Monthly Archives: February 2017

5 Simple Steps to Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease

When people think of the month of February, they typically think of 2 things. Generally, they think about the fact that it is the shortest month of the year, but most of all they think of Valentines, love and their significant others. These thoughts of love are further fueled by the plethora of heart-shaped decorations, chocolate and jewelry that adorn stores and advertisements.

Because everyone is already thinking about hearts, the American Heart Association(AHA) came up with the idea that February should also serve as National American Heart Month. Due to their persistence, it was officially proclaimed a nationally recognized month on December 30, 1963 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, and a mere 33 days later, the first official American Heart Month took place in February 1964.

Since then, the AHA has worked tirelessly to increase awareness of the dangers of heart diseases and the steps people can take to avoid it.

The Numbers
The statistics regarding heart disease in the United States alone are astounding. According to the Heart Foundation, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and claims more lives than all forms of cancer combined.

In the US, someone suffers from a heart attack every 34 seconds, and every 60 seconds someone dies from a heart-related illness. This adds up to approximately 525,000 deaths each year. In fact, in 2011 heart disease killed nearly 787,000 people.

The Solution
As with any death-causing disease, the statistics are staggering and sad. Fortunately, there are many precautions and life-changes one can make to decrease their risk of suffering from heart disease.

Keep reading this week’s blog to find out how you can help reduce you and your loved one’s risk of heart disease in five simple steps.

Eat Your Heart Out
Ok, don’t literally eat your heart out, but do eat foods with an emphasis on heart health. Heart healthy foods include: fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, fish, lean poultry and meat. You will also want to limit salt and sugar intake.

Get a Check Up
One of the first things you should do is schedule a checkup with your doctor. Your doctor will screen you for any pre-existing conditions, tell you what you are at risk of and give you targeted ways you can reduce your risk of heart disease. This is also a good time to consult with your doctor about starting an exercise routine. Before you leave, you will want to make regular follow-up appointments to make sure you stay on track.

Put Down the Stick and Bottle
It’s no secret, smoking and drinking is horrible for your health, but we know giving it up is easier said than done. Taking small steps to reduce the amount you smoke or drink will significantly help in reducing your risk of heart disease. The sooner the better.

Sleep the Night Away
Getting the appropriate amount of sleep is an important aspect in reducing your risk of heart disease.

Take a Step
We mean this one literally. A good way to increase your heart health is to maintain an active lifestyle. Professionals recommend at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week of moderate exercise. This means any activity that gets you moving and sweating a little.

Kick Stress to The Curb
Stress is the fuel that feeds the heart disease fire. The more stress you have, the more strain you put on your heart and overall health. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to reduce stress in your life such as yoga, breathing exercises and time management techniques.

Reducing you and your loved one’s risk of heart disease, or managing heart disease itself can be tricky and stressful. As always, Wiser Home Care is here to help you with whatever you need. From providing care to developing an extensive care plan for your loved one, and everything in between, we are happy to help. Please contact us, and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Five Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Your Elderly Loved One

Boy, did Punxsutawney Phil get it right or what? The snowy, wet weather the last few days hasn’t been much fun, but that’s ok. The bad weather has given us time to hunker down and prepare for an unforgettable Valentine’s day.

That’s right, the most romantic holiday of the year is just around the corner. Do you have a special valentine this year? If so, we hope you already have your plans and gifts ready for the 14th.

If Valentine’s day crept up on you like it did to us, then don’t worry, when we remembered it was going to be Valentine’s Day soon we got fast to work on brainstorming great Valentine’s Day gifts for the elderly loved one in your life.

Before we jump into the nitty gritty details, we thought it would be cool to share some fun facts about Valentine’s Day. Did you know that 54% of Americans will spend Valentine’s Day with a loved one this year?

Historically, Valentine’s Day has been a holiday for couples but recently that has shifted. In fact, one poll shows that “people also show their appreciation in the form of gifts for family members (59.4 percent), friends (21.7 percent), teachers (20.4 percent) and colleagues (12.1 percent).”

Studies also show that the most popular Valentine’s gifts are candy (53.2%), cards (51.2%), flowers (37.8%) and an evening out (37%).

Now don’t get us wrong, these are all great gifts and we would be more than happy to receive them from any of our loved ones. However, we think our loved ones deserve to receive above average gifts as our token of appreciation. The following gift ideas will show your loved ones just how much you think of them:

The Gift of Warmth and Fashion
Since we still have a month of Winter left, a thoughtful gift for your elderly loved one could be a nice new fleece wrap, heated car throw for cool winter travel, snazzy Valentine’s day socks, a new bed jacket, scarves or even a fancy new bath robe.

Help Set the Mood Safely
Perhaps your elderly loved one has a Valentine of their own they would like to impress. You could help them gather neat Valentine’s decorations, or even sit down with them and make them yourselves. The time spent together will be cherished. In addition, flameless candles are another great gift, that will help set the mood but keep them safe.

The Around-the-House Gift
Making your elderly loved one’s day-to-day life easier will show them that you truly care about their happiness and well-being. Some good around-the-house gifts include large font day clocks, amplified or photo phones, cooling or warming mattress pads, portable trays/bed trays, night lights, draft stoppers, oven rack guards or talking medication reminders.

The Sentimental Gift
We all know the saying, “Money can’t buy happiness”, well sometimes money can’t buy the best gift either. Making your elderly loved one a special gift will be fun and thoughtful. Maybe you could paint them a new mug or vase, or print out your favorite picture of you together and make them a homemade frame for it.

The Gift of Time
We saved the best for last. Honestly, what your elderly loved one probably wants more than anything else in the world, is to spend some time with you. Set aside an entire day to simply spend making memories with your loved one. You could have a board game marathon, watch their favorite movies, take them out to their favorite restaurant or simply get coffee and chat. They will love the company and getting out of their house.

If you would like help caring for, or developing an extensive care plan for your elderly loved one, we can help. Please contact us, and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

 

8 Groundhog Day Fun Facts to Get You Through 6 More Weeks of Winter

Punxsutawney Phil is one of the few animals worldwide that has an entire day nationally dedicated to him. In fact, Thursday was that day. What day you may ask. It is none-other than the nationally celebrated Groundhog Day. A day in which Punxsutawney Phil is crowned an honorary meteorologist.

Tradition goes, that if Punxsutawney Phil comes out of his hole on Groundhog Day and sees his shadow, then there will be 6 more weeks of winter, but if he doesn’t see his shadow then there will be an early spring.

We were hoping that he didn’t see his shadow, but unfortunately he did and now we have to live with 6 more weeks of winter. To help cope with the thought of a longer winter, we thought it would be fun to share some history and facts about Groundhog Day for this week’s blog.

The History
First observed in 1887, Groundhog Day has its origins in ancient Christian Candlemas Day tradition. During Candlemas, clergy would bless and distribute candles for winter. The candles symbolized how long and cold winter would be.

According to History.com, the Germans took the Candlemas concept and used the hedgehog instead of a candle. When German settlers moved to Pennsylvania they continued the tradition but switched to the Groundhog. Today, Groundhog Day is always nationally celebrated on Feb. 2, because it is exactly halfway between the Winter and Spring equinox.

Groundhog Fun Facts
Did you know….

  • Their diet consists of lots of greens, fruits and veggies
  • They drink very little water and the water they do get usually come from leaves
  • They whistle when they are feeling in danger and in the spring when they are courting
  • Groundhogs are clean animals that insects and germs leave alone. In fact, they are immune to many plagues that haunt animals.
  • They put themselves in a deep coma during the winter.
  • 2 months after birth, young groundhogs are ready to live on their own.
  • The groundhog’s normal lifespan is 6-8 years.
  • Punxsutawney Phil was named after King Philip

We hope you enjoyed learning about the history and fun facts about Groundhog Day as much as we did. Since Winter is sticking around for another 6 weeks, if you care for an elderly loved one, we urge you to read our Guide to Reducing Senior Falls in the Winter.

Finally, if you would like help caring for or developing an extensive care plan for your elderly loved one, we can help. Please contact us, and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.