Category: Uncategorized

How Does Our Mental Health Change as we Age?

Thank you to JaNae Gregg, UNC Student Volunteer and Guest Blogger.

The aging process comes with many changes for our bodies, but a common change that gets overlooked is how our mental health changes.  The change in our mental health can be misunderstood for the common physical changes that can occur from aging. Some of these symptoms can reveal themselves as lack of motivation, fatigue, and forgetfulness.  One way to be able to recognize when a symptom is cause for a mental health concern includes: stable intellectual functioning, capacity for change, and productive engagement with life. When fatigue and lack of motivation begin to interfere with how a person interacts within their daily life, then it could become a possible warning sign that they are suffering from poor mental health.  It is easy to misinterpret physical changes with mental health since the two typically go hand in hand with one another. For example, if a person suffers from heart problems or diabetes then they are more likely to develop poor mental health. On the other hand, people who suffer from depression and/or anxiety are more likely to develop physical problems that could include lack of energy, trouble concentrating, and memory problems.

Coping with the changes that occur while aging should be a part of everyone’s long-term lifestyle.  This could be done by expecting and planning for changes to occur (at any stage of life), maintaining strong relationships with family and friends, and a willingness to stay excited and involved with life.  By taking preventative measures to help mental health early on in life, then there is a higher chance of having better mental health in the future.  

Following these steps can be very beneficial for mental health, but sometimes the changes and loneliness that occurs with aging is hard to combat.  It is important to recognize if these changes reach a point of being too much to handle. The most sure sign of poor mental health or loneliness is when it becomes an interference to a person’s daily life.  There are a variety of ways to help decrease feeling lonely, these strategies include: staying active, look for new social outlets and contacts, make friends with people of all ages, continue to set goals and work towards them, and learn to recognize and deal with signs of depression.  Having strong emotional and social support are two of the biggest factors that can help with mental health; it is also associated with reduced risk of physical illness and mortality.

Mental health is just as important as a person’s physical health.  If you or someone you know suffers from a mental health disease or just isn’t feeling themselves, it is wise to seek outlets that can be beneficial to help improve their well-being.  Seeking counseling can be very beneficial, but there are many other ways to help improve mental health. Starting a new exercise routine, eating a healthier diet, finding a hobby, and being social are all great simple ways to begin to improve mental health. 

Contact Covell Care at (970) 204-4331 to learn about our counseling services for you or a loved one.   

Source: https://www.psychologistanywhereanytime.com/psychologist/psychologist_aging_and_mental_health.htm

Reducing Hospital Admission with OT

Thank you to our guest blogger Hailey Jungerman, Covell Care Intern and Colorado State University Senior.

Occupational therapists play an important part in keeping patients out of the hospital. They do so by encouraging safety in independence. One thing that I have heard repeatedly in shadowing OTR Dave of Covell Care is, “And we want you to be safe while doing so.” He is always referring to the daily activities of his clients and encouraging that they can do the things they want to, but making it more safe for the ability of the client.

In a journal about OT preventing readmissions, OTR Pamela Roberts and OTR Marla Robinson say that “19.4% will be readmitted within 30 days and 51.6% within 1 year” (254). This is important because it shows a need. We NEED to help in reducing this rate. They also state that OT has an important role in early identification of risk and early engagement in risk-reduction strategies (254). The earlier that patients start with OT after a hospital visit, the more likely that it will help in preventing readmission.

Roberts and Robinson state that OT can prevent hospital acquired conditions (HACs) and falls while in the hospital (255). Being in a hospital increases risk of fall due to unfamiliar environment and confusion. If a patient is to fall, then there is a fear of falling which can in turn lead to further disability from reduction in activity due to fear (Roberts and Robinson 255). This is why OT is so important in all settings of care. OT should be seeing patients that are high-risk for falls and hospital admission to prevent admission as well as in hospital settings and care immediately following a hospital visit to reduce readmission risk.

Another journal restates the importance of safety by asking “can the patient be discharged safely into her or his environment?” and if not that occupational therapists can look at 6 important interventions that can reduce readmission (Rogers et al.):
1) Provide recommendations and training for caregivers.
2) Determine whether patients can safely live independently, or require rehabilitation or nursing.
3) Address existing disabilities with assistive devices so patients can safely perform activities of daily living.
4) Perform home safety assessments before discharge to suggest modifications.
5) Asses cognition and the ability to physically manipulate things like medication containers, and provide training when necessary
6) Work with physical therapists to increase intensity of inpatient rehabilitation.

The only thing to be added is that therapists should work the whole care team to ensure safety and monitor success of therapy which may include occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, personal training, nursing, etc. Occupational therapy is necessary in assessing safety in activities of daily living. When safety is encouraged, the more independent a person can be and the less likely they will end up in the hospital.

Works Cited:

Roberts, Pamela S., and Marla R. Robinson. “Occupational Therapy’s Role in Preventing Acute Readmissions.” American Journal of Occupational Therapy, vol. 68, no. 3, 2014, pp. 254–259., doi:10.5014/ajot.2014.683001.
Rogers, Andrew T., et al. “Higher Hospital Spending on Occupational Therapy Is Associated With Lower Readmission Rates.” Medical Care Research and Review, vol. 74, no. 6, 2 Sept. 2016, pp. 668–686., doi:10.1177/1077558716666981.

What is Functional Fitness

Thank you to our guest blogger Garrett Masterson, Colorado State University Student and Covell Care Intern.

Functional fitness is a type of fitness that prepares you and your body for everyday normal living. This includes such activities as walking up and down stairs, picking objects up from the ground, placing and removing food and kitchenware into cabinets/pantries/shelves/the fridge, sitting and standing from chairs, and many other daily activities. Functional fitness is exercising using motions that mimic our natural movements that we use everyday in our daily activities.

An example of a functional fitness exercise would be a squat, which simulates sitting and standing from a chair. These types of exercise will engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, as many daily activities require the use of multiple muscle groups working in concert to perform actions. Functional fitness exercises focus on balance, strength, cardio, and exercises that move your body through different planes of motion.

The benefits of functional fitness improve your overall quality of life. It will increase your stability and balance while increasing your strength. Stronger, more functional muscles will help to stabilize your joints. Creating a stronger body for performing normal daily activities can greatly reduce the risk of injury and falls. You will also find that performing everyday activities can be easier. Functional exercise training may be especially beneficial for older adults to improve balance, agility and muscle strength, and reduce the risk of falls and hospitalizations.

Make sure to call us at Covell Care to see if this type of training is a good fit for you! (970) 204-4331

References

  1. Mayo Clinic (2016). Functional fitness training: Is it right for you? https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/functional-fitness/art-20047680
  2. Leonard, Deja (2018). Functional Fitness Is The Workout You Never Knew Your Body Needed. Women’s Health. https://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/a21938102/functional-fitness-training/

Exercise: A tool to manage Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

Thank you to Hailey Jungerman, CSU Student and Covell Care intern for her guest blog post!

Exercise can be a great way to manage symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis is a progressive disease that can cause impairments in mental and physical functioning, and ultimately daily activities of life. There are many symptoms such as decreased flexibility and mobility, cognitive impairment, muscular spasticity, and depressive mood. Exercise can help in improving some of these, while managing most others. Though it is not a cure, exercise is a great way to improve quality of life by helping to manage the symptoms. In a meta-analysis of studies, it found improvements in cardio and muscular fitness through exercising. There was also indications of balance and walking improvements as well as consistent reductions in fatigue and depressive symptoms in Multiple Sclerosis patients {1}. Another study found that there could be enhancements in muscle strength, flexibility, stability, fatigue, quality of life and respiratory function {2}.

Multiple Sclerosis can lead many to being physically inactive which itself poses a threat of more complications, such as osteoporosis. In order to help manage symptoms and prevent other complications it is important to develop a personalized exercise plan. Beginning or continuing exercise with Multiple Sclerosis requires a medical clearance by a physician and the exercise program should be supervised. This is important as to not worsen any symptoms, and just for safety in general. The program should be focused on chief concerns of the patient and be closely monitored to ensure it is working.

Great news is that Covell Care offers physical therapy, group fitness classes and personal training that can assist in providing information and exercise programs personalized to you. If you are interested in pursuing these options, contact Covell Care at (970) 204-4331.

Works Cited:

{2} Halabchi, Farzin, et al. “Exercise Prescription for Patients with Multiple Sclerosis; Potential Benefits and Practical Recommendations.” BMC Neurology, vol. 17, no. 1, 2017, doi:10.1186/s12883-017-0960-9.

{1} Motl, Robert W, et al. “Exercise in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis.” The Lancet Neurology, vol. 16, no. 10, Oct. 2017, pp. 848–856., doi:10.1016/s1474-4422(17)30281-8.


Opioid Crisis in Older Adults

Thank you to JaNae Gregg, UNC student and volunteer for her guest blog post!

Chronic pain is an awful burden that many people of a variety of ages have to suffer from. Unfortunately, the most common treatment for chronic pain is delivered in the form of an addictive substance, such as an opioid.  It has become more apparent that there is an opioid crisis happening in the United States; everyday more than 115 people die from an opioid overdose.

Roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids end up misusing them, often times leading to an overdose. In some cases, patients who are being prescribed opioids don’t often know that mixing their medications can lead to overdose or that not following the prescribed instructions can lead to an overdose. The questions now are, how do help fix this crisis? And
what are other alternatives to treating chronic pain without the use of opioids?

Good Day Pharmacy has recognized the opioid crisis and is beginning to take major leaps into helping their patients become aware.  The pharmacy has begun training with their team members to start the “opioid management discussion.” A part of this discussion has to do with the use of Naloxone (don’t worry, I didn’t know what this was either).  Naloxone is a new medication designed to help reverse an overdose from occurring. The Good Day Pharmacy team is spreading the word about this incredible new medication and teaching their patients how to use it. Naloxone can be given in three different types of ways. The three ways include: pre-packaged nasal spray, auto injectable (pre-filled auto injection), and injectable (professional training required).  This new medication will help stop an overdose if it begins to occur, but that doesn’t mean that preventing overdoses from occurring shouldn’t be taken into consideration.

Prescription pain medication is heavy duty and not something to be taken lightly or without knowledge. It is always important to look into all options for chronic pain management before landing on opioids.  To help bring an end to the opioid crisis and dependency on pain medication I have provided a list of options for chronic pain management. This could be for anyone who would like to stop using opioids and try something different or for anyone who is just now seeking help for their chronic pain.  Of course these treatments may not work for everyone, but it is important to keep an open mind when seeking pain management.

  • Alternative treatments for chronic pain include:
  • Acupuncture
  • Marijuana
  • Exercise
  • Chiropractic manipulation
  • Supplements and vitamins
  • Therapy
  • Stress-reduction techniques (yoga, relaxation therapy, hypnosis, massage, biofeedback)

Sources:
https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/opioid-overdose-reversal-naloxone-narcan-evzio
https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis
https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/features/alternative-treatments#2