Monthly Archives: February 2015

Creative Activities for Seniors

It is important if you are caring for an elderly loved one that you make time for creative activities. Staying creative as we age can have many benefits for both our minds and our senses.  Creative activities can also encourage social engagement, something that often starts to lack as we age.   Simply doing something, no matter what the activity you choose, can be extremely beneficial to the quality of life of the one you care for.  Seniors often are dealing with difficult obstacles in life such as loneliness or medical issues. So, for some, it is especially beneficial to plan these activities out.  This can give him or her something to look forward to.

Just as these activities don’t have to be complicated, they also don’t have to be expensive.  You can use supplies that you already have.  Do you have markers, crayons, colored pencils, watercolor paints? If you don’t, these supplies can also be purchased inexpensively at the dollar store.

Here are a few examples of fun, creative activities to do with your elderly loved one.

  • Painting objects – Flowers are a good place to start when painting objects. You can either look for pictures of spring flowers or bring in real flowers if you have them.
  • Painting with music- Put on some relaxing music and paint to the music. Choose music that your loved one likes and paint whatever the music makes you feel.
  • Creative writing- Choose a topic or let them choose.  Writing about life experiences, accomplishments, family, and friends can be especially helpful to improve a client or loved one’s mood.
  • Card Making- Make in advance for special occasions like birthdays.
  • Knitting or crocheting

Whatever you decide, find a way to engage your loved one and stimulate their creativity. Use your imagination and help them use theirs. You can join them too. You may find a creative side you didn’t know you were missing!

If you care for an elderly loved one and would like help developing a care plan please feel free to contact us. We can help your family establish a care plan to personally accommodate your loved one’s needs.

Elderly Endurance Exercises

This week we conclude the four part exercise routine series that we began in January. This week’s topic: endurance exercise.

Endurance exercises are those that are intended to increase your heart rate. So, endurance exercises can take on many different forms. They can be everyday activities like chores or they can be exercise-focused activities like walking. It doesn’t matter what you are doing, as long as your heat rate goes up while you are doing it!

For endurance exercise in the elderly, it is important to consider each individuals level of health and physical activity. Start slow with short periods of endurance exercise. Even 5 minutes is a good starting time. Working up to at least 10-30 minutes of exercise at a time is ideal, but not necessary at first. Overall, it is recommended that seniors do 150 minutes of total exercise a week. When beginning a routine, breaking this 150 minutes up into smaller amounts can seem much more manageable.

Great examples of endurance exercises for older adults are:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Dancing
  • Swimming
  • Biking

When performing these exercises, make sure to include a warm up and cool down. Aim for a speed where you are speaking in a normal voice, without struggle. If speaking is difficult during exercise, then the intensity or speed of the activity should be lowered.

Remember, endurance exercise is ANYTHING that gets your heart rate up. Thank you for staying tuned throughout our four part series. We hope you learned a lot. Ideally an effective exercise routine should include all of the four aspects that we discussed. They are stretching, balance exercise, strength training, and endurance exercise. Keep this in mind when considering an exercise program for yourself or someone you care for.

If you still have questions and concerns about how to help your elderly loved one start exercising more please feel free to contact us. We can help your family establish a care plan to personally accommodate your loved one needs.
Wiser Home Care Services: Care for the ones you love!

SENIORS AND SKIN HEALTH

Our skin changes as we age. It becomes less supple, thinner and dryer.  Because of these changes, seniors are more susceptible to skin infection and skin disease. Senior skin problems can range from mild issues like itching, scaling and mild dryness to grave skin conditions such as infection and ulceration. Infections happen when the skin becomes too dry and is more vulnerable for bacteria to penetrate.

Another issue that senior face is that not only is their skin dry, it is also thinner and injures very easily.  Once this happens, an elderly person’s skin then heals at a lower rate as well.

A severe skin infection or non-healing wound in the elderly can be very serious and even fatal. So, our elderly loved ones must pay special attention to their skin care. Here are some tips to help keep the skin healthy in the elderly:

  • Avoid taking hot baths and showering frequently, as this can actually agitate dry skin.
  • Use only mild soaps and gently apply moisturizers to the skin after every shower or bath.
  • Stay out of the sun. If you are out in the sun use a sunscreen that is broad spectrum, which protects for both UVA & UVB.
  • Wear a hat and loose long sleeve shirt and pants.
  • Wear a good pair of sunglasses that are labeled has blocking 99 to 100% of sunrays.
  • Do not smoke or quit smoking.
  • Keep properly hydrated by drinking more liquids that are caffeine free.
  • Use a room humidifier during the winter months.
  • Avoid Saunas.
  • Check your skin often. Look for changes in the size, shape, color, or feel of birthmarks, moles and spots. If you have any concerns see your doctor.

Remember the skin is your first line of defense for health. Please educate yourself, so you can help educate the elderly in your life. They count on us to know ways to best protect them.

If you still have questions and concerns about how to help your elderly loved one maintain their skin health please feel free to contact us. We can help your family establish a care plan to personally accommodate your loved one needs.

Wiser Home Care Services: Care for the ones you love!

Strength Training with dumbbells

How to be Active Through Strength Training

Anyone who has considered beginning a new exercise routine has had some feelings of apprehension towards making a commitment to a new physical challenge. This can especially be true for the elderly and for those caring for their elderly loved ones. So, if you are worried about how exercise might affect yourself or older loved one, you are not alone. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Regular physical activity is not only fun and healthy, but scientific evidence strongly shows that it’s safe for almost everyone.” Though it is important to check with your health care professionals and to start slow, “the health benefits far outweigh the risk of injury” according to the CDC’s website.

With this in mind, this week we will be discussing a third very important aspect to any exercise routine: Strength training. One great advantage to strength training as an exercise for our elderly loved ones is that it builds muscle and increases metabolism. Both aspects are key in fighting weight gain and obesity. As well, strength training is a great way to cope and relieve symptoms of many chronic conditions like arthritis, diabetes, and osteoporosis.

Some great ideas for a strength training routine include exercises like:

  • Dumbbell Routine– These include exercises like arm curls, tricep extensions, and forward lunges using dumbbells.
  • Resistance Band Routine– Utilizes resistance bands in this exercise program. Tips for beginning use with resistance bands can be found here
  • Varied Routine- Utilizes body weight and dumbbells. These examples include both a warm-up and a cool down with 3 stages in between to keep your loved one interested.

When designing an exercise routine, be sure to incorporate stretching and balance exercises as well. You can read about great benefits and examples of these two types of exercise in two of our previous blogs.

Next week, we complete our four week series with our last exercise routine component: endurance exercise. We will discuss various ways to increase heart rate and build endurance. Stay tuned.

If you still have questions and concerns about how to help your elderly loved one start exercising more please feel free to contact us. We can help your family establish a care plan to personally accommodate your loved one needs.
Wiser Home Care Services: Care for the ones you love!