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By Schuylkill Home Care, Mar 12 2019 05:48PM

Seniors who are homebound face extra challenges. Loneliness, lack of physical activity, and more can become problems. Help senior stay active.

Being homebound as a senior can increase risk of loneliness, stress, lack of physical activity, and more. It is important for seniors’ health to stay active even if unable to get out.

Up to 3.6 million people over 65 in the US are considered housebound. Often, those who are housebound suffer from medical and/or mental illnesses. Between the isolation of being at home and the challenges of illnesses, homebound seniors often have trouble staying active.

Common Challenges Homebound Seniors Face

Seniors who are homebound often suffer from a medical problem, psychiatric disability, or a memory disorder. When seniors are homebound, they often face challenges like:

● Being isolated

● Feeling of loneliness

● Hardships getting medical care/going to appointments

● Difficulty buying groceries and other essentials

● Mobility problems within the home

● Lack of exercise and physical activity

● Trouble finding mental stimulation

● Few conversations or social connections

● Decreased quality of life

Top Reasons Seniors Become Homebound

● Limited mobility

● Weakness

● Poor balance

● Medical conditions

● Memory disorders

● Mental health problems

● Lack of social support or assistance

Top Ways to Help Homebound Seniors Stay Mentally Sharp

● Crosswords

● Puzzles

● Reading

● Learning something new

● Regular conversations

● Practicing memorization

Tips for Staying Active When Homebound

Staying active can help seniors who are homebound to live higher quality, healthier lives. Use these tips to help seniors stay active:

Find Exercises That Seniors Can do At Home

Physical activity is a natural form of stress relief. It also helps seniors stay flexible, fit and healthy. Some great exercises for homebound seniors include:

● Stretching

● Seated strength training

● Aerobic exercise

● Yoga

Help Seniors Enjoy a New Hobby

Trying something new cna help seniors stay sharp and active. Activities like knitting, reading, painting, wood carving, and scrapbooking, are great choices.

Set Seniors Up in Online Communities

There are lots of ways for seniors to connect with others online. If they really like writing, for example, they could write a blog. Online communities, chat rooms, and digital games all allow seniors to socialize without leaving home.

Play Games Regularly

If seniors have favorite board or card games, make time to play on a regular basis. They may also be able to play some games by themselves.

Encourage Visitors

Socializating doesn’t require going out. Seniors can connect with others by:

● Having visitors over

● Hosting groups and activities

● Using skyo to catch up with friends or loved ones

Taking Care Of Their Place

For seniors able to perform some maintenance, cleaning, or decorating tasks, it is good to keep at it. These sorts of activities can help seniors stay active and take pride in their home.

Home Care Tip

Often being homebound can be discouraging for seniors. Help them stay positive and encourage them to stay active by participating in their activities.

By Schuylkill Home Care, Feb 22 2019 05:46PM

Mobility Aids for Seniors

Many seniors experience difficulty getting around independently. Mobility aids can offer stability and support.

If a senior is unstable performing motions like sitting down or walking, it is essential to find mobility aids that fit their needs and ensure their safety. Approximately 1/3 of older people living at home fall at least once a year. It's common for seniors to need mobility aids for safety and support. (MerckManuals)

Common Mobility Aids for Getting Around

For seniors living at home and maintaining a high level of independence, common mobility aids are simply designed to help them gedt around. Options include:

* Canes

- Designed to increase stability and compensate for minimal balance issues

* Power Scooters

- Support those who cannot walk long distances but have upper body control and stamina

* Walkers

- Help support those with significant stability problems but moderate upper body strength

* Wheelchairs

- Offer mobility to those unable to walk safely on their own. Variations of sterring ability available.

* Rollators

- For those with severe stability issues who lack upper body strength and balance.

Possible Results of Senior Falls

Sometimes mobility issues are just inconvenient for seniors. Other times mobility issues put them at risk for falling. Falls can be very dangerous for the aging. Faling can result in:

* Bruises

* Fractures

* Breaks

* Need for physical therapy

* Surgical correction

* Hospitalization

* Death

(MerckManuals)

Mobility Aids for a Safer Home Enviornment

Some mobility aids aren't designed to support long-range motion. Instead, they make the home environment safer and increase independence with specific tasks. Improve home safety and mobility by installing:

* Rails along stairs, near bathroom fixtures, in hallways, etc.

* Tub/bath transfer seats or benches

* Supportive seat cushions

* Grab handles for getting in/out of a car, bed, couch, or chair

* Rolling over-bed or over-couch tables

* Additional lighting or voice command lighting to improve visibility

* Non-slip flooring that is securely tacked down

* Stairlift

* Ramps to replace stairs

Mobility Problem Risk Factors

A number of issues can increase seniors' risk of struggling with mobility and balance.

* Diminished eyesight

* Diabetes or heart disease

* Thyroid problems

* Nerve issues

* Medications

* Dizziness

* Muscle weakness

* Gait changes

* Postural hypotension

* Foot pain, deformities, or poorly-fitting footwear

* Confusion or memory problems

* Environmental factors like lack of lighting

Paying for Mobility Aids

Insurance companies, as well as some grant or senior care non-profits, may help cover the cost of mobility aids. Ask a doctor or local agency for the aging for ideas on where to start seeking financial assistance for mobility devices.

Home Care Tip

Style matters. If seniors seem unwilling to accept mobility aids, consider options that look sleek or fit their sense of style. Sometimes a device that feels personalized makes a difference for seniors struggling to accept necessary changes.

By Schuylkill Home Care, Feb 7 2019 03:07PM

How to Help Seniors Connect with Younger People

One of the struggles many seniors face is feeling disconnected from others. Connecting seniors with younger generations gives meaning and enjoyment.

Isolation, loneliness, and sense of purposelessness all contribute to depression in seniors. When seniors have the opportunity to pass on knowledge, their quality of life can improve.

Seniors have hard-earned wisdom, skills, and love to share. Helping seniors connect with others, especially younger people, is beneficial for everyone.

What Seniors Have to Offer Younger Generation

There is no age at which people stop having something to contribute to others. Seniors actually have a lot to offer to younger generations, including their wisdom, experience, and friendship.

Some of what seniors can pass down include:

● Recipes they’ve created and/or mastered

● Games or hobbies that people of all ages enjoy

● Advice from all sorts of real life experiences

● Skills like knitting, drawing, woodworking, etc.

● Memories of history/ observations of cultural changes

● Family history and relationship advice

● A great example of listening and caring well

Every individual senior will have different treasures accumulated throughout life that they can share with others. Talk to senior to find out what they are passionate about and then connect them with youth who share similar interests.

How Seniors and Younger Generation can Connect

Seniors and younger people can connect throughout a variety of programs, as well as personal relationships.

* Volunteering

Whether seniors contact a local school and ask how they can help or they sign up with a program, there are many ways they can volunteer with younger people. Many libraries, preschools, child care programs, clubs, and religious programs welcome older volunteers.

* Writing

The wisdom, stories, and lessons seniors have amassed over their lives are valuable. Senior can write a memoir, record their voice while they tell a stories, or ask for transcription assistance from younger people.

* Using Technology

Technology today allows seniors to connect with younger people anywhere.using skype or a similar program, seniors can have conversations or teach skills to youth all over the world. Some schools also support virtual pen pal relationships between seniors and kids.

Reasons Seniors Should Connect with Younger People

#1 reason: seniors and young people can learn from each other

Other reasons include:

● Improved quality of life for seniors

● Greater sense of purpose

● Companionship

● Sharpens seniors memories

● Exposing youth to the aging process develops compassion

● Strengthening communities

Younger Groups Seniors can Connect With

● Children/grandchildren/neighborhood kids

● Boys and girls clubs like 4-H or boys scouts

● Religious classes or groups

● Library reading groups

● School classes needing volunteers

● Vocational tech groups

● Daycare/preschools

● After school programs

Home Care Tip

If a senior has physical limitations or communication issues, it may be best for seniors to volunteer by working on projects at home. For example, a senior could recorded stories or make crafts that they help deliver to family members or other people instead of working alongside them out of their home.

By Schuylkill Home Care, Jan 24 2019 10:02PM

Easy ways for seniors to exercise

Only about 28-34% of people aged 65-74 are physically active. Exercise is essential for good health, but it can be risky if not performed properly. Use these exercises to encourage seniors to stay healthy. (HHS.gov)

Without physical activity, seniors are at a greater risk of health problems like heart disease. Their bones are more fragile and their blood pressure is higher. A number of other problems can result from lack of activity. That’s why seniors should use safe, easy exercise to stay fit. (Cdc.gov)

Simple Indoor Exercises

Exercising indoors tends to be safer for seniors than outdoors. It is important to ensure movements are gentle and can be adapted for different limitations so as to not over-exert aging hearts, muscles, and bones.

Great indoor exercises include:

● Walking

● Climbing steps

● Indoor swimming

● Balance exercise (while holding something stable)

● Light bodyweight exercises like squats

Since seniors are at risk of injury (especially from overuse) when exercising, it is best for seniors to learn and practice exercises with the help of an instructor or personal trainer. Performing exercises like these with a group can also make staying active more fun. (Medicare.org)

Make Exercise Part of Everyday Life

Seniors can incorporate activity into everyday life by developing habits like regularly:

● Gardening

● Dancing

● Walking

● Climbing stairs

● Stretching

Best seated exercises

For seniors who have balance issues or other physical limitations, seated exercises are the safest way to stay active. Try these seated exercises and Stretches:

● Ankle and wrist rolls

● Are circles

● Single leg calf raises

● Sit and stand motions

● Seated hip marches

● Seated torso twists

To keep bones and muscles strong, seniors add light weights to these exercises. Weights that can be strapped on their wrists or ankles are the safest option.

Don’t Forget to Exercise These Body Parts

There’s more to the body than major muscle groups. Seniors can stay healthy by exercising the following overlooked body parts as well:

● Eyes

● Brain

● Fingers

● Wrists

Keeping these body parts active may involve reading, memorizing new things, or even using small devices to increase finger strength and dexterity. While these exercises might not improve heart health, they can help seniors maintain skills and abilities.

Home Care Tip

When seniors struggle with stiffness or diseases like arthritis =, working out can seem intimidating and sound painful. However, exercise is a proven form of pain relief. Encourage seniors to get active in order to get better.

By Schuylkill Home Care, Jan 11 2019 02:40PM

Preparing seniors for doctor visits

Getting to a doctor visit, as well as understanding and implementing medical advice, can be a challenge for seniors.

Aging involves changes in health, physical ability, and medical risks. On average, older adults in the US tend to be in a healthcare setting about 17 days a year. Given how common (and often necessary) it is for seniors to interact with doctors, it is important to help seniors navigate doctor visits well.

A start to finish doctor visit checklist

For seniors, doctor’s visits are stressful. Use this checklist to help ease anxiety

* Arrange transportation to and from the appointment

* Identify whether or not a companion is necessary for the visit

* Check if the appointment or associated tests require seniors to contact their insurance company ahead of time for pre-certification or other purposes

* Pack everything needed for a successful appointment

● Insurance card

● Photo ID

● Payment for co-pays or other charges

● Contact information for other doctors

● List of current medications

● List of allergies/medical conditions

● Medical records, if needed

● A list of questions for the doctor

● And notepad or device for note-taking

*Verify at checkout after the appointment

● If further testing or labs required

● When new prescriptions should be picked up

● If there are instructions or treatment notes seniors can take home with them

● When follow-up appointments are scheduled

● If any payment is due

How to Help Seniors Advocate for Themselves

Often, seniors feel nervous or powerless when in healthcare settings. Encourage seniors to attend their appointments confidently and to speak up for themselves. Remind seniors to:

● Bring glasses or hearing aids if necessary to support effective communication

● Prepare to share what has been going on in their lives and to ask questions

● Ask for directions, diagnoses, and notes about the appointment in writing

● Get a second opinion if they are uncomfortable or unsure of something a doctor says

● Take a family member or close friend for support if self-advocacy is challenging for them

Tips to see the Doctor Less Often

Following doctor's instruction and taking care of oneself are great ways for seniors to reduce the number of appointments they attend. There are also alternatives to traditional doctor visits that seniors can benefit from such as:

● Web-based medical services

● Virtual or over-the-phone appointments

● Retail clinics, especially for flu shots or common, minor illnesses

● Urgent care centers

Cyclical Reasons Seniors Should See the Doctor

One of the reasons aging adults tend to see doctors often is for cyclical treatments, check-ups, or preventative care. For instance, seniors should plan on:

● Annual check-ups

● A colonoscopy every decade

● Annual vaccinations

● Regular eye exams

● Dental exams twice a year

● Screening for cancer, thyroid disorder, etc.

Home Care Tip

Help seniors who are active online to understand that the web does not have a medical degree. While medical information could be helpful to reference and understand more about health, only professionals with education and training should make a diagnosis and prescribe treatments.

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