Posts Tagged ‘Aging well’

Ways for Seniors to Improve Mental and Physical Health

December 8th, 2016 by Doris Bersing
Living Well, Be active as you grow olderEasy Ways for Seniors to Stay Healthy

In a time where daily stress is almost a given, it’s important for us to take care of ourselves.

Seniors, especially, need to find healthy ways to cope with stress and anxiety as well as ways to actively improve physical and mental well-being. Fortunately, there are many ways to do that, and most of them are more simple than you might think. Here are a few of the best.

Engage in daily exercise

Exercise is important for everyone, but for individuals over the age of 50, it’s imperative. Getting in at least thirty minutes of workout time every day will help improve your mood and overall health, and it might be a good way to socialize, as well. Start a walking group with friends or neighbors, or invite your spouse or coworker to a swim aerobics class. Having someone to talk to will make you look forward to working out rather than dreading it.

Consider a pet

If you don’t already have a pet, consider getting a dog or cat. Animals can help reduce anxiety and even lower blood pressure, and they are wonderful companions. Dogs are also great motivators on days when you don’t feel like exercising, because they’ll always be up for a walk!

Stay in touch

When life gets hectic, we sometimes forget to stay in touch with loved ones. Make it a point to sit down and write a letter to someone you care about, or give them a call. Set aside time on a specific day every week to do it so you’ll have no trouble remembering.

Eat well

Your diet can have a very specific impact on your health and how you feel, so make sure you’re not overloading on refined sugars and carbs, which can make you feel sluggish. Lots of leafy greens, fish, nuts, and fresh fruit will go a long way toward helping you feel better in every way.

Get some rest

You might think you’re getting enough sleep, but if you feel tired all day it’s possible you need to take another look at your habits. Are you lying awake for a long time at night? Taking long naps during the day? Try staying away from the television, computer, or smartphone for an hour or two before bedtime. Instead, read a book or take a long hot shower. Get yourself relaxed before bed to ensure you’ll sleep and feel rested when you get up.

Get creative

For retirees, especially, the days can seem long and uninspired. If you find yourself feeling unfulfilled, try a new hobby. Get creative and take up a painting class, or try gardening or woodworking. Allowing yourself to create things and try something new will open up a whole new world, and you may just find happiness there.

Staying active and keeping your mind healthy and alert will ensure you’ll be feeling good and ready to tackle anything, no matter what your age is.

Living at Home and Understanding Dementia Symptoms

April 23rd, 2015 by Doris Bersing

Understanding DementiaHaving a loved one diagnosed with dementia, including Alzheimer’s,  is a very hard circumstance and can be very challenging. Most of the times you want to keep them living at home, and provide the home care for the dementia or Alzheimer’s care they need. However, people get distanced from the one suffering from Dementia since they can barely recognize you; thus it is important to understand the symptoms of dementia and become a step closer to your elderly parents.

Nobody wants to see their aging parent struggle with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Sadly, there are things in life we can’t control, like incurable diseases that could materialize after a certain age. When someone gets dementia, their relationships, priorities, and perceptions on life take an unexpected turn. Nevertheless, certain forms of dementia can be kept under control, reversed and even treated if caught on time. If you have an aging parent, it’s only natural to become concerned with their wellbeing. Are they eating right? Are they becoming more forgetful? Are they in pain? These are questions most concerned children ask themselves on a daily basis.

A 70-year old parent may forget things from time to time, but if you notice that their memory loss becomes intense, then it might be a cause of cognitive decline. Dementia can be identified in many ways. First, you must understand the disease. The more you know the higher chances you have to save your parent and stop the health condition from advancing.

Understanding symptoms of dementia

Dementia is not a sole health condition but a collection of numerous symptoms, and some of the most common are changes in personality, memory loss, and impaired intellectual functions that could result from trauma or disease to the brain. These changes are not normal aging signs, and their side effects are severe enough to impact someone’s daily living, relationships and independence forever. Even though Alzheimer’s is one of the most widespread forms of dementia, there are many others, including mixed and vascular dementia.

If you suspect that your parent may suffer from this dreadful illness, then some of the changes will be noticeable. Remembering, communication, learning and problem solving will become difficult endeavors to accomplish. These are changes that can happen fast, or develop slowly in time. The outcome and progression of dementia differ, but are mainly determined by the form of dementia suffered and side of the brain affected. A specialist in the medical field will provide a complete diagnosis after the patient has undergone a series of tests, clinical exams, and brain scans.

What triggers dementia?

A healthy brain’s mass begins to decline in adulthood. However, this fascinating organ-machine of ours keeps forming vital connections even if we age, thus keeping us sane. When these connections are misplaced because of injury, inflammation, or disease, brain neurons begin to die. The result – dementia; it’s certainly traumatic to see a loved one go through such a horrifying disease. This is why it is important for adults to interfere as soon as the first signs materialize in their aging parent. The faster a doctor understands the cause, the better chances he has to recommend a treatment.

Caring for a parent with dementia

In the United States, there are roughly 10 million people who take care of a parent with dementia. Most of these at-home caregivers are women. It’s tough to do this job and at the same time have a family on your own. But since we’re talking about a parent, you wouldn’t want anyone else to take care of them.

Becoming a caregiver to a sick parent is tough. If you’re an adult and you have kids, you must accept that your aging parent may also have the behavior of a 5-year old. Given that dementia affects the brain, memory loss is not the only disturbing symptom. Many adults don’t want to move their loved one to a nursing home. In general, it’s not because they can’t afford the costs but because they’ve over protective.

Professional care can be good for an elderly suffering from dementia

The option of Home care or aging in pace and caring at home for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s is still an option for some. However, one size does not fit all. Living Well Assisted Living at Home in San Francisco and Marin County recognizes that home care for senior with dementia is an alternative but also, believe it or not, today’s healthcare facilities and nursing homes are no longer what they used to be. Some of these hospices provide exceptional comfort. They also feature all kinds of activities for patients, and they have professional personal taking care of your loved one 24/7. Making the decision and moving your parent to a facility is not something you want to do. But it is necessary.

Only an equipped facility can offer the best care for your loved one. At-home caregiving is great, but it’s still not enough to make the patient feel appreciated. A specialized facility comes with lots of programs, socializing sessions, and other therapies meant to stimulate your parent’s brain and ensure he remains in good physical health for as long as possible.

In collaboration with  Edward Francis and Foresthc.com!

Technology To Stay at Home and Age in Place

September 23rd, 2013 by Doris Bersing

Living Well Senior Care in San Francisco(From HUFFPOST 23 Sep 2013)

Dr. Ruth Bettelheim advocates for the use of new technology that would enable disabled people to live independently and elders to age in place. Dr. Bettelheim said,  recently on a post at the Huffington Post Blog the following: “…We’ve already waited too long to put the digital revolution to work for our most vulnerable. As a nation, though, we can do more to create new, affordable options for patients and their families.

At Living Well Assisted Living at Home, we have advocated for long time for the use of Gero-technology that will lower the cost of home care. Mainly in urban cities like San Francisco and the greater Bay Area senior care services and home care can be very high and prohibitive, creating a huge burden to family members and loved ones. Although as Dr. Bettelheim says “…there isn’t an app yet for keeping a mentally challenged patient safe in her own home with dignity and privacy. But national fiscal interest, moral integrity, and our own self-interest, dictate that there should be..” and yes indeed, these days there are many user friendly and low cost technologies,  to give choices to elders and peace of mind to family members.
The article continues also praising the possibilities that these technologies bring to family members who care for mentally challenged individuals: “…Recent technological advances offer the possibility of restoring independence and dignity to mentally challenged adults while easing the burden on families, for a fraction of current costs.

In a nation that values liberty and the pursuit of happiness, there are few greater tragedies than the routine incarceration of millions of individuals who suffer from mental disabilities, developmental impairments, or the debilitating dementia that affects up to 25% of our elderly population. However, recent technological advances offer the possibility of restoring independence and dignity to mentally challenged adults while easing the burden on families, for a fraction of current costs…”

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Yet another reason to age in place

September 9th, 2013 by Doris Bersing

High Tech High Touch.pptA good friend of mine who is a estate planner lawyer (Elizabeth Krivatsy) shared with me, this link via e-mail and call it “…Yet another reason to age in place…” The article refers to fatal cases in an assisted living facility in San Diego that raise questions about family choices, and state oversight. The article continues with a staggering statistic where “…at least 27 San Diego County seniors have died since 2008 from injuries and neglect suffered in the facilities…”

This brings up the recent “boom” of aging in place and although perhaps aging in place is not for everybody, it seems that 99% of us want to age in our homes.

The Center for Disease Control defines aging in place as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.”

In December 2011, AARP Policy Institute and the National Conference of State Legislatures released a report entitled, “Aging in Place: A State Survey of Livability Policies and Practices”to foster aging in place by giving state legislators examples of how laws, policies and programs can support this goal. In addition to such governmental initiatives, livability can be optimized through the incorporation of universal design principles, telecare and other assistive technologies. Assistive technologies include communications, health and wellness monitoring, home safety and security. Semico Research published a report in July 2013 claiming the health and wellness monitoring market for Aging in Place will reach $30 billion by 2017.

Purposeful aging in place has grown in popularity and celebrated by the National Aging in Place Week and the National Aging in Place Council that promotes the positive outcomes of older adults having a choice in their care and living arrangements. In addition to Home Care Agencies,  there are many more professionals trained to fill the growing need in this service model for older adults. Industries that have special programs or certifications include Real Estate, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Relocation specialists. Communities are now fully engaged and committed to exploring ways to better serve older adults by developing action plans that address future needs and ensure that the necessary services are in place when they are needed.Recognizing that a home is filled with memories and is more than just a place to stay, companies are engaged in accommodating the elderly for years of comfortable living. As they age in place and their needs evolve, companies adapt services to meet the changes so that the homes remain well-kept and comfortable. Living Well specializes in providing gero-technology with specialized care (high tech  and high touch) to keep seniors at home and although it is a no brainer solution for us, many elders and/or family members do not trust the new venue and find that the only option is to move away from home and then issues like the ones depicted in this article, which is not an isolated issue, make us think about how to make an effort to really give elders a choice and peace of mind to family members.

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An Age-Segregated Dream

August 4th, 2012 by Doris Bersing

Paula Span, in the New York Times “The New Old Age” section brings our attention to the phenomena of retirees leaving home to go to sunny Florida.  A new film about a Florida retirement complex poses some difficult questions. The film is playing at the Jewish Film festival in San Francisco this week. The filmmaker, Sari Gilman, the granddaughter of a New Yorker couple of retirees, who shot the film in Kings Point, Florida, says: “The benefits of the age-segregated community seemed, in the end, to be a liability,” . As she spent time shooting at Kings Point, she learned that “there was a bit of a Darwinian bent to social life there. If you had your health, you were popular. If your health started to fail, there were whispers around the pool: ‘Ida’s going down.’ ” Read the article

New Devices Help Seniors Stay Longer in Their Own Homes.

January 22nd, 2011 by Doris Bersing

An article supporting Living Well’s high-tech – high touch approach, was published by Health Day: News for Healthier Living on January 18 by Dennis Thompson. The article stresses the importance of using technology to keep seniors for longer and safer: ” Seniors who want to remain in their homes despite illness and infirmity can get a high-tech assist these days. So can their children who might worry about…Sensors, GPS and more are being used to track aging parents’ movements… So can their children who might worry about an elderly parent living alone, often far from family members.

The 1980s-era medical alert pendants made famous by their television advertising (“I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!”) are now among a wide array of devices that can help keep an eye on aging parents and get them help when they need it.

Available technologies include:

  • Sensors in the home to track an older person’s movement, from the front door to the medicine cabinet to the refrigerator to the stove. The sensors are linked with computers that can issue alerts when people deviate from their routine.
  • Global positioning system devices, using the GPS technology that’s become so common in cars, that can help locate someone with dementia who’s wandered from home.
  • Computerized pillboxes that track whether medication is being taken on time.

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Technologies Help Adult Children Monitor Aging Parents

July 29th, 2010 by Doris Bersing

89% of Americans do not want to leave their homes when they age. Most of these people will be live alone and receive support from a variety of health and community-based providers, family caregivers.  How will the long-term care system provide care to a growing number of seniors living in increasingly scattered locations? And more importantly, how can that system continue to provide quality care in the face of workforce shortages, rising care costs and decreasing resources? Technology has the potential to play a critical role in launching a new model of geriatric care that allows older people to live independently for as long as possible, supports family caregivers in the important work they do and gives health care providers the tools they need to deliver high-quality care at a reasonable cost. The just released article Technologies Help Adult Children Monitor Aging Parents on The New York Times, states that these technologies “…are godsends for families. But, as with any parent-child relationship, all loving intentions can be tempered by issues of control, role-reversal, guilt and a little deception — enough loaded stuff to fill a psychology syllabus. For just as the current population of adults in their 30s and 40s have built a reputation for being a generation of hyper-involved, hovering parents to their own children, they now have the tools to micro-manage their aging mothers and fathers as well…”

We, at Living Well Assisted Living at Home,  believe the provide a safety net for the elders, an option to stay at home while providing peace of mind to the adult children and family members.

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