Is it Time? Top 7 Ways to Tell if a Loved One Needs More Help

One of the most challenging conversations you will need to have with a loved one will be whether they are ready to move to an assisted living or skilled nursing community. To help you figure out when to have that conversation, here are the top seven ways to tell if your loved one needs more help.

  1. Significant weight loss

Preparing meals can become quite a burden. If your loved one lives alone, they may be much more likely to just skip a meal rather than get out to the grocery store or spend money on delivery. While you may be able to supplement with a visiting meal service or helping purchase single serve quick meals for them, keep an eye on their weight as it will be impossible to hide the weight loss from chronic meal skipping.

  1. Frequent falls

Does your loved one talk about falling? Do you notice a missing or broken lamp or odd marks on the walls? The bones are much more brittle as we age, so while a fall here or there may have no impact when we are younger, a significant fall for a senior can break bones and be debilitating. If your loved one lives alone, they may be on the floor from a fall for hours or even days before help arrives.

  1. Unexplained bruises

Are you seeing any new bruises or scrapes on your loved one? Watch the knee and elbow areas carefully, as well as any scrapes on their hands or face that might indicate a fall or other accident may have happened.

  1. Neglecting basic hygiene

Can you tell if your loved one is not bathing, shaving or keeping their clothes clean? If they used to go to the barber or beauty shop regularly but aren’t now, that also can be a sign. Bathing and dressing may have become difficult if they are losing some basic mobility. It could just be easier for them to forego some of their basic hygiene routine.

  1. House in disarray

Are you seeing more clutter, dust or disarray in their home? Are there unexplained odors or food that has been left out or trash that is piling up? These also could be signs that maintaining their home has become too cumbersome.

  1. Forgetting to take medicine

If your loved one takes multiple medications, managing the proper doses taken at the proper times can be confusing. Take note of the number of doses left in a prescription when you help get one fulfilled. If they are not being used as quickly as they should be, ask the tough question if they actually are taking them as prescribed.

  1. Loneliness

More deadly than obesity according to recent studies, loneliness also carries a shameful stigma. No one wants to admit they are lonely, but about 40 percent of adults are. For aging seniors, many of their social circles have shrunk over the years due to death or people moving away.

While most people will tell you they are fine and want to stay at home as long as they can, that may not be the best decision if they are battling any of the concerns listed above. There are many options for additional levels of care to help prolong your loved one’s life and quality of life. It might be time to check out an assisted living or senior living community to get the support they need.

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Kidneys, the Powerhouse of the Body

We don’t often stop to think about it, but our kidneys play an important role in keeping our bodies functioning properly. Here are the 5 top jobs healthy kidneys perform:

Removing wastes and extra fluid

Your kidneys act like a filter to remove wastes and extra fluid from your body. Your kidneys filter about 200 quarts of blood each day to make about 1 to 2 quarts of urine. The urine contains wastes and extra fluid. This prevents buildup of wastes and fluid to keep your body healthy.

Controlling blood pressure

Your kidneys need pressure to work properly. Kidneys can ask for higher pressure if it seems too low, or try to lower pressure if it seems too high by controlling fluid levels and making the hormone that causes blood vessels to constrict.

Making red blood cells

Your kidneys make a hormone called erythropoietin. Erythropoietin tells bone marrow to make red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen from your lungs to supply all your body’s needs. Red blood cells give you the energy you need for daily activities.

Keeping bones healthy

The kidneys make an active form of vitamin D. You need vitamin D to absorb calcium and phosphorus. Calcium and phosphorus are important minerals for making bones strong. The kidneys also balance calcium and phosphorus so your body has the right amount.

Controlling pH Levels

pH is a measure of acid and base. Your kidneys maintain a healthy balance of the chemicals that control acid levels. As cells break down, they make acids. The foods you eat can either increase or lower the amount of acid in your body. Your kidneys balance the pH of your body by either removing or adjusting the right amounts of acid and buffering agents.

© National Kidney Foundation website

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Benefits of Occupational Therapy

Whether  recovering  from  an  illness  or  something  as  serious  as  a  stroke,  participating  in and  enjoying  life’s  daily  activities are  essential  steps  in  the  process.  Activities  such  as  preparing  a  meal  for  friends,  driving  to  the  store  for  groceries  or  caring  for  a  beloved  pet  can  become  increasingly  difficult  as  we  age.  Occupational  Therapists,  with  the  use  of  rehabilitative  exercises,  focus  on  rebuilding  the  practical  skills  necessary  for  returning  safely  to  an  enjoyable  daily  life  such  as:
  • Living safely at home
  • Caring for a pet
  • Actions specific to hobbies
  • Cooking
  • Doing housework
  • Driving safely
  • Bathing and grooming
  • General mobility
  • Grocery shopping
  • Communicating
  • Managing medication
  • Managing money
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Is Therapy Going to the Dogs?

Going through medical rehabilitation or being in a long-term-care facility carries a great deal of stress and potential loneliness. Animal-assisted therapy uses dogs or other animals to help people recover from or better cope with health issues that may include heart disease, stroke recovery, cancer or long-term-care adjustment.

These animals not only can provide comfort and enjoyment to patients and residents, but also can be taught to reinforce rehabilitation efforts that involve through a ball or walking. Pet therapy can impact pain reduction, stress, depression and fatigue for those who are undergoing medical treatment.

Healthcare facilities that use pet therapy have stringent rules that ensure pets are clean, vaccinated, trained and screened before they can share their adorableness with patients. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has never received a report of infection from animal-assisted therapy.

So if you or your loved one is feeling a little gloomy, consider requesting pet therapy to lift their spirits. Having their therapy “go to the dogs” might be just what the doctor orders.

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Pickle Ball, the Fastest Growing Sport in America?

ROCKWALL, TX- Tanner Humm, 25, recently moved back to his home town of Rockwall, TX after a brief stint in college. During that 4 year period away, the local YMCA gym completely remodeled their facility and made one surprising new addition, a Pickle Ball court. Every week day at exactly 9:30AM, a group of dedicated retired baby boomers play ball competitively at the YMCA.

Having never heard of the sport, Tanner was both intrigued and hesitant. Was this a local game made up by some bored retirees or a legitimate sport? In fact, Pickle Ball is the fastest growing sport in the U.S. having enjoyed an 84% increase in participation since 2010. According to the US Open Pickle Ball Championships, there are an estimated 2 million “Picklers” playing today and that number is expected to surpass 8 million people by 2018.

The game of Pickle Ball is a combination of table tennis and tennis but is played on a much smaller court. The game can be played 1 v. 1 but many “Picklers” choose to play doubles, or 2 v. 2 to cover the court more easily. Team members each play with a paddle that is slightly smaller than a tennis racket and a ball that resembles a whiffle ball.

The average age of a Pickle Ball player is 50 years old, but that number is quickly dropping as more people adopt the sport. The low impact on knees and joints is what makes the game so appealing to seniors. Being athletic does help in Pickle Ball but skill comes from having great hand-eye coordination and balance.

The rules of the game are very similar to tennis, but there is one major difference that makes Pickle Ball distinct. In Pickle Ball, the opposing team must let the ball bounce once before they can return it, AND the serving team must let the initial return bounce once before it can be hit. After that, players are free to hit the ball mid-flight to catch the opposing team off guard. Games are played until one team reaches 11 points and wins by at least 2 points.

Honestly I’m surprised by just how competitive the games are between two different generations. We were getting beat bad by people that are old enough to be our parents!” said, Tanner after losing a game of 11 to 4. “I have been playing for little over a month and I still can’t get enough. The game is both fun and social but has a high degree of skill involved.

To learn more about Pickle Ball visit www.usapa.org/what-is-pickleball/

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