become acquainted with all we offer. Please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.

Staying Home Longer

For most seniors, the goal is to stay in their own home for as long as possible. Perhaps a more reasonable goal would be to stay in your home as long as it’s safe. There are certain dangers in remaining at home for older adults, especially if they live alone. Home healthcare services can help make staying at home safer and healthier for an older adult.

StayingHomeSome of the biggest issues for seniors who wish to stay in their own home have to do with physical safety, household maintenance, social isolation, health care and personal care. All can pose a threat to the bodily health or emotional, mental state of an older adult. Most of these challenges can be effectively addressed for a significant length of time with in home care for elderly loved ones.

Health and Personal Care

When a senior begins having trouble performing the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), it is time to consider help. It’s often the little things like oral and dental care, grooming and bathing that being a senior citizen to care facilities. The ability to take care of these items on a daily basis often determines whether or not a senior can safely remain at home. A qualified home health care aide will ensure that a senior’s personal care needs are met. Medically, even with a good memory, it’s easy to forget a dose of medication. The home health aide can remind the client to take their medication, thereby ensuring that a senior’s medical needs are met.

Household Maintenance

For some seniors, running the vacuum or mopping the floor is an arduous if not impossible task. Simple home upkeep can be overwhelming and small repairs often go undone. Even making a nutritious meal seems too much to do. A little help with light housekeeping and meal preparation can help a senior stay in their home.

Social Isolation

Never discount the value of companionship and conversation. Personal interaction makes a huge difference in a person’s attitude and mood. A home health aide can accompany a senior on a walk, a few errands or a fun outing and help keep them safe while providing much-needed social opportunities.

For those seniors who wish to remain in their current homes, home health aide and care services can help make that wish come true.

When home healthcare becomes necessary, David York Agency provides skilled home health aide services. Visit our website at David York Agency – providing healthcare professionals to the elderly and infirm, with the highest degree of personal service. Call us at 718.376.7755