When should you stop driving…

A big thank you to guest blogger, Kiara Tucker Covell Intern with University of Northern Colorado.

It’s one of the hardest conversations to have with your senior parent but also a very important one: When should you stop driving? Most people try to avoid this conversation because they feel that it is best when their doctor or caregiver tells them it’s that time. Unfortunately, doctors and caregivers might not tell your senior when that time is, so it is on you to look for the warning signs to keep them safe. If you are lucky enough to ride along with them, it will be easier to tell when that time is. Some signs include driving too fast or too slow, improper lane changes, and confusing the brake and the gas pedal. They can also become very distracted while driving and maybe hit some curbs. If you are not able to drive with them, you can also look over the car to inspect for any scrapes or damage. But even if you cannot be near your senior, there are some other signs that will tell you it might be time to have the conversation. If your senior parent has arthritis, dementia, or any vision and hearing difficulties, they might not be suitable to drive. Another sign is they have hindered reactions to unforeseen situations. Although this might be a hard conversation, it’s a very important one because it will help keep them safe and others on the road. “Over the past year, 14 million Americans aged 18 to 64 were estimated to be involved in accidents caused by drivers aged 65 and over” (Gold, 2015). With this many people impacted, it is important to look over your loved ones and have that conversation when it’s time.

If you start noticing some of these signs, it is time to have that conversation and also time for an evaluation. At Covell Care, a certified driving rehabilitation specialist can conduct and evaluation that gives recommendations on driving retirement, retractions, and/ or compensatory strategies. We also provide occupational therapy services that can help your loved one with this transition. (970) 204-4331

8 Ways to Stay Healthy During the Summer

Blog written by JaNae Gregg, University of Northern Colorado student and Covell Care Intern.

Summer is right around the corner! And with that being said.. So is the summer heat. Summer is a wonderful time for to go for hikes, gardening, cookouts, and many other wonderful adventures that happen outside.  Unfortunately, enjoying these activities also means bracing the sometimes-unbearable heat that can occur.  That is why it is important to know the do’s and don’ts for a safe and healthy summer.

  1. Layer your clothing.  Yes, summer is hot, but many buildings have the AC on full blast.  By layering your clothing, you can stay cool outside, but warm inside.
  2. DRINK UP.  One of the important things to do during the summer is to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids but try avoiding caffeine.  Caffeine is a diuretic and can deplete our bodies of the liquid that we need.
  3. Cool off your kitchen.  Heating up the oven or stove can increase the temperature in your home.  Instead of cooking a meal that requires the oven substitute a fresh salad, sandwich, or smoothie for a meal.
  4. Wear eye protection.  Too much sun exposure can irritate and cause damage to your eyes.  Wearing sunglasses can protect your eyes preserve your vision.
  5. Keep track of the time.  Enjoy your outdoor activities, but don’t overdo your time in the sun.  If you enjoy exercising outside, be sure to do it in the early morning or in the evening when the sun isn’t at its peak.
  6. Monitor the air conditioning.  Our bodies naturally cool down at night to help us sleep.  Instead of using the air conditioner at night, try opening the windows or using a fan.  This way you stay cool, but not too cold where it could disrupt your sleep.
  7. Sunscreen.  While outside be sure to apply sunscreen to any exposed skin.  Also, be sure to toss out last summer’s sunscreen and purchase a new bottle.  The shelf life of sunscreen is only a yearlong and expired sunscreen won’t provide the protection that is needed.
  8. Add Chia to your diet.  Chia seeds help absorb the water in your gut slowly and release it throughout the day.  This will help ensure that you’re getting the most from the water that your drinking.

Please use these guidelines to ensure a healthy and fun summer!

 

Is your bowel or bladder controlling you???

People of all ages live with bowel and/or bladder issues. Bowel and bladder dysfunction arise for various reasons: childbirth, prostate issues, a recent surgery, cancer treatment, lack of pelvic floor strength, the food & drink a person consumes and the list goes on.

There is even a thought that incontinence is just a normal part of aging. I am here to tell you that is not the case. Whether you suffer from stress or urge bladder incontinence, bowel incontinence or mix…You can take back your life and make changes NOW!

It is good to understand what a healthy bowel and bladder look like.

  • The average bladder can hold 2 cups of urine before needing to be emptied.
  • We should urinate 6-8 times in 24 hours, and have a bowel movement 3x/day-3x/week. As we age we may need to go more because our bladder shrinks but should not need to go more than every 2 hours.
  • Urine should flow out easily without straining and should come out in a steady stream.
  • An urge is the sensation you feel as the bladder stretches and fills. It does not always mean your bladder is full and urges should be controlled.
  • Your bladder should be completely emptied when you use the toilet.
  • Void positioning: knees higher than hips, lean forward and put elbows on your knees, bulge out your abdomen and straighten your spine (squatting position).
  • Holding your bladder for an excessive time (more than 4 hours) is NOT healthy for your bladder.
  • Don’t go to the bathroom “just in case” or more than every 2 hours.
  • Drink 6-8 glasses of water everyday unless your physician advises otherwise. When your urine is dark and has a foul odor, you may not be taking in enough fluid.
  • Avoid food and drink irritants. Limit alcohol! Alcohol actually increases urine production and also makes it difficult for the brain to coordinate the bladder control.
  • Too much sugar and/or fatty foods, a sedentary lifestyle, medications, ignoring the need to have a BM are all potential causes of constipation.
  • Avoid constipation by having a balanced diet of fiber. Gradually increase fiber intake to 25-35 grams per day.

Did you get all of that? Follow these bladder/bowel guidelines and see if anything changes.

Have questions about irritants or fiber? Join Covell Care for an intimate presentation on on this topic March 7th 11:30-1:15 (includes lunch!), next week at The Hillcrest of Loveland, 535 Douglas Ave, Loveland, CO 80537. Contact the Hillcrest with questions & to RSVP: (970) 541-4173. https://www.mbkseniorliving.com/senior-living/co/loveland/hillcrest-of-loveland/

Senior Driving: Warning Signs

The winter months are a season that all drivers give thought to cautious driving when weather changes and also seems to be a time when older drivers question if they should even go out on the roads. It is hard for families to truly understand when their loved one is at risk for an accident, when to reach out for expert help or if driving should even be an option.

It is a good idea to keep in mind the many warning signs that driving is a concern. If one warning sign is present that person may benefit from further discussion on driving with their physician, participation in a driving program or worse case scenario stop driving. AAA has many resources to support this decision and senior drivers (https://seniordriving.aaa.com/). Below is a list of warning signs to keep in mind when making a decision on next steps of a loved one’s driving ability.

  • The senior driver has been issued two or more traffic tickets or warnings in the past two years. Tickets can predict greatest risk for collision.
  • The senior driver has been involved in two or more collisions or “near-misses” in the past two years. Rear-end crashes, parking lot fender-benders and side collisions while turning across traffic rank as the most common mishaps for drivers with diminishing skills, depth perception or reaction time.
  • Does the senior driver confuse the gas and brake pedals or have difficulty working them? Drivers who lift their legs to move from the accelerator to the brake, rather than keeping a heel on the floor and pressing with the toes, may be signaling waning leg strength.
  • Does the senior driver seem to ignore or miss stop signs and other traffic signals? Perhaps the driver is inattentive or cannot spot the signs in a crowded, constantly moving visual field.
  • Does the senior driver weave between or straddle lanes? Signaling incorrectly or not at all when changing lanes can be particularly dangerous, especially if the driver fails to check mirrors or blind spots.
  • Do other senior drivers honk or pass frequently, even when the traffic stream is moving relatively slowly? This may indicate difficulty keeping pace with fast-changing conditions.
  • Does the senior driver get lost or disoriented easily, even in familiar places? This could indicate problems with working memory or early cognitive decline.
  • Does the driver have a history of falls? If yes, they are 40% more likely to be involved in a crash.
  • Has there been a new diagnosis? Note ‘red flag’ diagnosis: sleep apnea, dementia, MS, Parkinson’s, diabetes.

Take this list as a guide in your next conversation or car ride with a loved one. Please contact our office with specific questions on Covell Care’s driving rehabilitation program.

Please join Covell Care for an intimate presentation on driving rehabilitation and bossy bladder March 7th 11:30-1:15 (includes lunch!), next week at The Hillcrest of Loveland, 535 Douglas Ave, Loveland, CO 80537. Contact the Hillcrest with questions: (970) 541-4173. https://www.mbkseniorliving.com/senior-living/co/loveland/hillcrest-of-loveland/

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. https://greenwoodhomecare.co.uk/

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.