Category: Occupational Therapy

Sacroiliac Belt

Guest Blogger: Colorado State University Graduate and Covell Care Intern, Garrett Masterson.

The sacroiliac (SI) joint is a very important joint in the human body. There are two SI joints which are located where your sacrum, the lower portion of your spine, and pelvis meet. This joint is very important, as it supports the entire upper body’s weight. If your ligaments or muscles around the SI joint are too weak and/or do not provide enough support, the joints will become destabilized. This can result in abnormal stretching of the joint/muscles/ligaments, arthritis, inflammation, stress and other pains.

A sacroiliac belt is a belt device that’s purpose is to help stabilize the SI joint. This device is worn securely around the hips. The belt compresses against the SI joint, acting as the ligaments and muscles in the area to help provide support. The belt also helps with realigning the pelvis to its proper angles, thereby helping to reduce the destabilization. Wearing one of these
sacroiliac belts can also provide your body with some relief and aid to allow the body to potentially heal and repair the affected muscles and ligaments that are required to have a healthy sacroiliac joint. This relief could also come in the form of reduced inflammation and lessened
pain which is commonly felt in the lower back.

If you are having concerns of SI joint pain and would like to hear more information about a sacroiliac belt, please do not hesitate to contact us at Covell Care. We would love to help you out! (970) 204-4331

Preventing Falls

Blog provided by JaNae Gregg, University of Northern Colorado Student and Covell Care Intern.

Top 5 Ways to Prevent Falls

Aging into later life can bring many concerns, one of the biggest concerns with aging is falling.  The CDC estimates that 1 in 3 seniors will fall at least once a year. One of the biggest predictors of having a fall is already having a previous fall.  This can be worrisome not only for the person involved, but also the families. To prevent something as serious as a fall from happening the first time, it is important to review 5 steps that have been proven to help prevent falls.

One of the first steps in preventing a fall is reviewing medications, certain medications have been linked to increasing falls in seniors.  Such medications include: sedatives and tranquilizers, antipsychotics, nighttime drugs, over-the-counter medication, medications that cause drowsiness.  If these medications are taken, it is important to review them with a doctor to assess the amount of risk of falling involved.

Checking blood pressure while sitting and standing is the second important step in fall prevention.  A substantial drop in blood pressure when a person stands up or changes position is known as postural.  Drops in blood pressure is common for older adults, especially for those who are taking medicine to lower blood pressure.  Blood pressure treatment has in fact been linked to some of the most serious falls in older adults.

The third step in preventing a fall involves a balance evaluation.  If you or someone who know has noticed difficulty with walking or standing should seek an evaluation by a doctor.  These evaluations are covered by Medicare and can be very useful in preventing a fall from occuring. Strength and balance exercises may be recommended to insure this.  Along with these exercises, taking a daily walk can be very helpful in improving balance.

A home safety assessment may be one of the most important parts to preventing a fall.  A set up of a home and placement of furniture and other household items can easily set a person up for a bad fall.  Having a home healthcare agency to have an Occupational Therapist come and evaluate the home for possible falls is an easy way to prevent something serious from happening.  

The final step in fall prevent consists of getting enough Vitamin D.  Taking 1,000 IU per day will help insure that a person is getting the recommended amount of Vitamin D.  A deficiency in Vitamin D can lead to fragile bones and may cause a fall.

Trying Natural Alternatives: Acupuncture

Blog provided by JaNae Gregg, University of Northern Colorado Student and Covell Care Intern.

Keeping our bodies filled with energy and balance are two important keys to a healthy lifestyle.  Acupuncture is a healthy and natural way to cure physical or mental ailments.  This practice first began more 2,500 years ago in China and since has been used to diagnose, treat, and improve general health.  The main effectiveness of acupuncture comes from modifying the flow of energy in the body.

When acupuncture is performed, the patients can either lay face up or face down (depending on which points need to be used).  Then a single use disposable needle is inserted.  When the needle is inserted it can cause a sting or tingling sensation at first, then the needle remains there for five to thirty minutes.  While the needle remains in place the patient may feel a dull ache, but the treatment is relatively painless.   By placing the needles into certain points it brings the energy flow back into proper balance.

The best part of acupuncture is that it is all natural!  There are little to none side effects, it can be combined with other treatments, it can control various types of pain, and helps patients stay off medication.  Acute problems can be cured from eight to twelve sessions, while chronic may take one to two sessions a month for several months.

There are many misconceptions about natural remedies, but medications, surgeries, or other treatments haven’t worked for you, then give acupuncture a chance.  It has been known to not only cure illnesses, but to also prevent future medical problems from arising.  Using acupuncture can be the start of a new way to healthier and natural lifestyle.

The Benefits of Acupuncture

  1. Muscle spasms and pain
  2. Chronic back problems and pain
  3. Headaches and migraines
  4. Neck pain
  5. Osteoarthritis
  6. Knee pain
  7. Allergies
  8. Digestive problems
  9. Mood and depression
  10. Sleep problems
  11. High and low blood pressure
  12. Nausea
  13. Reduce risk of stroke
  14. Facial pain
  15. Vascular dementia

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

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/