The Benefits of Yoga for Seniors

Did you think Yoga was a new, hip workout trend for the young folks? Don’t be too hasty to judge. In fact, many active living communities offer regular yoga classes as a part of their physical recreation programs. Why? Because in addition to being a low-impact form of exercise, yoga has been shown to increase strength in bones and joints, increase balance, boost mental function, help with pain management and alleviate stress and depression. We could go on! There are seemingly innumerable ways that yoga for seniors can be beneficial.

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What is Yoga?
Yoga comes to us from the east, via India. In fact, the word Yoga means “union”. The type of yoga we are most familiar with in the west is called Hatha Yoga, and it is comprised of breath work, sustained body postures, and meditation. This triad seems to be a perfect union, pun intended, for holistic well being.

In a typical yoga class, students will use mats, straps, and a few postural aids. These are often supplied by the hosting facility, although students may be responsible for bringing their own mats. The instructor will lead the class through a series of stretches and poses, all designed to work on specific areas of the body. Throughout the postures, students will be reminded to focus on their breath, keeping it deep and regular. They are also encouraged to keep their mind anchored in the feeling of the posture. When the mind wanders, you simply guide it back to the task at hand. Over time, this practice of exercising both the body and the mind can have a profound effect on the mind-body connection.

What benefits can I expect from my yoga practice?
Yoga is being prescribed by many doctors and therapists as an alternative, or supplement, to medication. Why? Because its effects on overall health can no longer be disputed. It is an especially good entry-level activity for older adults because it meets you where you are at. You do not have to have good balance, or be flexible, to do yoga; rather, yoga will make you flexible and will improve your balance as you deepen your practice.

Here is a list of common medical conditions that have been improved by Yoga:

  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Back Pain
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia

Yoga practitioners routinely site an improved quality of life by practicing it on a regular basis.

How do I get started?
There are a wide variety of yoga styles and classes. If you are just starting out, you will want to find a beginners yoga class. Start by looking at your local senior centers, or within your active living community, to see if there is a senior-specific yoga class in the area. If not, any beginning yoga class will do. Discuss any physical conditions you may have to help your instructor tailor certain exercises to meet your needs, or explain alternative poses when necessary.

Let go of any common misconceptions people have about yoga:

  • I have to be flexible. People taking Yoga are flexible because they take yoga. Your muscles and connective tissue will become more supple and flexible over time.
  • I have to have good balance. Just as above, students hone their balance through their yoga practice. Your improved balance will help to prevent falls.
  • I’ll have to stand on my headYou won’t ever have to do any postures you don’t want to, least of all one you aren’t ready for.

Find a friend to take with you and give yoga a try. The benefits of yoga for seniors will be well worth your efforts. Namaste!

The Benefits of Art for Senior’s with Parkinson’s Disease

Senior centers and active living communities have always included art classes or seminars as an option for seniors to pass the time, or to learn a new hobby or skill set. However, over time, medical professionals have witnessed how the arts, including art, music, and theater, have seemed to improve the mindset and emotional health of their patients, in addition to positive physical benefits. Now, research is beginning to prove these observations correct as more data links art therapy and the improvement of common side effects from aging such as depression, physical ability, and cognitive function. Parkinson’s disease patients are one population for whom art therapy has proved to have major benefits.

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Art, Music and Drama Can Help Parkinson’s Disease Patients Both Physically and Emotionally

Senior living facilities, medical clinics, and research programs are beginning to partner up with art and music professionals to work with Parkinson’s disease patients as they use art therapy as a means for physical therapy, as well as an emotional outlet.

One example of this takes place at Northwestern Memorial’s Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago. The hospital has created a special program called Creative Arts for Parkinson’s. Specially trained professionals from the local Institute for Therapy Through the Arts lead jam sessions, poetry readings, and sing-a-longs. Depending on the schedule for the day, and the group’s interests, the participants may learn to play simple instruments and make music as they sing songs together. Sometimes, they are handed scripts and each of them chooses a character to read as they learn how to project their voice and emote using well-known or relevant script material.

The goal of programs like these are multi-fold. They gather individuals together who have been given an unwelcome diagnosis, and teach them that they are not alone. Singing and playacting helps to exercise mouth muscles, vocal chords, throat muscles and the diaphragm, all of which can become weaker and less productive as the disease progresses. Perhaps, even more importantly, the arts provide a medium through which Parkinson’s disease patients can begin to emote their anger, frustration, and sadness in a way their daily life may not accommodate. Says Diane Breslow, the center’s coordinator, “Very often with Parkinson’s disease there is a fear of the future and the unknown; we want to give these patients a better way to live with their disease in the present.” In addition to music and theater, the physical arts can also provide therapy for patients with Parkinson’s disease.

In 2010, medical clinicians and health professionals from all over the world gathered in Scotland for a World Parkinson’s Congress. While there, they were able to attend a presentation by Deborah Elkis-Abuhoff, a faculty member in the Counseling, Research, Special Education and Rehabilitation Department’s Creative Arts Therapy program at Hofstra University. Elkis-Abuhoff shared her research regarding clay manipulation and its ability to tame tremors, soothe agitated emotional states, and provide a sense of accomplishment for individuals with Parkinson’s disease. In fact, many patients find that by working with physical artistic mediums, they are able to control their movements in a much more focused way than in their normal day-to-day activities.

And, in a rather amazing coincidence, it seems that dopamine-stimulating drugs used to combat the side effects of Parkinson’s disease might give rise to increased artistic capacity, as has been witnessed by experts from around the planet.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, art and music programs can provide a welcome relief and improvement in Parkinson’s disease effects, in addition to providing a support network.

Fall Prevention: Be Proactive and Prevent an Accident

The majority of our time is spent at home, especially during the retirement years, so it’s no wonder that 60% of all falls occur in the home. Falls are also the leading cause of hip replacement surgery and traumatic brain injury in seniors. The safer you can make your home, the better.

Fall prevention in the home can be done over the course of a weekend. While a few suggestions may require some tools and the assistance of a local handyman, most of the changes are easy to do on your own, or with the assistance of a friend, family member, or companion.
Fall-Prevention-HomeAide-Home-Care
7 Simple Steps to Fall Proof A Home

  1. Remove obstructions. This may seem like an obvious step, but you’d be surprised. We get used to our homes the way they are and forget that the corner of the area rug by the couch sticks up, or the lamp cord in the living room forms a barrier between the couch and the television. As eyesight begins to dim, steps grow less steady, and balance wavers, the obstructions we have become used to can cause a fall.
  2. No-slip mats for area rugs. Ideally, surface rugs should be removed completely in a fall proof home to prevent the edges from becoming trip hazards. However, if you won’t budge with a favorite rug on your hard surface flooring, make sure you have no-slip mats underneath to keep it in place.
  3. Widen the space between furniture. Make sure there is ample room to navigate around tables, chairs, and couches. You may want to eliminate an end table or chair in order to create more space.
  4. Adequate lighting. The more well lit an area is, the better you will be able to see. If you are experiencing vision loss, increase the wattage on your lights to provide a brighter interior. Replace light bulbs as soon as they go out. Consider using motion-sensitive exterior lighting fixtures so you don’t have to remember to turn them on/off, but will always have ample lighting at night when you need it. Use night lights in bathrooms, bedrooms, hallways, and the kitchen. Make sure to have a bedside light within reach of your bed.
  5. Clear stairways and hallways. It is often a habit to place things on the stairs, or in the hallway, with the intention of “putting them away later.” This is a dangerous habit. Put things away immediately and keep all walkways free of objects that can trip you up.
  6. Attach carpet on stairways. Make sure any carpet on your stairways is securely fastened on every stair. Otherwise, remove the rug/carpet and attach slip-proof tape for added security.
  7. Handrails and grab bars. There should be easily accessible hand rails and grab bars on all stair ways, in your tub and shower, and next to the toilet. The bathroom is the most dangerous room in the house, so give extra special attention to fall prevention measures here.

The sooner you fall proof your home, the less likely you will be to suffer unnecessary pain and injury. For more information about home health safety, contact Home Aide Home Care.

The Dangers of the Elderly Living Alone

You know the familiar expression, “you can’t see the forest for the trees?” The same can be true of the way we view the people who are closest to us. Sometimes, the aging process happens so quickly that children and grandchildren don’t realize how vulnerable their aging parents and grandparents really are.Don’t let a tragic incident, or unnecessary injury, take place before you acknowledge the dangers of the elderly living alone. The more proactive you can be to allow your loved ones to age safely in their home, or move them to the appropriate facility, the better quality of life they will have.

elderly living aloneThe Dangers of Elders Living Alone

Falls. The greatest danger of elders living alone is their susceptibility to falls. Balance begins to decline throughout the aging process. Poor vision and weakening muscles and bones decreases balance even further. What might have been a small stumble before, resulting in a bruise or a bump on the head, can result in a major injury for the elderly.
Here are some alarming facts and statistics:

  • The bathroom is the most dangerous room in the house for senior citizens.
  • Adults who are 75 years and over account for the largest percentage of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) that result in hospitalization and death.
  • Falls are the leading cause of injury-related death in adults 65-years and older.
  • Senior citizens are more susceptible to hospital-, surgery-, and anesthesia-related delirium that can last for weeks. This has been linked to other complications and higher mortality rates.

If your aging loved ones have refused to be moved into an assisted living or retirement facility, make sure their home has been adapted for safety. Contact a professional home health care provider who can help make the necessary adaptations, and who can provide health care and/or companion services as needed.

Depression.  The dangers of elders living alone aren’t always visible on the physical level. When seniors live alone, they are much more likely to become lonely, disinterested in normal day-to-day activities, and depressed. This is a very real concern because depression has been linked to more rapid onset and/or progression of other age-related mental conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.

If you have family members who insist on living alone, make sure you know how to recognize senior depression. You may need to be equally insistent that they join a local senior center, participate in a local retirement facility’s day care program, or hire a companion who can visit them weekly, or daily, if you aren’t able to do so yourself. Not only will s/he have access to activities, entertainment, and exercise classes specifically designed for seniors, s/he will be a part of a community, which can help to keep depression and loneliness at bay.

General Health and Well-being. Even without the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s, seniors are prone to be forgetful. One of the dangers of elders living alone is they can forget to take important medicines, or can overtake them. Meals, exercise, and basic day-to-day hygiene routines can begin to slip. A home health caregiver is one way to ensure your loved one is taken care of. House cleaning, basic hygiene care, meal preparation, and medication reminders are all well within the scope of a well-trained home health aide. This will allow your aging loved one to remain in his/her home without you having to worry about their day-to-day care.

Not sure if your senior relatives should be living alone? Read this article on “What’s Right for You” to determine the right level of care for your loved one and ensure they age as safely as possible.

The Importance of the Elderly Staying Hydrated

Now that we’re headed into the summer months, it’s important to remember the importance of hydration. Senior citizens are particularly prone to becoming dehydrated. In many cases, they are less active than they once were, which prevents them from noticing their thirst until dehydration has set in. For others, medical conditions, kidney issues, and/or medications can cause them to be more susceptible to dehydration.

The following information will educate you about the seriousness of dehydration in the elderly, how to recognize its signs and symptoms, and tips on how to keep elderly relatives properly hydrated when the weather heats up.

The Importance of Hydration in the Elderly Population

The bottom line: every single cell, tissue, and organ needs water in order to function properly. Usually, when we feel thirsty, dehydration has already begun. However, as we age, our brain doesn’t always send the necessary “signal” to our body that it needs water. Ideally, adults need six to eight, eight ounce glasses of water everyday. This can differ between individuals.

Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration in the Elderly

Signs and symptoms of dehydration run from the mild to the severe.

Mild symptoms of dehydration:

  • A feeling of thirst or hunger. Sometimes our bodies signal that we are hungry when we are actually dehydrated. Fruits and vegetables that have a high water content can satisfy both urges. Keep sliced melon, oranges, apples, cucumbers and carrots handy for quick healthy and hydrating snacks.
  • Dry or sticky mouth.
  • Thick or gummy saliva
  • Smaller quantities of urine
  • Darker colored urine, it might even have a brown tinge
  • Muscle cramping
  • Headaches
  • Lethargy
  • Sleepiness
  • Irritability

More severe symptoms of dehydration:

If a loved one experiences any of the following symptoms, you should have them transported to a hospital, or their primary care doctor, immediately. Severe dehydration can become fatal and usually requires intravenous fluids to get fluid levels back in balance.

  • Low blood pressure
  • Severe cramping that can result in hyper-contracted leg, back, and stomach contractions
  • Convulsions
  • Rapid, weak pulse
  • Sunken eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Flaccid skin
  • Rapid breathing

Tips for the Elderly Staying Hydrated

Besides the obvious, hydration is also beneficial for other reasons. When the elderly are hydrated they are less constipated, suffer fewer falls, and also have a lower chance of developing colorectal cancer.

If your loved one suffers from dementia, Alzheimer’s or a generally “foggy brain” it might be necessary to hire a caregiver to ensure they are taking their medications, eating, and getting enough liquids. They may have to be physically reminded to drink. Otherwise, the following tips can help them remember to drink enough water.

  • Keep a glass of water on the nightstand and on the end-table so it’s in sight. This can help them to remember to drink it.
  • Buy a large, marked container with a straw. This can help them to keep track of how many ounces they drink a day. For example, a 16 ounce container should be emptied approximately three times throughout the day.
  • Buy a variety of liquids. Although water is the best, lowest calorie, and healthiest liquid to drink, drinking liquids is the priority here. Make sure there are a variety of juices, flavored teas, etc. so they are more inclined to drink.
  • Try adding a squeeze of lemon or fresh cucumber slices to a glass of water to enhance the flavor.
  • Set a timer to go off each hour. If they haven’t had anything to drink, they should take some sips.
  • Use a straw. This often causes people to drink more water than they do if they sip from the rim of the glass.

Hydration is important everyday, but especially when the temperatures go up. Keep a close eye on your loved ones to make sure they stay hydrated and healthy.

Senior Centers: More Than Just a Place to Grow Old

As the average life expectancy of seniors continues to increase, so does the need for caring, dependable, and experienced senior care providers. So many of our clients are children of aging parents, bereft at the thought of “putting mom/dad in a home.” Perhaps a parent or grandparent made you promise that you would never make them live in, or visit, a senior center or retirement facility.
Senior CenterHowever, the benefits of senior centers far outweigh the negatives when families work to find the right fit for their aging loved ones. Here are some of the greatest benefits of senior centers for both seniors and their families.
  1. A sense of community. While it’s understandable that many seniors want to remain at home as they age, it’s also true that this can become an incredibly isolating experience. Multiple scientific studies show a dramatic correlation between aging, loneliness, and depression. Even with the benefit of an hourly or live-in caregiver service, this is not the same as a community of like-minded peers. Joining in a community can help your senior develop new friendships, find solace in others who are mourning similar losses such as the death of loved ones, health issues, or loss of mobility. After a visit or two to a senior center, you may be surprised when your parent or grandparent looks more forward to their visits every week.
  2. Keep the mind active. In addition to community and physical well being, brain boosting activities also help to keep seniors interested and excited about life. The more mentally active we are, the longer we can keep age-related conditions like dementia and Alzheimers at bay. One of the benefits of senior centers is the classes, activities, and entertainment they offer. Your local senior center may also provide free copies of crossword puzzles, Sudoku, educational magazines, daily papers, and other mentally stimulating formats your loved one might not take advantage of in his/her own home.
  3. Physical activities. Senior Centers are specifically designed for one sector of the population: seniors. This means all of their activities, from yoga and Tai Chi, to aerobics and team sports, are designed with the physical needs of seniors in mind. Seniors who spend the majority of their time at home have a tendency to be more sedentary than those who participate at local senior centers. Physical exercise can help to mitigate depression, reduce pain associated with arthritis/health conditions, and keep off unwanted weight.
  4. Respite Care. Many family members opt to take care of their senior relatives, rather than bringing in outside help. Unfortunately, this can cause caregiver burnout, which is unhealthy for both the senior and his/her caregiver. If you, or someone you love, is suffering from caregiver burnout, it’s a good idea to learn about respite care options. Many senior centers provide senior day care. This allows your relative to enjoy the company of others in a safe environment while you get a much needed break. If your local senior center doesn’t offer senior daycare or respite care opportunities, they will be able to refer you to a local respite care provider who can help.
  5. Free or low-cost health screening. Some senior centers offer free or low-cost health screening services to their members. This can make it easy for seniors to receive check-ups, seasonal flu shots, etc. without having to make another appointment.
  6. Free or low-cost hot lunch. Most senior centers also offer free or low-cost hot lunches to those interested 4-5 days a week. These lunches are designed to be nutritious and well balanced. Not only can this be a great help to seniors, but it can also be a good time to socialize and get to know other seniors.

 These are just a handful of examples of the benefits of senior centers. Don’t let your guilt, or resistance from a loved one, prevent you from trying one out. The first visit could be the best gift you give your aging family member.

Incontinence: Convincing an Elderly Parent to Wear Adult Diapers

 

While growing older can bring a wonderful sense of wisdom and the satisfaction of a life well lived, there are not-so-desirable situations that can accompany the aging process. For some seniors, incontinence is (understandably) the thing they dread most. As such, they can be in denial about needing adult diapers as an important, sanitary and healthy next step for their day-to-day life.

If you suspect your elderly parent, or a senior you love, needs to take that dreaded next step, here are some things you can do to help ease their transition.
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5 Steps to Convincing a Parent/Client to Wear Adult Diapers

  1. Do NOT call them diapers. One of the best things your family and team of caregivers can do is to scratch the word “diaper” from the vernacular. These are not diapers. Diapers are for babies. These are “disposable underwear or briefs,” “adult briefs,” or whatever term you all decide upon. The word diaper can be very offensive and insulting to a senior who is having understandable resistance to losing control of his/her life.
  2. Have samples available. Many seniors are so abhorred by the idea of wearing disposable underwear that they envision huge, bulky, baby-like diapers that will be obvious through their clothing. This is simply not the case anymore. Absorbent materials have come a long way and disposable underwear is thinner than ever. The best products pull up and down, just like regular underwear. By having some samples on hand to show him/her how thin, comfortable, and completely un-noticeable they are, you may eliminate a major part of the battle. Visit the websites of various disposable underwear companies. Most of them will have a place you can click to request free samples.
  3. Gently tell them you have noticed. Many seniors aren’t able to smell as well as they used to, or they have become used to the smell and don’t realize how prevalent it is. If you are comfortable enough to have a gentle conversation, making them aware their incontinence is noticed by others, this may be enough to get them over the initial hurdle. Many seniors are much more embarrassed by the idea that they smell like urine around family and in public than they are about wearing disposable underwear. If that is not an option, and you feel it would be impossible for you, move on to #4.
  4. Enlist the help of a doctor or other health care provider. Remember when you were a child? It was always easier to follow instructions or hear constructive comments from other adults, rather than your own parents. Convincing an elderly parent or loved one to wear adult disposable underwear is a flipped version of that. If a doctor, caregiver, or home health provider is the one to suggest or prescribe them, explaining the unsanitary and unpleasant side-effects of untreated incontinence, the transition might be made easier than you think.
  5. Be Pro-active. If you feel conversation is completely out of the question, it may be time to get pro-active and see what happens. We have clients who simply opened the drawer, replaced some of their loved one’s underwear with a stack of disposable underwear, and didn’t say a thing. A few days or a week later, they find the disposables have been used and they simply continue to replace them without ever having a conversation. Eventually, you can begin leaving the package in their bathroom or bedroom where they will have an ample supply.

Incontinence is something that many senior citizens and their families dread, but the more respectful, gentle, and creative you are, the more likely seniors are to be receptive.

Coping with Everyday Challenges

The older we get, the more difficult everyday tasks become. Reading, participating in conversations, cleaning and running errands can become monumental tasks as vision, hearing, and physical abilities begin to diminish. Fortunately, there are solutions to everyday senior dilemmas, from specialized readers to home care providers. Once you have a plan in place, your quality of life will be enhanced.

seniorsSolutions for Everyday Problems Faced By Senior Citizens

  1. Diminishing Vision. As vision begins to decrease, so can the quality of life if seniors don’t begin to seek solutions quickly. Having trouble reading or doing crossword puzzles is an obvious side effect, but there are other consequences of poor vision. Cleaning the house adequately, the ability to follow recipes, and legible hand writing, can all begin to suffer when vision loss has progressed. Solutions include:
    • Low vision readers – Reading and crossword puzzles are important for boosting the brain and keeping seniors participating in activities they enjoy. A low vision reader can be used for reading and writing.
    • Audio Books. Most libraries have a large supply of free audio books that allow seniors to listen to their favorite books, even if they can’t read them anymore.
    • Hire an Hourly Caregiver. In order to make sure the house is kept clean, consider hiring a house keeper or home care provider. They can also help with other visual tasks such as sorting mail, organizing bills, and writing grocery/errand lists.
  2. Hearing Loss. Hearing loss can be very isolating. Not being able to follow conversations is frustrating and takes the fun out of social engagements. It can also prohibit you from hearing important instructions from a doctor or pharmacist. As it progresses, hearing loss may prevent walkers from hearing oncoming cars or motorcycles, which can be dangerous. Solutions include:
    • Wireless Headphones. Is your spouse irritated with the loud TV volume? Are you getting complaints from your neighbors? Wireless headphones are a perfect solution because you control the volume in your headset without having to raise the volume on the TV.
    • Hearing Aids. Modern hearing aids are leagues apart from the clunky versions of yore. Nowadays, seniors can enjoy nearly invisible hearing aids that block out background noise and will allow you to participate in social activities without the feeling of being left out.
  3. Physical Limitations. Whether you are suffering from arthritis, or are simply beginning to tire out more than usual, physical limitations can be incredibly frustrating, especially when combined with hearing and/or vision loss. Simple tasks like reaching into the farthest corners of kitchen cabinets, or looking under the couch for something that fell, can be impossible. You may also find that normal errands such as grocery shopping completely wipe you out. Solutions?
    • Stylish Walker. Get yourself a stylish new walker, complete with seat and basket. If you get tired while walking, you can sit down and rest. If you need a little assistance getting up, you can use the walker as support to pull yourself up.
    • Home Care Providers. Hire a home care provider and let someone else do the physical work for you. If you want to stay in your home, but find day-to-day tasks are overwhelming, a home care companion can be the perfect solution. You can hire them for a few hours here and there or for multiple days at a time. In addition to running errands and light house keeping, s/he can also make sure you have home cooked meals and are driven to and from your favorite activities.

Growing old gracefully is much easier with a little help. Looking for a solution for yourself or a senior loved one? Contact HomeAide Home Care, Inc. We’re happy to provide assistance.

What’s Right For You: Home Care or Assisted Living?

Choosing between a caregiver in your own home or moving to an assisted living apartment can seem like a confusing choice. One moment you’re walking the dog daily, preparing your own meals, and enjoying regular social engagements with friends or groups. The next thing you know, your sweet dog hasn’t been walked in months, you don’t have the energy to navigate grocery stores, and you notice you’re beginning to feel lonely and/or depressed. Does this mean you can’t take care of yourself? At what point do you know it’s time to begin looking into hiring a caregiver or putting in your application(s) to local assisted living apartments?

Consider the following questions and answers to determine which type of care would be best for you or an aging loved one.
assisted living
Do you need serious medical attention on a regular basis?

In most cases, excluding Hospice, home caregivers are not trained, licensed, or able to care for, or administer regular medical treatments to, seniors who are seriously ill. If you require routine medical care, an assisted living facility may be your best bet. On the other hand, in-home care providers are able to assist with day-to-day living tasks. This includes bathing and grooming, medication and/or insulin reminders, meal preparation, physical therapy and exercises, etc. If you prefer to remain in your home but aren’t sure if a caregiver can provide the type of care you need, contact a local licensed caregiver service. They will schedule a free consultation and can make a recommendation based on your needs.

Are you able to take care of the basics, but need help running errands, driving, getting around, etc?

If you are relatively healthy, but can no longer drive, tire easily, or need help getting around, a caregiver might be the perfect choice. Assisted living facilities are a huge investment and remove you from your comfortable and familiar surroundings. In-home care providers can schedule a caregiver for a few hours a week, a few hours a day, or provide companionship around the clock. You can create a schedule that meets your needs, provides personable and sociable companionship, and allows you to take a well deserved break while someone else does the errands for a change. This includes cleaning your house, shopping, organizing, mail sorting, walking the dog, etc.

Do you love living at home, but find you get a little lonely from time to time?

In addition to physical limitations, aging brings other unwanted consequences, like saying goodbye to beloved friends and older family members. Even if you have family close by, busy schedules may not allow them to visit you as often as you’d like. A caregiver can serve as a companion. When you consult with your prospective home care provider, they will discuss your interests, likes/dislikes, personality type, etc. and match you with a caregiver who can visit with you as often as you like, keep you company doing the things you enjoy, and can even cook meals for you every once in a while. However, if you feel your house is too big or you are ready to move to a new space, assisted living facilities can meet both your social and physical needs.

Today’s seniors and their families are fortunate to have such a variety of elder care options. Making the right choice now can help to provide the platform for a longer and more quality life. In many cases, at-home caregivers provide the perfect stepping stone for seniors who are not ready to make the leap to an assisted living facility, but would like a little help and companionship from time to time.

The Most Dangerous Room in Your House

One of the most important aspects of caring for an elderly or aging loved one is making sure that they remain safe, while at the same time maintaining as much independence as possible. Making some basic changes around the house can go a long way toward keeping seniors safe while independent. One of the most important rooms to focus on is the bathroom.

It’s no secret that the bathroom is the most dangerous room in the house, but the dangers there are multiplied for the elderly. Slick, wet surfaces, small spaces and hard appliances make the bathroom the number one danger for seniors in the home. Falls in the bathroom make up the single largest cause of hip fractures in Americans ages 65 and up.

Bathroom Senior Living

Grab bars are an easy fix, but one that can make a real difference. Install them in the bathtub/shower, and don’t forget to put them on the wall where they can be held while getting in and out of the tub. Bathrooms are often too cramped for using a walker, so it can be helpful to place grab bars at the doorway and along the length of the room, to help your elderly loved one maneuver. And don’t forget to place one near the toilet, low enough to provide leverage for lifting oneself from a seated position.

Get rid of throw rugs in the bathroom, they’re a tripping hazard that you don’t need. Keep a heavy rubber lined bath mat in front of the tub to prevent from slips on a wet floor. Line the bottom of the bathtub with no-slip decals or a large rubber bath mat to prevent slipping. Remember that a bath is much easier than a shower, so install shelves for soap and shampoo that are low enough to reach without standing up. Handheld shower nozzles are a huge help, especially when a chair becomes required in the shower. They’re easy to install and simple to use.

Install a sensor on a light in the bathroom that will automatically light the room when you enter it, and keep dim nightlights plugged in to light the way. Keep supplies that are frequently used close at hand in a spot that doesn’t require bending or reaching. Baskets are ideal for the counter-top to hold small grooming items and prevent them from falling and becoming something else to trip over. Replace glass containers on the counter-top with unbreakable plastic cups, and stick a piece of adhesive backed rubber cut to fit on the bottom to keep them in place.

With a little common sense and thoughtful planning, you can maintain your elderly loved one’s independence while providing a safe environment for them. Just a few do-it-yourself hours over a weekend can save you loads of worry. Your bathroom doesn’t have to be the most dangerous room in the house.