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Archive for the ‘caregiving’ Category

Alzheimer’s Is Not Inevitable

In caregiving, community, Health on February 19, 2012 at 3:27 am

Many experts believe we can, if not prevent, delay dementia ~ even if it seems to run in the family. Reducing risk factors like diabetes, obesity, smoking and lack of physical activity just by 25% could prevent approximately 1/2 million cases of Alzheimer’s in the U.S. according to a recent analysis from the University of California.

The goal is to prolong it long enough that we can live a life without ever suffering from the sysptoms (Gary Small, MD UCLA’s director of Longevity Center). There seem to be four main areas.

GET MOVING ~ one of the key things we can do to keep our brains young is exercise. Higher exercise levels can reduce dementia risk by 30 – 40%. Physically active people tend to have better cognitive function and memory. Physical activity can also trigger the the growth of new nerve cells & promote nerve growth. Even a little exercise is better than none…15 minutes of regular exercise three times a week can help maintain the brain.

PUMP SOME IRON ~ Studies have shown lifting weights, even light weights, have increased cognitive function and increased the levels of growth factors in the brain, such as IGFI, which nourish & protect nerve cells.

LEARNING ~ When we challenge the brain, we increase the number of brain cells & the number of connections between those cells. It is not enough to do things like crossword puzzles if this is something you routinely do. You have to learn new things like sudoku or a new language. Engaging the mind can help older brains maintain healthy functioning.

REDUCE STRESS ~ chronic stress floods our brains with cortisol which leads to impaired memory. Harvard Researchers studied men & women trained in meditation and found they had reduced harmful stress hormones compared to individuls who were not taking “down time” to reduce the stress in their lives.

Bottom line, the things that we keep hearing about exercising, reducing stress, etc. seem to have way more positives than negatives so what do you have to loose? Get out there and “move your body”!

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Caregivers Evening ~ Had to Share

In caregiving on February 5, 2012 at 6:36 am

One of our caregivers’ assignment is a young child. When I called to check in with her one Saturday evening she told me how her evening was going and had both of us laughing so hard we were crying. The evening began with her making a comment about their doggie door and how it made her uncomfortable from a safety perspective. (They have a big dog so the door is pretty big) So the child’s father put the latch on it to lock it. During the evening she started smelling something funny (bad) and kept checking the child’s diaper. While on the floor playing, the child moved toward the door and was trying to grab at something so she hurried over to see what the child was going after and to her surprise the dog had pooed on the floor in front of the doggie door. She picked up the child and began running around looking for something to clean up the poo with (disinfectant)…she also decided the dog needed to be able to go out the door which trumped her fear of someone coming in the door.

All of this happened (of course) after she had given the child his bath during which the dog kept trying to go under her legs; she ended up putting the dog out of the bathroom. When she finally put the child to bed for the evening, turned the monitoring camera on and began to pick up the toys they had been playing with she hears a loud sound. She immediately gets up and rushes to the childs room to find the child had somehow managed to pull the monitoring camera off the wall. She spent the next 15 minutes trying to figure out how to get it back on the wall and working.

After all of this the child was wide awake so she took him to the living room to rock him and give him a bottle. While in the kitchen getting his bottle ready he gets into one of the cabinets and starts pulling everything out. She told me she documented on the Home Safety checklist, “kitchen cabinets need child proof locks” after another few minutes picking up everything and trying to get the cabinet back in order. He finally fell asleep. She said he was out like a light, exhausted from the evenings playing and activities. I really think it was her that was exhausted. She loves the little guy though and wouldn’t trade this assignment for the world!

A Twist to Caregiving ~ Laughter

In caregiving, community on January 29, 2012 at 3:38 am

Alas, where has all our innocence gone?

While I sat in the reception area of my doctor’s office, a woman rolled an elderly man in a wheelchair into the room. As she went to the receptionist’s desk, the man sat there, alone and silent. Just as I was thinking I should make small talk with him, a little boy slipped off his mother’s lap and walked over to the wheelchair. Placing his hand on the man’s, he said, ‘I know how you feel. My mom makes me ride in the stroller too.’

*****

As I was nursing my baby, my cousin’s six-year-old daughter, Krissy, came into the room. Never having seen anyone breast feed before, she was intrigued and full of all kinds of questions about what I was doing. After mulling over my answers, she remarked, ‘My mom has some of those, but I don’t think she knows how to use them’

*****

Out bicycling one day with my eight-year-old granddaughter, Carolyn, I got a little wistful. ‘In ten years,’ I said you’ll want to be with your friends and you won’t go walking, biking,and swimming with me like you do now. Carolyn shrugged, In ten years you’ll be too old to do those things anyway.

******

Working as a pediatric nurse, I had the difficult assignment of giving immunization shots to children. One day, I entered the examining room to give four-year-old Lizzie her needle. ‘No, no, no!’ she
screamed. ‘Lizzie,’ scolded her mother, ‘that’s not polite behavior.’ With that, the girl yelled even louder, ‘No, thank you! No, thank you!

******

On the way back from a Cub Scout meeting, my grandson innocently said to my son, ‘Dad, I know babies come from mommies’ tummies, but how do they get there in the first place?’ After my son hemmed and hawed
awhile, my grandson finally spoke up in disgust, ‘You don’t have to make up something, Dad. It’s okay if you don’t know the answer.’

*****

Just before I was deployed to Iraq, I sat my eight-year-old son down and broke the news to him. ‘I’m going to be away for a long time,’ I told him. ‘I’m going to Iraq. ‘Why?’ he asked. ‘Don’t you know there’s a war going on over there?’

*****

Paul Newman founded the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp for children stricken with cancer, AIDS, and blood diseases. One afternoon, he and his wife, Joanne Woodward, stopped by to have lunch with the kids. A counselor at a nearby table, suspecting the young patients wouldn’t know Newman was a famous movie star, explained, That’s the man who made this camp possible. Maybe you’ve seen his picture on his salad dressing bottle?’ Blank stares. ‘Well, you’ve probably seen his face on his lemonade carton.’ An eight-year-old girl perked up. How long was he missing?’

*****

… and my personal favorite …
God’s Problem Now:

His wife’s graveside service was just barely finished, when there was a massive clap of thunder, followed by a tremendous bolt of lightning, accompanied by even more thunder rumbling in the distance.The little, old man looked at the pastor and calmly said, “Well, she’s there.”

A little laughter does a body good!

Texting for Seniors

In caregiving, community, Health on January 14, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Since more and more Seniors are texting and tweeting there appears to be a need for a STC (Senior Texting Code). If you qualify for Senior Discounts this is the code for you. Please pass this on to your children and grandchildren so they can understand your texts.

ATD: At The Doctor’s
BFF: Best Friend Fainted
BTW: Bring The Wheelchair
BYOT: Bring Your Own Teeth
CBM: Covered By Medicare
CGU: Can’t get up
CUATSC: See You At The Senior Center
DWI: Driving While Incontinent
FWB: Friend With Beta Blockers
FWIW: Forgot Where I Was
FYI: Found Your Insulin
GGPBL: Gotta Go Pacemaker Battery Low!
GHA: Got Heartburn Again
HGBM: Had Good Bowel Movement
IMHO: Is My Hearing-Aid On?
LMDO: Laughing My Dentures Out
LOL: Living On Lipitor
LWO: Lawrence Welk’s On
OMMR: On My Massage Recliner
OMSG: Oh My! Sorry Gas.
ROFL… CGU: Rolling On The Floor Laughing… And Can’t Get Up
TTYL: Talk To You Louder
WAITT: Who Am I Talking To?
WTFA: Wet The Furniture Again
WTP: Where’s The Prunes?
WWNO: Walker Wheels Need Oil
GGLKI: (Gotta Go Laxative Kicking In)

Just doing my job by keeping you in the know! You just have to take life in stride..and laugh; laughing does the body good!

Taking Care of Spot

In canine companionship, caregiving on January 8, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Most of us know that we’re not suppose to give our dogs chocolate but do you know why? There is a chemical called theobromine that dogs can not digest very quickly in chocolate. It can build up in their systems and become toxic. For smaller dogs, eating just one ounce of baking cocoa can result in vomiting, thirst, abnormal heart rhythm, seizures and even death. For a safe treat for our four legged friends try peanut butter.

A dog’s nose has 14 times more scent cells as a human’s. This is why it is important if you have something around the house your spot shouldn’t get into, make sure to put it in a place they don’t have access to…otherwise don’t be surprised if you walk in to find them with it.

Did you know dogs have chiropractors? The American Veterinary Chiropractic Association certifies animal chiropractors who treat skeletal alignment problems in not just dogs, but also in horses, cats, pigs, sheet and even reptiles. There are more than 1 thousand AVCA-certified professionals practicing in the United States. This gives new meaning to “animal cracker”!

The best exercise you can give your dog is a long walk. A one hour investment of your time will give you a well-behaved, tired spot who thinks you are the best! And who will be healthier, with a glossier coan and a better appetite. Bonus: you will get some exercise and fresh air too! Note: to avoid joint damage, never run a puppy (up to 9 months old) for more than 5 consecutive minutes.

And PLEASE remember to brush spots teeth! This is very important to their overall health!

Here’s to man’s and woman’s best friend!

Thank You For Your Caregiving Advice

In caregiving, Health on December 17, 2011 at 2:59 am

As we prepare to depart the year 2011 and progress into the critical the year 2012, I want to thank all of you for your educational e-mails over the past year. I am totally screwed up now and have little chance of recovery.

I no longer open a bathroom door without using a paper towel, or have the waitress put lemon slices in my ice water without worrying about the bacteria on the lemon peel.

I can’t use the remote in a hotel room because I don’t know what the last person was doing while flipping through the adult movie channels.

I can’t sit down on the hotel bedspread because I can only imagine what has happened on it since it was last washed.

I have trouble shaking hands with someone who has been driving because the number one pastime while driving alone is picking ones nose.

Eating a little snack sends me on a guilt trip because I can only imagine how many gallons of trans fats I have consumed over the years.

I cant touch any woman’s purse for fear she has placed it on the floor of a public bathroom.

I MUST SEND MY SPECIAL THANKS to whoever sent me the one about rat poop in the glue on envelopes because I now have to use a wet sponge with every envelope that needs sealing.

ALSO, now I have to scrub the top of every can I open for the same reason.

I no longer have any savings because I gave it to a sick girl (Penny Brown) who is about to die for the 1,387,258th time.

I no longer have any money, but that will change once I receive the $15,000 that Bill Gates/Microsoft and AOL are sending me for participating in their special e-mail program.

I no longer worry about my soul because I have 363,214 angels looking out for me, and St Theresa’s Novena has granted my every wish.

I can’t have a drink in a bar because I’ll wake up in a bathtub full of ice with my kidneys gone.

I can’t eat at KFC because their chickens are actually horrible mutant freaks with no eyes, feet or feathers.

I can’t use cancer-causing deodorants even though I smell like a water buffalo on a hot day.

THANKS TO YOU I have learned that my prayers only get answered if I forward an e-mail to seven of my friends and make a wish within five minutes.

BECAUSE OF YOUR CONCERN, I no longer drink Coca Cola because it can remove toilet stains.

I no longer buy gas without taking someone along to watch the car so a serial killer doesn’t crawl in my back seat when I’m filling up.

I no longer drink Pepsi or Fanta since the people who make these products are atheists who refuse to put “Under God” on their cans.

I no longer use Cling Wrap in the microwave because it causes seven different types of cancer.

AND THANKS FOR LETTING ME KNOW I can’t boil a cup of water in the microwave anymore because it will blow up in my face. Disfiguring me for life.

I no longer go to the movies because I could be pricked with a needle infected with AIDS when I sit down.

I no longer go to shopping malls because someone will drug me with a perfume sample and rob me.

I no longer receive packages from UPS or Fed Ex since they are actuallyAl Qaeda agents in disguise.

And I no longer answer the phone because someone will ask me to dial a number for which I will get a phone bill with calls to Jamaica , Uganda , Singapore , and Uzbekistan .

I no longer buy cookies from Neiman-Marcus since I now have their recipe.

THANKS TO YOU I can’t use anyone’s toilet but mine because a big black snake could be lurking under the seat and cause me instant death when it bites my butt.

AND THANKS TO YOUR GREAT ADVICE I can’t ever pick up a .25 cent coin dropped in the parking lot because it probably was placed there by a sex molester waiting to grab me as I bend over.

I no longer drive my car because buying gas from some companies supports Al Qaeda, and buying gas from all the others supports South American dictators.

I can’t do any gardening because I’m afraid I’ll get bitten by the Violin Spider and my hand will fall off.

If you don’t send this e-mail to at least 144,000 people in the next 70 minutes, a large dove with diarrhea will land on your head at 5:00 p.m tomorrow afternoon, and the fleas from 120 camels will infest your back, causing you to grow a hairy hump. I know this will occur because it actually happened to a friend of my next door neighbors ex-mother-in-laws second husbands cousins best friends beautician . . .

Oh, by the way…..

A German scientist from Argentina , after a lengthy study, has discovered that people with insufficient brain activity read their e-mail with their hand on the mouse.

Don’t bother taking it off now, its too late.

P. S. I now keep my toothbrush in the living room, because I was told by e-mail that water splashes over 6 ft. out of the toilet.

This pretty much sums up all the advice I have received for caring for myself and my family. LOL

New Sign of Stroke

In caregiving, Health on December 10, 2011 at 2:38 am

There is a new indicator for recognizing a stroke, the Tongue. Remember: STRT

S = Ask the individual to SMILE
T = Ask the person to TALK, speak a simple sentence coherently (It is sunny out today.)
R = As them to RAISE BOTH ARMS.
T = Ask the person to STICK OUT THEIR TONGUE. If the tongue is “crooked” (goes to one side or the other) this is another indication of a stroke.

If the individual has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call 911 IMMEDIATELY!

Neurologists believe if they can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours they can totally reverse the effects of a stroke. This is why time is of the utmost importance so don’t wait!

Being Alone & Being Lonely Are Not the Same

In caregiving, Health on November 22, 2011 at 2:59 am

Being alone means being on your own. Being lonely usually refers to being unhappy with the emotional and social relationships that you do not have or with the ones you do have. It has a lot to do with feeling connected with people.

Growing older means dealing with a lot of changes including health and lifestyle. It can mean moving away from a community or having fewer opportunities to develop new friendships. Physical pain and loss of mobility can make it harder for older adults to get out and enjoy activities with other people. Even if you live with family it can be lonely. Our society does not always make seniors feel good about themselves.

Loneliness can be stressful and is very hard on a person’s health. Did you know that being lonely puts a person’s immune system under stress making it more likely to develop colds and infections?

Personal Strategies for Preventing or Reducing Loneliness:

Start with a smile. The quickest way to make a friend and it doesn’t cost you a dime.
Say “Hi”. Take a moment to speak with someone.
Reach out to others. Take the initiative to invite someone to go with you for a short walk or to have a cup of tea with you.
Be a friend and show interest in others. Everyone wants to be around people who are nice to them.
Take a chance on developing new relationships at any age.
Help someone with something. Anything you are able to do for another person.
Keep connected with others. Try to get to activities or just make regular visits with neighbors and/or family.

Test Yourself:

Do I have someone in my life who understands me? Yes No
Do I have someone I can easily talk to? Yes No
Have I felt close to someone for a long time? Yes No
Do I have a network of friends? Yes No
Do I like my life the way it is? Yes No

If you answered “No” to one or more of these questions, loneliness may be affecting your life.

Routinely assess our community. How senior friendly is it? What services are available to you? Regular telephone contact can increase feelings of security and show that people care. It can give a senior someone to connect to or unburden to about what they are going through. It provides a person-to-person link where the senior might not feel physically, emotionally, socially or financially up to having visitors.

You’re First provides reassurance services for less than $1 a day. We make that daily connection via telephone because we know how important it is!

We also provide canine companionship to combat feelings of isolation and loneliness. We bring the canine right to you wherever home is.

Elder Abuse from a Caregiver Perspective

In caregiving, community on November 4, 2011 at 3:24 am

Statistics show that every year tens of thousands of elders across America are abused whether it’s domestic, institutional or self-neglect. No matter how you look at it, it’s a crying shame and we (yes we) must do everything we can to stop it. Remember we will all be a senior some day.

Domestic abuse is the most common and it usually initialed by someone who is close to the elder (spouse, child, sibling, friend and/or a caregiver). I am ashamed to have to include caregivers in this as I take my duties as a caregiver very seriously and consider myself extremely loving and caring. Some people are just opportunistic while others are just plain mean; and then you have those that don’t know how to handle their own situations let alone dealing with someone else. People have been preying on weaker people for centuries and it’s not getting any better, especially since we have so many more people living longer.

Institutional abuse occurs in nursing homes, group homes and care facilities and is inflicted by those who are legally required to take care of our elders. While self-abuse stems directly from the elder themselves. Here are some warning signs to look for in the elder you know and love:

* Bruises, scars and other bodily injuries
* A change in emotional behavior or mimicking signs of dementia
* Unsanitary or unsafe living conditions
* Unusual weight loss, malnutrition or dehydration
* Unexplainable diseases or infections
* Any changes in their financial state; family or caregiver is unusually interested in the elders finances
* Problems with care facility or under/over medication
* Multiple billings for the same medical care

This list only highlights the major warning signs to look for. According to the Elder Financial Protection Network roughly $2.6 billion is stolen from seniors every year. Elders most often rely on family and friends to help them with their financial matters. Most often the abuser is someone the elder trusts or is the primary caregiver so the elder is unwilling or unable to get help. This crime is one of the most difficult crimes to detect and prosecute as it can take many forms from forging a senior’s name on checks, loan or credit card to promises of services that are paid for but not delivered. Elders get coerced into giving up power of attorney or bullied into giving money and/or other assets.

Please, please, PLEASE keep a watchful eye on the elder in your life. If you suspect someone you know has been a victim of elder abuse please contact the Texas Department of Family & Protective Services at 1-800-252-5400 or their website at http://www.txabusehotline.org Outside of Texas contact the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) at 1-800-677-1116 or their website at http://www.ncea.aoa.gov

Save a Life, Love a Senior!

Dementia Not Normal Part of Aging

In caregiving, Health on October 30, 2011 at 11:25 pm

While we all are a little more forgetful as we age dementia is not a normal part of aging. Look at all of the people you know that lived well into their 90’s and even 100’s. Most were frail but still sharp, still having most or all of their faculties. For the past several decades we have gotten used to the notion that dementia comes with the territory as we get older. We are now realizing (coming to terms with) the fact that loosing precious brain function is not a normal part of aging. Scientists admit the condition, which most often plays itself out in the form of Alzheimer’s, is an abnormal neurological condition that is likely caused by a combination of factors, including but not limited to things like fluoride in the water, artificial chemicals in food and mercury and aluminum in a multitude of things (deodorant, filings, etc.).

Experts are now looking at the real possibility that many forms of dementia may be preventable. A lot more research and money is needed in order to figure out exactly how we can resolve this dilemma. Many studies have already linked environmental and other contaminants as contributors. Aluminum for instance, is a known neurotoxin and studies have identified the presence of aluminum in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s. Toxic fluoride is also linked to Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases.

I am not a physician or scientist but we have to ask ourselves “what has been different in our lives over the past few decades that has caused such an increase in the number of individuals diagnosied with dementias?” It only makes sense to look at how our lives have changed be it the environment or the products and food we eat.

We would love to hear from you, your comments are appreciated.