Top 5 Ways How Seniors Can Lead Happier Lives

Thank you to Emma Jones, guest blogger who is part of the community team at Greenwood Homecare, providing a range of high quality care services. Emma is passionate about improving the quality of care that older adults receive in the UK and around the world.

The word “seniors’’ is synonymous with everything that is negative. From retirement to elderly care and pension funds; everything about seniors sounds like a liability. Even worse, people in this age group are deemed as a sad lot and even those that try to put up a brave face are often begrudged their happiness. This is because the society considers them as individuals living on borrowed time; hence not allowed to indulge in the joys and pleasures of this time. The seniors themselves do not make the situation better either; they will often look back and only see the chances they missed in life.

Instead of counting their blessings, as it were, they will find it convenient to dwell on their past mistakes and feel sorry for their apparent ineptitude. All these culminate in one thing; a stressful life in old age. However, there are ways seniors can still salvage what’s left of their time on earth and stay happy, positive and motivated. The following are the top 5 ways for seniors to lead happier lives.

Work Less; Play More
The first strategy that seniors can employ to remain happy is to focus more on having fun as opposed to making money. After having lived decades, you have probably saved enough to help you get by; whether in terms of long-term investments or pension fund. This is not the time to focus on getting rich but rather keeping fit.

You can do with a little bookkeeping in your grocery store so as to stay in touch with the cash flow in your business but when the time comes for physical exercise, stop everything else and focus all your attention on it. Indulge in jogging, running, swimming and all the light forms of exercise that will keep you in shape as opposed to those that build your muscles.

Explore The World
Traveling is a mysterious form of adventure and it opens up our minds to greater realms. As a senior, you will find lots of happiness in exploring those enchanting tourist destinations you only read about in travel magazines. You will find it easy to interact with new people as you experience nature in the raw.

Traveling will set your mind at ease since you learn to embrace the aging process with grace as you surrender yourself to the inevitable. If you are more of the social guy, you will find a trip down to the Bahamas a great way to make new friends but if you are into the grander of Mother Nature, you won’t go wrong with a cruise to the Great Barrier Reef or spare sometime to visit the Scandinavian regions and experience the mystic Aurora.

Make Your Physician Your Greatest Friend
As a senior, one of the greatest challenges to your happiness is ill health. And since at this age your immunity will have taken as much beating as it can, you are likely to be bogged down by little conditions such as the common cold, flu or even headaches. It is therefore important to ensure you have your physician’s contacts close by so you can contact them anytime you experience such symptoms.

Having routine medical check-ups is one way to keep these infections at bay and lead a healthier lifestyle. During these checkups, your physician will also take the opportunity to recommend to you some nutritional and exercise tips based on your medical profile.

Let It Off Your Chest
Most seniors have lots of issues; both personal and social. And due to their age, most of them find it necessary to hide their feeling as they fear being judged and betrayed even further. It is important as a senior to understand and appreciate the good, old adage that a trouble shared is a trouble halved.

While you may not trust those around you, there is always that one friend that you can look up to. Remember that sharing your worries and agonies will not necessarily help you find a solution to them but it will take the burden off your shoulders and you will begin to feel more positive about life. Hold no grudge against anyone, forgive all and strive to be at peace with everyone.

Stay Away From Trouble
Seniors are revered members of the society and as such, they will usually find themselves arbitrating matters that often result in earning them more enemies. Unless it is a pressing need such as arbitrating disputes involving your will, try to stay away as far as possible from such feuds.

If at all possible, have a lawyer, another trusted member of the family or your close friend to help in situations in whose involvement may polarize your family or pit you against your near and dear ones.

Many may claim that happiness is a state of mind but for someone who has lived on earth for over 6 decades; it is more than just a matter of attitude. Adjusting your lifestyle to focus on things that calm your spirit is the only ideal way of staying happy as a senior.

National Cancer Prevention Month – FEB

According the American Cancer Society in 2018, there will be an estimated 1,735,350 new cancer cases diagnosed and 609,640 cancer deaths in the United States. It is estimated that 25,570 new cases will be reported in Colorado alone. Among the highest reported are breast cancer, prostate and lung cancers.

Who is at risk? Cancer usually develops in older people. 87% of all cancers in the United States are diagnosed in people 50 years of age or older. Certain behaviors also increase risk, such as smoking, eating an unhealthy diet, or not being physically active. In the US, approximately 40 out of 100 men and 38 out of 100 women will develop cancer during
their lifetime.

What does this mean for you? Be proactive and start practicing good habits now to decrease your chances. Start by following these steps and always work with your physician in best practices for you individually.

These 7 tips from the Mayo Clinic will give you some simple steps to make big improvements:

  1. Don’t use tobacco products -Smoking has been linked to various types of cancer — including cancer of the lung, mouth, throat, larynx, pancreas, bladder, cervix and kidney.
  2. Eat a health diet – eat plenty of fruits & vegetables, drink alcohol in moderation or not at all and limit processed foods.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight and stay active – both weight & physical activity have been linked to cancer reduction.
  4. Protect yourself from the sun – use sunscreen & sunglasses, stay out of the mid-day sun and cover exposed areas.
  5. Get immunized – Cancer prevention includes protection from certain viral infections.  Ask your physician about Hep B and HPV vaccines.
  6. Avoid risky behaviors – practice safe sex & limit your partners.
  7. Get regular medical care – Regular self-exams & screenings for various types of cancers can increase your chances of early detection.

For more information on 2018 Cancer facts visit: https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/cancer-org/research/cancer-facts-and-statistics/annual-cancer-facts-and-figures/2018/cancer-facts-and-figures-2018.pdf

In honor of Andrew Potts, one of our occupational therapists who lost his battle with cancer we continue to share his story and legacy. Visit our website to learn about what Team AMP is doing for our community. www.covellcare.com/teamamp

Prevent falls with physical therapy

As we grow older many of us find a fear has started to creep into our minds. Falling! We may find that our balance isn’t what it used to be, a few aches and pains have set in, our eyesight isn’t as strong and our movement slows down. All of these things increase the risk to fall. And when we are afraid to fall our fall risk actually goes up, too.

According to the CDC more than 2.8 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries every year. Falls are one of the leading causes of death in people over 65. It’s important we do all we can to reduce people’s fall risk.

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) encourages older adults to look around their homes for fall hazards that are easily eliminated. Most falls happen in the home so reducing risks here is very important. The APTA recommends people do the following:

  • Remove throw rugs
  • Reroute electrical cords
  • Install hand rails
  • Ensure the lighting in the home is adequate during the day and at night

In addition to reducing fall risk by a few simple adjustments at home, the APTA also recommends older adults participate in an individualized exercise program that is designed by a physical therapist. This will help with strengthening, balance and mobility. It may seem just as effective to participate in  group classes or do a video at home but the ideal situation is to be participating in programming that is specific to the individual. PT’s are critical in developing strong exercise programs that will reduce risks of injury during exercise while maximizing the benefits for each client.

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Here are a few more tips to help reduce fall risk:

 

  • Have your medicine reviewed annually or every 6 months because medication side-effects can lead to an increased fall risk.
  • Ensure you are wearing appropriate foot wear for support and to prevent tripping and slipping.
  • Adjust your walker or cane so the handles are the height of your wrist. Or have a PT or OT assess your device and make adjustments.
  • Replace the rubber tips on your cane or walker when it starts to show wear and tear.
  • Avoid going outside when it is icy.
People typically work with a physical therapist on a short-term basis. After PT, it is strongly recommended that people consider working with a physical trainer to help maintain a quality, effective exercise program and progress their exercise program as gains are made. PT’s and trainers often work closely together to maximize the benefit for clients and reduce fall risk.
PT’s and Personal Trainers are both available to work with clients in their homes in Larimer and Weld Counties through Covell Care and Rehabilitation. PT is typically covered through insurance and personal training is an affordable out-of-pocket expense. Reducing your fall risk is priceless!
Blog written by Krista Covell-Pierson, OTR, BCB-PMD.

Fort Collins Nurse/Author Releases New Book on Cancer Survivorship Care for Everyone

Working as an oncology nurse in the hospital, Alene Nitzky soon realized her skills and knowledge, as well as her co-workers’, were profoundly underutilized to meet the needs of patients undergoing cancer treatment. From the initial shock of a diagnosis, patients progressed to paralyzing fear around their mortality. Not knowing what to do, when, in what order, or who to rely on for help, patients missed key information that would have helped them go through the cancer patient experience with less distress and anxiety.

Afterward, patients were left to their own devices to recover, with little support or guidance, and few skills to help them restore their quality of life. Outside of the healthcare system, instead of taking a distant, clinical, big data approach, Nitzky describes meeting people where they were, in their homes, communities, and support groups, where she could listen to their everyday concerns- the ones they never had time to discuss in short medical appointments. Given time and active listening, they articulated their needs for practical skills in understanding health information, self-advocacy, and self-care that accommodates their lifestyles, and matches their values and preferences around quality of life.

In three, easy to understand, skill-based education programs aimed at closing gaps in information and understanding about cancer and survivors’ needs, the author calls for active prevention and preparation to reduce the trauma of a cancer diagnosis through C.A.R.E.: creativity, authenticity, resourcefulness, and empathy. Navigating the C will walk you through the steps you need to take to get your needs met in a system that so often fails cancer patients in finding the way back to themselves, and the possibility of emerging better than ever.

Everyone can expect to become empowered by reading this book by a passionate advocate for patients and healthcare workers: Patients, caregivers, and survivors will gain self-advocacy and self-care skills to have more control over their follow-up care experiences, and become more active and confident participants in their own healthcare. Ordinary citizens and those who have never had cancer will learn the simple steps they can take to reduce the trauma around an initial cancer diagnosis for themselves, or support their loved ones. Healthcare professionals will examine their own values around providing cancer treatment and survivorship care.

Finally, those on the fringes of clinical care- the decision-makers and administrators- will gain insight into what really happens to the end-users of cancer services and how their lives are impacted by their experiences in healthcare. Nitzky appeals for the importance of reducing the trauma of a cancer diagnosis, the intrinsic value of community programs, and smaller, individual approaches to cancer survivorship care, where big healthcare and big business miss the mark.

Navigating the C: A Nurse Charts the Course for Cancer Survivorship Care. By Alene Nitzky, Ph.D., RN, OCN. Blue Bayou Press, 2018. 216 pages. $19.95 paperback, $9.99 Kindle. Available on Amazon.

Navigating the C is available on Amazon:   https://a.co/ciTYFWi

Local Signing event at Elevation 5003 on January 28:   https://www.eventbrite.com/e/navigating-the-c-book-signing-meet-the-author-tickets-42151424044

February 12 at Raintree Athletic Club, and February 22 at Hope Lives! For more details, visit https://cancerharbors.com/events 

Speech Therapy for MS Patients

In the US, the number of people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is estimated to be about 400,000, with approximately 10,000 new cases diagnosed every year (that’s 200 new cases per week). That is a startling statistic and many of symptoms are as well. One being the loss of speaking abilities over time.

Speech problems are a common concern for people with MS. Because MS affects the way the brain communicates with the rest of the body, it is hard for some people with MS to control the muscles used to talk. Speech therapists are trained and able to help regain or maintain speaking abilities.

Speech therapy treatment will begin by finding a baseline of the patient’s speech quality.  Establishing this baseline is important, because it gives both the patient and the therapist a clear starting point from which to judge progress. This will be followed by developing a plan to improve the patient’s speech. These plans often include exercises that will build control of facial muscles (may improve enunciation), breathing exercises (may reduce # of pauses in speech) and address other issues surrounding the use of facial and vocal muscles (i.e. difficulties swallowing).

Often forgotten, is a speech therapists ability to help MS patients with cognitive changes such as:

  • Information processing (dealing with information gathered by the five senses)
  • Memory (acquiring, retaining and retrieving new information)
  • Attention and concentration (particularly divided attention)
  • Executive functions (planning and prioritizing)
  • Visuospatial functions (visual perception and constructional abilities)
  • Verbal fluency (word-finding)

If you have more questions about Speech Therapy in regards to MS patients or in general please contact us directly. (970) 204-4331 or visit https://www.nationalmssociety.org/