|April 9, 2013||Posted by Maddie under Caregiving, Wellness|
For a caregiver who have lost a loved one, life after their death may seem very lonely and they may experience feelings of guilt. Caregiving can be so consuming, that after it ends caregivers can’t seem to find their sense of purpose. It is important for these caregivers to seek out a comforting structure for their sorrow.
Support support support! Finding support groups, or reaching out to others who have gone through a similar experience is a great way to open up and gather comfort. Whether you realize it or not, simply talking about yourexperience and the feelings that come with it will help to heal the pain. Holding your feelings and emotions in can be a dangerous thing, which is whyit is so important to seek out support from others and share thoughts and feelings. This will allow you to bond with others who have been through something similar, and assure you that you are not alone in dealing with the pain.
Remember to embrace your experience after the caregiving ends. You’ve provided your loved one with something invaluable; your love, care and time. As a caregiver, you should never forget that it takes a special type of person to do what you have done for your loved one. Go on and share your stories and help other caregivers by relaying the knowledge that you have gained.
|February 27, 2013||Posted by Ronni under Aging, Wellness|
Caring for a elderly loved one, or any loved one with heart disease, brings a certain level of responsibility. Knowing how to identify and respond to a heart attack can make a difference between life and death. While Hollywood over emphasizes the appearance of heart attack symptoms, it’s not always so apparent. In fact, in one study, nearly one third of respondents who had heart attacks had no chest pain at all. It’s important to know the other warning signs of a heart attack:
Less Obvious Signs of a Heart Attack
- Upper body discomfort: Although it’s commonly thought of to be a numbness in an arm, this discomfort can also be apparent in the back, neck, jaw, or upper part of the stomach.
- Shortness of breath: It often occurs at the same time as intense chest discomfort, but chest discomfort sometimes does not occur at all.
- Upset Stomach: Nausea, vomiting, light-headedness or sudden dizziness is very common. A person having a heart attack may need to sit down or will vomit uncontrollably.
- Fatigue: Often times, a heart attack does not have a sudden onset. Someone may experience sleep problems regardless of fatigue (tiredness), or lack of energy. This can be a common early sign of heart attack. Not all fatigue or insomnia is a sign of heart attack.
|February 6, 2013||Posted by Ronni under Health, Wellness|
Heart disease is preventable. But living and eating healthy isn’t always number one on a caregiver’s list of priorities. Good news: It doesn’t have to be. Below are a list of some great drinks that you can fill your “to-go” cup with in the morning and sip your way to better heart health! Although, we recommend waiting until after a stressful day to enjoy a little of the red wine! Drink your way to heart health responsibly!
Cup o’ Joe: The antioxidant activity in your morning cup of coffee is very high. The best part of coffee is – it’s everywhere! Here in New England, they rumor you can find a coffee shop every 200 ft!! In a very wide study of 83,000 women (according to caring.com) women who drank two to four cups of coffee a day saw a 20% drop in the risk of stroke. We recommend putting as little sweetener and creamer into your coffee as possible to keep it as healthy as possible.
Blend it Together: During our search we found a recipe from Dr. Oz for a heart-healthy smoothie! It’d be a great treat during the summer to keep you cool and healthy! It’s chalk full of antioxidants and delicious ingredients! Check it out HERE!
Nectar of the Forbidden Fruit: Pomegranates, rumored to be the forbidden fruit that tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden, has an antioxidant level that is 3 times more than that of red wine or green tea. Once, pomegranate juice was considered hard to find – but now you can pick it up at pretty much every grocery store. Drinking the juice regularly may lower your cholesterol and remove arterial plaque. Stick to the “all-natural” brands with less sugar and additives.
During Tea Time: Both black tea and green tea are extremely good for your heart. During Fermentation of the tea, the leaves change chemical structure bring out the antioxidants hidden in the root of the plant. A few cups of black tea a day can reduce your risk of stroke by removing the bad cholesterol from your body. It can also increase blood flow throughout the day. Green tea also reduces the risk of stroke and coronaries. It can also be used to treat inflammation of the joints!
Daily Night Cap: Although alcohol has several side effects that can lead to bad health habits, a small glass of red wine daily may not be a bad thing for women. Research has shown that red wine is jam packed with cardioprotective compounds – like polyphenol. Polyphenol is found in the skin of the grap and during the wine making process becomes highly concentrated. It keeps the heart pumping. Stick to a small, 5 oz glass once a day. Drink responsibly!
|January 29, 2013||Posted by Ronni under Caregiving, Wellness|
Have you ever entered a conversation about Shingles and realized that the person across from you was contradicting everything you thought you knew about the illness? Does it affect people who have or haven’t had chickenpox? Does it make your skin scaly and red or bumpy and bruised? Shingles is one of the most wrongly described illnesses, because it’s a rare illness. We have compiled a short list of important Q&A’s for you to start your understanding of Shingles. If you or someone you know may have Shingles – go to a doctor immediately.
Q: What is Shingles?
A: Shingles is an extremely painful, often debilitating disease that is the restart of the dormant chickenpox virus. When someone contracts Shingles it often appears as a blistery rash in a band, a strip or a small area of the face or body.
Q: Who does Shingles usually affect?
A: Shingles is only found in people who have had the chickenpox virus in their lifetime. Typically it appears in people who have weakened immune systems due to aging, a preexisting disease or high levels of stress. Most information floating around recommends people over the age of 60 who have had the chickenpox virus be vaccinated. But WebMD suggests anyone over the age of 50.
Q: Can I get Shingles if I care for a loved one who has been diagnosed?
A: If you have had the chickenpox, Shingles cannot be spread to you. The illness starts from within, not on the outside. However, if someone in your home has not had chickenpox, they can be affected. Keep anyone who has not had chickenpox away from the loved one with Shingles.
Q: What are the symptoms of Shingles?
A: Shingles is described to manifest through stages. First, the person may experience a headache or sensitivity to light. Early symptoms are often compared to the flu, yet no fever. Then, the person may experience slight itching or tingling an a certain area. Over the next few days this area will change into a blistery, rash. The blisters will fill with fluid and then crust over. Once this happens, it will take 2-4 weeks for the rash to heal completely. Although sometimes a rash does not appear, most people with Shingles experience extreme, debilitating pain that can cause lack of sleep and slight depression.
Q: Can Shingles be prevented?
A: Just like chickenpox, there is a vaccine. It is recommended for anyone over the age of 50 (by WebMD). EasierLiving always recommends speaking to a licensed healthcare professional before making decisions on vaccines. After taking the vaccine, the risk of contracting Shingles drops by 50%.
|January 15, 2013||Posted by Ronni under Health, Wellness|
The United States has been shocked by the flu season of 2012-2013. In Boston, Massachusetts alone, 700 people have been reportedly diagnosed with the flu – 18 of those people have passed away. This number of reported cases is ten times the amount from last year. Most techniques to avoiding the influenza virus are common sense and have been told to us over and over. But when you care for a household, especially one with small children and elderly adults, you may need to take flu prevention to a whole new level. Washing hands and covering your mouth while cough is extremely important, but don’t ignore the rest of flu prevention! We’ve put together several products that can get you and your family safely through flu season. These products are excellent for flu prevention even after someone in your home is diagnosed with the flu! Click on the banner below to browse these products and check out our tips to avoiding the flu this season.
Top 5 Tips to Avoiding the Flu this Season
- Disinfect everything! From doorknobs and counter surfaces to your own hands, disinfectants and antibacterial products are now your best friend. Most can kill 99.9% of germs after application – the trick is to wait until the disinfectant is dry. Once it’s dry, it’s done it’s work.
- Wear a mask! If someone in your home comes down with the flu, others are definitely in danger. If you have an elderly loved one that may be challenged by the flu, getting them a N95 mask may be your best bet for protection! These masks can kill several viruses including the flu!
- Keep Hand Sanitizer Everywhere! Keep a small container of hand sanitizer in your car, at the office, in the kitchen and in living areas of your home. If you are sharing or touching items the potentially sick people have also touched or used – sanitize before you touch anything else, especially your eyes or mouth.
- Outfit your Home! Antimicrobial additions to your home is never a bad thing. Switching out normal grab bars for ones that kill germs can only keep germs on hands from spreading from one person to another. Grab bars are great in bathrooms, kitchens and stairwells.
- Care for yourself too! Stress and lack of rest will make you more susceptible to influenza. Be sure to rest as much as you need it, drink your orange juice and practice stress relieving techniques to ward off illness.
|January 11, 2013||Posted by Ronni under Caregiving, Wellness|
We are still in the middle of a dry, brittle winter – unfortunately. This means the moisture from our skin is leaving our bodies at a rapid rate and not returning. For younger people, this can be easily treated with once daily applications of lotions on afflicted areas. For our elderly loved ones, whose skin is more delicate and thinner, simple daily application of lotions may not be the answer.
7 Ways to Treat Dry Skin on Delicate Skin
- Lubricate the skin daily, or twice a day, to soothe pain and reduce water loss. Use non-scented, oil-based moisturizers. Avoid alcohol-based solutions that sap out moisture from the skin.
- Bathe the person every other day rather than daily and limit baths/showers to 5-10 minutes. Use lukewarm water rather than hot, it will absorb into the skin better. And while bathing, do not exfoliate the skin as you would during summer months.
- When drying the body or hands, pat dry instead of rubbing.
- Choose clothing that will not rub against the skin aggressively. Loose clothing or clothing with non-abrasive seams would be the best bet.
- Keep your loved one hydrated! The more water in the body, the more to treat dry skin naturally.
- The air outside is dry, but the air inside your loved one’s home can be adjusted. Put a humidifier in the areas of the home that they frequent most often to keep the air cool and humid.
- If your loved one is dry and itchy, teach them to treat the itch with lotion rather than scratching. It will help to reduce skin breakage and injury.
|December 13, 2012||Posted by Ronni under Plantar Fasciitis, Wellness|
Caregivers need stress relief. Like many other Americans, stress relief is often found through physical exercise – running. As we get deeper into winter here in the Northeast, the days end earlier and the temperature drops significantly Both of these things can cause anyone to become more depressed, and thus stress out more frequently. They can also cause running outside to become dangerous and less desirable. We say: buck up. Skip the expensive month-to-month gym bill and run safely outside during the winter. Keep yourself safe and sane.
5 Tips for Running in the Winter
- Always start with a warm up. Although this is always recommended regardless of the season, it’s very important to take more time to focus on warming up your muscles before running in the cold. Cold temperatures can cause your muscles to be less flexible and become more susceptible to injury.
- Suit up in the right gear. We recommend you wear layers. This will help if you get too hot during the run, but layering right will keep your body at the right temperature. Do one layer to wick away moisture as you sweat, one loose fitting layer to keep you warm and one last layer to protect you from the wind chill.
- Reflect yourself. If you usually run after work when the kids are doing homework or still at their after school activities, get reflective gear. During the summer, drivers on the road can see you in twilight. During the winter, drivers may not see you running on the side of the road until it’s too late.
- Hydrate with warm fluids. We aren’t recommending you boil your water before starting a run. Use room temperature water, or slightly warmer, to keep it from freezing on extremely cold nights and to keep it from needing to adjust to your body before being absorbed.
- Stretch out after your run. Stretching your muscles after your run is equally as important as stretching before. Every muscle is covered by a layer of fascia which, if it isn’t stretched, can stick to the muscle and injure it. We recommend you attack your gluts, quads, hamstrings and calves with a foam roller to insure the fascia loosens. Also, if you have foot pain, try a foot roller - perfect size for fascia on the foot.
|December 6, 2012||Posted by Rachel under Wellness|
We’ve all seen heart attacks played out in movies—very sudden and intense, and no one doubts what’s happening. But in reality, most heart attacks start slowly with only mild pain or discomfort. Many times, people don’t know what’s happening to them and wait until it’s too late to seek help. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you or your loved one, here are signs of a heart attack:
- Heart attacks often include discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than just a few minutes. It feels like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
- The chest usually isn’t the only place you’ll feel pain if you’re having a heart attack. There is often discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
- Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
- Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness.
|September 27, 2012||Posted by Rachel under Caregiving, Wellness|
With everything else going on today, people usually don’t think twice about their elderly loved one getting hurt while lying stationary in bed. However, bedsores (also known as pressure ulcers) can result in complicating health conditions including sepsis, bone and joint infections, and even cancer. They lead to over 34,000 annual deaths, making bedsores a huge concern for caregivers across the nation. Bedsores generally develop over areas like the back, tailbone, buttocks, hip, heels, elbows, and shoulders.
As a caregiver, there are several things you can do to prevent your loved one from getting bedsores. Reposition the person every 2 hours to avoid sustained pressure on the body. Outfit your loved one’s bedroom with safe, pressure-reducing aids such as cushions, mattresses, beds, booties, and elbow pads to reduce pressure on the skin. Perform a daily skin inspection to identify vulnerable areas, make sure skin is kept clean and dry, and change bedding immediately if it becomes wet.
|September 19, 2012||Posted by Rachel under Caregiving, Wellness|
When at home caregiving is no longer an option, a loved one may continuously refuse to accept the professional support they need. Your aging loved one is probably refusing this help because, let’s face it, no one likes to lose their independence. But there comes a point when at-home care or self-care is dangerous, but how do you show this to your stubborn loved one? Here are some tips:
- Sit them down in an environment they do not feel stressed or threatened in.
- Emphasize the various options for care such as at-home professionals or a facility.
- Stress that this is the best choice for them and site examples that may have been a turning point in the level of care needed.
- Also steer them into the decision-making. It will give them a sense of independence even if they may be loosing it a little.
- Be positive and patient with your loved one. Let them know this is for their safety and you care about them.
Sit down with your loved one and calmly discuss with them your concerns. Make sure you emphasize that they will not completely be losing their independence; they will just be receiving assistance with the things that they currently struggle with. Point out the different options they have. They could opt to move into a home for seniors or to hire in-home assistance. Let your loved one have a say in what they want.
Be positive, reassuring, supportive, and patient. If your loved one refuses help at first, look to other family members or friends for support. Don’t get discouraged by their refusing to accept assistance, because as long as you are loving and compassionate, your good intentions will prevail.