Category: Resources

Dementia Awareness

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

In America, one in ten people over the age of sixty five has Alzheimer’s dementia.  Two thirds of these people are women. In 2000, 4 million people in America were diagnosed with dementia.  By 2012, nearly 4.5 million people were diagnosed with this disease. With a rapid increase of people diagnosed with dementia it is important to notice the early signs and receive treatment.

Early signs of dementia include: Increased confusion, memory problems, reduced concentration, personality or behavior changes, apathy, and loss of ability to do everyday tasks. These symptoms can come on suddenly or gradually. Unfortunately, these signs can often be mistaken or overlooked. If you or someone you know is showing any of these signs it is important to seek a doctor and get a medical diagnoses.

If you are caring for a patient of dementia it is important to keep a positive mindset, remember body language and attitude communicate your feelings more than words do! Dementia can be tough for both the patient and the caregiver, so it is important to be clear when relying messages to the patient and to also ask clear and answerable questions.  Conducting activities are easier when performed in steps, this helps instruct the patient with dementia and to avoid frustration for the caregiver.

This being said, frustrations will still occur.  When the going gets tough for the dementia
patient try changing the subject or even the environment.  It is important to remember to connect with the person on a feelings level. This means when making suggestions state what feeling you are sensing from them.  This could be done by saying, “I know you are feeling sad today, maybe a walk would make you feel better?” Doing this will help make a connection and improve communication.  Being diagnosed or having someone you care for be diagnosed with dementia is not easy, catching warning signs early could help with treatment and the caregiving process.

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

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!