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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”!

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!

Perception, Stop and Smell the Coffee!

In community, Health on December 19, 2011 at 2:00 am

In Washington , DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.

About 4 minutes later:

The violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

At 6 minutes:

A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

At 10 minutes:

A 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent – without exception – forced their children to move on quickly.

At 45 minutes:

The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

After 1 hour:

He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all. No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world.

He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

This is a true story.

Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities. This experiment raised several questions:

*In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?

*If so, do we stop to appreciate it?

*Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made . . .How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?

Enjoy life NOW .. .it has an expiration date !

Author Unknown

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!

Developing Your Sense of Humor: Take yourself less seriously

In caregiving, community on October 29, 2011 at 3:22 am

Life is too short to sweat everything all the time. When you “become the problem” and take yourself too seriously, it can be hard to think outside the box and find solutions. People love to be around others who enjoy life and are fun. That doesn’t mean you don’t take care of business or handle yourself in a respectful way.

Ways to help yourself see the lighter side of life:

* Laugh at yourself. Share your embarrassing moments. The best way to take ourselves less seriously is to talk about times when we took ourselves too seriously.

* Keep things in perspective. Many things are beyond our control, particularly the behavior of others. While you might think taking the weight of the world on your shoulders is admirable, in reality it’s unrealistic, unproductive, unhealthy and egotistical.

* Attempt to laugh at situations rather than sweat them. Look for humor in a bad situation, the irony and absurdity of life. This will help you deal with the situation and improve the mood of those around you.

* Surround yourself with reminders to lighten up. Keep a funny picture or poster in your office or on the frig. Choose a screen saver that makes you laugh.

* Deal with your stress. Stress is a major impediment to humor and laughter. It can also lead to health problems. Be prepared to go with the flow.

* Pay attention to children. They are experts on playing, taking life lightly and laughing. You too were a child once, remember it’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

* Forgive everyone everything. Don’t harbor bad feelings. The only one they hurt is you.

Enjoy all your moments, they will soon become part of your past!

The Real Social Network -Part II

In community on July 7, 2011 at 2:30 am

A light bulb burns out in that hard-to-reach spot at the top of the stairs and that’s when you realize you’re dependent on others for the simplest of household chores. I’ve heard so many stories from people who say they have to move to a nursing home. A lightbulb is a disaster. It is especially difficult when the home owner will not ask for help. Family members need to be aware of the needs of their loved ones. When you see simple household chores being left undone it’s time to have the home care discussion. Your loved one does not necessarily need to leave their home, they just might need a helping hand. Let us show you how we can safely keep your loved one in the comfort of their own home.

Our thanks to AARP

The Real Social Network

In community on July 2, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Referencing an article in AARP, we just might give you the chance to stay in your own home. “On a bitterly cold morning a few years ago, Mrs. McQueen awoke to what sounded like artillery fire: the ice-covered branches of trees cracking in the wind. A winter storm knocked out the power in the home she shared with her husband Jim. No heat or water, Mrs. McQueen recalls. The outage lasted nine days; the couple both 82 at the time weathered the ordeal in isolation with the help of a camp stove. Their three grown kids were spread out in three different states. The McQueens were alone and it scared them. Maybe it was time to think about leaving their home of 40 years. Luckily the McQueens found a way to stay.” Programs offered by You’re First allow older persons the opportunity to stay in the comfort of their own homes without being alone. Our reassurance program costs less than $1 a day and gives families peace of mind knowing their loved ones are being looked after on a daily basis especially when disasters strike. “To dump 40 years of building a home to move into an apartment and/or condominium doesn’t appeal to me at all,” Jim says. The idea of You’re First reassurance program means he won’t have to.

You Are Never Too Old

In community on June 25, 2011 at 2:47 pm

TEXAS CITY, Texas – A 100-year-old Texas City woman graduated from high school on Friday night, a ceremony she says was years in the making.

“It took me 100 years, but I’m finally going to graduate,” said Thelma Dyess, who crossed the stage as honorary graduate during the Texas City High School graduation ceremony.

Dyess, who turned 100 on April 14, was forced to quit school in 8th grade during the Great Depression to help support her family.

“We had none of the extras that most people had,” she said. “We were considered poor.”

Considered poor in a world of poverty, Dyess landed a job as a telephone operator.

“I made $8 a week for six days of work. I thought I was rich, had a little cash,” said Dyess.

She kept the job for 45 years, but all the while she says something was missing.

“I could never say I graduated, and that was a real thorn in my flesh to think I didn’t have that diploma,” Dyess said.

Now, with diploma in hand, Dyess says her learning came not so much from the books, but from the sacrifices made and life lessons learned along the way.

“Oh, I’ve learned lots in life. I don’t know of any lesson that’s bigger than the other, but have regard for other people,” she said.

Just remember, you are never too old to accomplish your dreams. Congrats Thelma!