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Chronic Diseases, Alzheimers & Dementia, Mental Health, Aging Life Care, Health Education, Global Public Speaking

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  • Aging Life Care Association Member Logo Purnima Sreenivasan, MBBS, MD, MPH
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Category: News (page 2 of 10)

Latest News

Tips for Maintaining High Quality of Life with Deteriorating Health

Deteriorating health is common among the aging population. Declining health doesn’t mean that you can’t live as healthily and happily as possible, though. There are so many things you can do to improve and maintain high quality of life as you age, even with a serious health condition.

How to maintain high quality of life with deteriorating health:

1.     Eat Well

Eating well is critical if you want to maintain high quality health. As you age, there might be a decreased metabolism, slower digestion, and changes in your senses of smell and taste. All these can have a huge affect on the foods you eat, your appetite, and how your body processes the food you eat. But despite of these changes, you should understand that healthy eating is more important to you now than ever. Proper nutrition is the only way to maintain good health and energy. Avoid refined carbs and sugary foods. Instead, eat high fiber vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

2.     Get Plenty of Sleep

Lack of sleep can worsen your health condition and make you even more susceptible to other diseases. Getting enough sleep will go a long way in ensuring that your quality of life remains high. If you are experiencing insomnia, sleep apnea, or any other sleep problems, see your doctor. Make sure that your bedroom is cool, dark and quiet. Playing some calm music or taking a bath before you go to bed can act as a soothing bedtime ritual and will help you sleep soundly throughout the night.

3.     Take Medications as Required

You may have some known health condition that requires medication. Many of us do. To manage your health condition and to maintain high quality of life, always take your medications as recommended by your doctor. In case you notice that your condition is worsening, you should contact your doctor immediately, and if necessary, make a plan to change how or when you take your prescription with them.

4.     Exercise

According to recent studies, regular exercise is actually the number one contributor to good health and longevity. Exercise doesn’t just add more years on earth, but it also adds quality of life to those years. Exercise boosts your mental health and will help you maintain your physical strength and agility. It also increases vitality and improves sleep. What’s more, sleep also helps diminish chronic pain. Regular exercise can also have a positive effect on your brain,  helping prevent cognitive decline, memory loss, and dementia.

5.     Get a Change of Scenery

If you’re going to go through these changes at home, you might as well do so in a beautiful setting instead. Take advantage of mobility devices, prescription glasses, heating pads, hearing aids, and whatever other tools you can to let you out of the house comfortably. Bring a friend with you in case you need any assistance, and for good company. Just being under the sky, in your favorite restaurant, or cruising a museum in a wheelchair can bring a lightness of heart that can’t be found on the couch.

6.     Find Meaning in Your Life

The ability to continuously find meaning and happiness in life is a major component in the recipe for happy and healthy aging. With deteriorating health, your life changes as you age, and you may find yourself losing hope. Engage in activities that give you purpose in life and do things that make you happy. Start a gratitude journal or set aside a gratitude reflection time daily. This will help you remain positive through any health challenges you face. Positivity can have a huge positive effect on your general health and even reduce chronic pain.

 

Breathing Exercises for Mindfulness

The Ages have shown what controlled breathing exercises or exercises influenced by breathing patterns can do for a human body. The ancient philosophy is ever useable, as modern scientists look to the past for answers. What our heritage brings is invaluable knowledge, because sometimes no research or study can give us the answers.

These gems of culture are found within indigenous tribes, our grandparents, countries, whose ancestry dates back to thousands of years BC. Learning Tai Chi a decade ago at a mall in Hawaii, I was among a group of seniors. The octogenarians and nonagenarians helped me understand that these exercises are based on principles and moreover, philosophies of life.

Tai Chi is a way of living. Similarly to the yoga classes we had to attend growing up school in Eastern India. It was a part of curriculum, to shape us into better humans. These profound traditions have multiple purposes.

Here are a few places for seniors to learn, watch, attend, or commit to ancient breathing exercises:

1. A local mall, for instance in your town

2. A senior center with supervised instructions, group or private

3. A festival… a religious institution. For example: a cultural, public or community space

4. A park, with facilities

5. A traditional class setting

6. A group of elderly committed to such healthy practices, exercises and congregating in each person’s home or a community center

7. A camp for seniors, wellbeing, to help cope with traditional methodology

8. Tailoring to seniors of all walks of life, physical, mental, financial , social, emotional is key factor…because some of these have benefits beyond research.

Above all, movement is the key word in these. Breathing is the essence, and exercise is the form or state of one in… Keeping alive these forms in all parts of the world, is a means to better aging. Encouraging and empowering the elderly to continue what they like is healthy and wise. We welcome insight, deeper conversations, that we can share with others of our world.

What About When Married Couples Don’t Both Need Senior Living Services?

Life expectancy continues to increase around the world and people are now living longer than before. There are also more senior couples across the world than ever before. When it comes to receiving in home healthcare or moving to a senior living facility, it’s fairly straight forward for singles. However, it becomes more complicated when only one partner in a couple needs senior living services.

You Have Options

There are more options today than ever before for this situation. Instead of one possible answer to this question, you now have many. The degree of care needed and the gap in needs between partners will have influence on what’s best for you.

In-Home Care

In-home care can be quite easy to cater to a couple with differing needs, or where only one partner needs care. A professional caretaker can help with activities of daily living, or perform nursing tasks. This scenario can be great for couples where no one needs ongoing medical supervision.

A Shared Apartment in a Senior Living Community

Moving together into a senior living community gets needs met for the partner needing caretaking services. It also sets both partners up with the knowledge that the resources to meet increasing needs are already in place where they are. If in the future both partners need care, or needs change, they will likely be able to remain in place and adapt.

Move to a Senior Living Community Campus

There can be many reasons that a couple may choose to move together to a senior living community, but not share an apartment. One may just want to be present in the community. The other may need caretaking services, assisted living, nursing services, memory and dementia care, or even hospice care. Each partner can live under the level of care they need, surrounded by others with similar needs, and still spend their days together in the senior community. This can be especially helpful when one partner needs highly specialized care that is hard to provide in-home.

 

Tea Time… Life’s Simple Pleasures

Tea time…is a much celebrated tradition worldwide. The elaborate tea ceremony of Japan, to the afternoon teas in England to the tea growing regions of rainy Assam in India…Tea time is a time of taking time for personal wellness, catch up on some energy, creative thinking, sharing, and companionship to continuing traditions.

When tea was a mystery, hundreds of years ago, to the current ways of shopping for tea, tea and specialty tea shops can stimulate many a taste bud…Tea time for seniors could be a sign of respect, festiveness, routine, memorable times and more…

Often in my office, seniors preferred not to be seen by me, the doctor at certain times of a day…With better understanding, I realized the evening tea had its’ place. Visiting families in Asia, Africa…tea time is considered part of social life, from tea stalls in roadsides to elaborate tea ceremonies to the everything café downtown.

Here are some truly humbling tea related things seniors shared with me in my decades as a geriatrician:

1. Tea times are not a thing of past, they are making a comeback

2. When you share an afternoon of tea, or meetup with someone, you are truly living not just being

3. A break for tea is worth every penny of time

4. Traditions and culture of tea times… part of healing, as tea contains certain chemicals, wellbeing, healthy living

5. Teas can be any, but the best tea can only be made with love

6. Tea time is special and miracles do happen

7. Hoping tea time is respected…

With those sayings… making time for life’s simple pleasures in any setting is settling, caring, showing love and paying attention to what matters to whom…Hope grandmother and grandfather’s traditions continue to grow, for our future generations… please share your favorite tea moments with grandma or grandpa. We would love to follow, and help the world fall in love with life’s simple pleasures once again,

Thank you

Our Elderly & What They Teach us About Life?

Many of our elderly have gone through the hardest, harshest, and unimaginable. From the jungles of Papua New Guinea, to being a POW to working in fields with no clothing, food and shelter, to living out of barns like many… these stories are rich with learnings, lessons and realities of life. Discounting such is also proof of callous entitled souls. However bitter or better it may have been… going forward, mankind must go backwards to see how we can change for better.

In an era laced with remarkable… things, what can the elderly teach us about life?

Read on and share as you may …

1. Live in the present, but learn from the past

2. Survival is not a strength of character, but of thinking, intuition and powerful strategy

3. Elderly souls are baskets of thoughtful leadership and everyone can harness those with a smile and appreciation for aging

4. Aging is a boon, aged are the pillars of our communities, they still guide us in many visible and invisible ways

5. Wellness began with our aging forefathers, when they ate healthy, what was in season and the right proportions

6. Focusing on the happy future, led all elderly to their goals in achieving for what they wanted for their families of which we are a descendant of.

7. Living is life’s simple pleasures as is clothing and food

8. Helping the future is a growth mindset, the real reason why elderly dote on families and grandchildren or young members

9. Fashion for aging is fashion infinite

10. Bravery and courage come from exploring the simple or tough times… they make our so called treasured values of life.

In short, philosophy of aging is embedded in the grace of aging… so aging is and always will be in fashion! Certainly we love to hear more ideas, please share, like, so we can spread the teachings our elderly, inspire others and be inspired ourselves, Thank you.

How Much Help is Too Much Help for Seniors?

When it comes to providing senior care for a loved one, you should know the difference between doing things for a person and doing things with a person. Most seniors (maybe all?) will appreciate when you do activities or tasks with them and not when you do things for them.

You can easily find yourself doing everything for a loved one rather than with them. Of course, its well-intentioned behavior. You’re doing what you can to make your loved one comfortable. However, this can sometimes have a negative influence on the life of the person you care for. In fact, they may feel incapacitated and start to rebel and become upset. That’s a clear sign that the “help” you’re providing is too much.

Help is too much if it doesn’t promote the independence of the other person. It’s important that you foster independence, even as you provide senior care services. There are so many reasons for this:

  • It helps fight feelings of futility and frustration, which can cause violence and rebellion
  • Your loved one will appreciate that you still see them as a person who is capable of making helpful contributions to the society
  • Promoting and sustaining a feeling of independence in your loved one allows them to retain maximum self sufficiency
  • This may soothe their fear of being a burden

So, ensure that the person you care for has the opportunity to do helpful things. Have them complete basic tasks for themselves whenever possible.

Promoting Independence

This involves providing and creating opportunities for them to contribute to maintaining their own quality of life. You can promote independence by encouraging your loved one to do certain things for themselves. Provide opportunities for activities and exercise, encouraging a healthy lifestyle, and supporting brain health through games and social interaction.

Maintaining Independence

Maintenance of independence in the person you are caring for is ensuring that the person is given all the tools to follow through with his or her willingness to perform a duty for himself or herself. For instance, you can help with ensuring home safety such as installing adequate lighting, handrails, bathroom grab bars, furniture placement, and home accessibility. These tools can help the person under your care to safely do some activities for themselves with the home, without help.

 

Savoring Grandma’s Delights

Who would not agree? … If food was the way to or for every heart? Cooking is a religion of love, peace, harmony, energy, respect and happiness.

Grandpa’s or Grandma’s cooking is legendary in every household in every culture. Culture is life’s simple pleasures. The vast majority of recipes true and tried have now disappeared, as modernization and grab-n-go culture prevails. Food used to be a setting for great discussions, joys, and exchanges of knowledge, values, insights, mentoring and more.

My mother’s special recipes or the ones we get to try from years ago or served by those stalwarts/phoenixes of the culinary world or restaurant, are something one must experience… they are life’s simple pleasures.

For most seniors in living, or sharing or staying alone, these are not possible always.

Here’s how to make those fond memories of Grandma’s cooking come alive:

1. Create a day dedicated to sharing recipe and cooking according to the popular vote or decision

2. Bring in specialty chefs to cook , share, create the festive moods of the past

3. Teach and share the skills

4. Prepare special delights to try and test if possible and applaud a winning one!

5. Journeys, travels to local restaurants as an activity

6. Ordering via online menu for take home delivery

7. Quality and quantity at feast, special occasions, festivals, anniversaries

8. Spreading the kindness through gift giving of culinary related gifting themes

9. Printing articles on local digest, newsletter on delights by grandma and grandpa

10. Recreating photo memories albums, online or else to reminisce in leisure times

Writing this piece has inspired me to be brave and try new … share and recreate memories, give and take with unlimited open-mindedness. Savoring the delights of history is one of life’s simplest pleasures. We would love to hear from you, if this has inspired you, or not let us know… as we learn and share for a better delightful aging, Thank you.

A Walk Amidst Nature- Recipe for Freshness

Walking in, with, nature, is peaceful and blissful. The sights, sounds, wisdom, feelings of joy, happiness …

Needing to find the inner peace, be more creative, looking for exercise and healthy ways, nature is a provider of many good things. Nature is a recipe for freshness, in every way. This is why you need access to nature.

How does one then… embrace this? As the world goes more… uniquely forward in technology, the absolute thrills of real nature are different than one created by man? Virtual reality can take you to places but should not be the only alternative for every senior as they gracefully age.

Ways to bring nature back into living space, the designs, the ambience, the beauty… is of immense worth…

Some recipes for freshness inside and outside one’s living home:

  1. Floral design with fresh flowers and greens
  2. Edible fresh fruits
  3. Pots with potted plants on patio, balcony, seasonal or perennial or hardy
  4. Indoor plants
  5. Open bright windows to access greenery, nature
  6. Sitting outside in patio, garden, or an outside / garden party
  7. Bird feeders, watching birds,
  8. Harvesting food from raised beds
  9. The five senses, touch, seeing, smelling, hearing nature
  10. Virtual reality visits for elderly that cannot due to certain circumstances

Walker, wheelchair, dependent or independent, all elderly must have access to nature, a recipe for successful healthy aging.

We would love to hear from you, and look forward to other ways in which we could help more aging citizens of the earth and nature, Thank you.

Real Differences Between Care From a Spouse and a Professional Caregiver

At some point in life, most of us will start to experience decline with aging. If your spouse experiences mental or physical decline first, you’ll have to decide between caring for them personally and hiring a professional caregiver. Your choice will depend on whether you’re able to provide the care they need without sacrificing yourself. If you can’t care for yourself and them adequately, it’s best to let a professional caregiver take over.

Care From a Spouse

You may be able to care for your partner when they experience physical and/or mental decline, and they may also do the same for you. Doing the care yourself can be appealing for financial reasons, or to skip the process of interviewing and hiring a caregiver. Maybe you’d rather not invite another person into your home. There are many possible reasons to choose caring for a spouse.

But it doesn’t come without stress. It may also feel like a necessity or an obligation.

Having to care for your aging spouse can sometimes cause strain in your relationship. You might also experience insufficient energy or sleep, and you may find it isolating or stressful. These effects are common among people providing care for their aging partners, and are known as “burnout”.

Some of the most common symptoms of burnout include:

  • Depression
  • Pains or aches
  • Sleep problems
  • Severe fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Stress

A Professional Caregiver

A professional caregiver can be a person trained to care for seniors at home. They often have nursing experience or other specialized skills that make them a great fit for the job.

One of the main differences between care from a spouse and a professional caregiver is that a professional is trained in specific areas of importance. They’ll know how to move, wash, feed your husband or wife in the safest, most effective ways. They’ll often have CPR and first aid certifications, and they work for an hourly fee.

Another benefit of professional caregivers is that they clock out and go home to recharge. You can’t just disappear for 16 hours a day to give your attention to other things. Your professional caregiver does, which means they’re better able to focus and keep perspective about day-to-day challenges. Being able to step away is very helpful for caretakers, emotionally.

This is unlike when you’re the one taking care of your partner. Besides being untrained, and always “on”, you’re also working for free.

When to Go To a Professional Caregiver

If you aren’t up to the task of taking care of your spouse alone, don’t do it. Whether it’s the emotional strain, physical demands, or mismatched skillset that deter you, it’s best to employ someone in this case.

Even if you started out fine with caretaking, when you realize that burnout may be affecting you, take it seriously. Cut back how much care you provide alone or hire help until you feel like returning to caretaking full time. If you ever do.

It’s okay to employ a professional, it has no bearing on your love or dedication.

A professional caregiver can help with many things:

  • Preparing meals
  • Light housekeeping (tidying up, dishes, vacuuming)
  • Grocery shopping
  • Hygiene and bathing
  • Incontinence care
  • Transportation to and from various doctors’ appointments
  • Changing bed linens
  • Laundry
  • Medication reminders
  • Mobility assistance

Whether to do caretaking wholley alone, employ part time help, or use the services of a full time caretaker is up to you. You can change your mind at any time, just keep in mind your partner’s health and happiness, and also your own.

Gardening and Health!

The gardens of Eden or patio/balcony gardens of my grandma. The hanging gardens or the raised terrace gardens, people of all ages, times, societies, occupations, professions or businesses have enjoyed a garden one time or more. Gardens bring pleasures of a world that is unknown, changeable, moving, challenged by nature, at the mercy of the universe and climate change…

My earliest impressions of gardening were while watching my parents and grandparents garden, growing up in India, then living in Africa, traveling as a teenager and then in the USA and traveling again…

Health cannot be measured only by genetics, situation, race, age, or many other factors.

Health benefits from access to nature. In fact, most medieval times used natural treatments, and people still do so today. Not just in indigenous cultures, but in the modern world also.

You can gain health by recuperating in nature, eating healthy, eating fresh, living simply, and staying as all natural as possible.

Over the years of my personal and professional life, having conversations with seniors made me realize how intricate part of their lives were related to gardening, gardens, nature and outdoors. The elderly were proud to share their gardening skills… from growing radishes, to window planting to fruit orchards in their acreage to the country life many left behind when they married and moved to cities as they looked for jobs.

Gardening is a healthy habit making a comeback… Here are few things to restart a passion of gardening:

1. Consider going simple and small

2. Try flowers for display, views and fragrance

3. Have a system to water … because having drip lines, a hose, or a can nearby makes watering easier

4. Take a walk in the nursery or garden center

5. Botanical tours

6. Gardening, flower or produce societies

7. Social media follows: Facebook, Instagram

8. Friendship garden walks with friends

9. Travel to natural surroundings, parks

10. Sharing experiences with family, friends, grandchildren

Because there is always more to gardening, learning, and life’s simple pleasures. Finding a healthy habit like gardening can certainly benefit your mental and physical health. If this blog resonates with you, please share and give us your input, as we benefit the world , Thank you.

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