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

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Tag: Caregiving (page 1 of 2)

Living in the Moment…mihygge

Mindfulness? Wellbeing for everyone… Living in the moment. As the speaker talked about Living in the present… one evening, as I sat enthralled listening like others in that grand circle, that evening….and the story of a cat as an example…drew me nearer to mindfulness. The elderly group seemed to take in flawlessly, every word, and as they all went around with their experiences of living in the moment…. The room was filled with smiles, claps and stories to share later.

Yes, it is good to do this and that… but how many of us live in that moment , not just alive but be, but experience, savor, inhale, embrace, satisfy oneself..?

Most seniors live in the moment…. To some, as the memories dwindle, they are bound to those moments forever, to others, it is simply a moment.

From meditation, to reading, to worshiping, to fulfilling chores, to working on hobbies, seniors embrace living in the moment with style.

A lesson for us to learn, appreciate, with much love, kindness and devotion.

Here are some ways to live in the moment, or mihygge:

  1. Spend an afternoon leisurely
  2. Read a book as you soak up the sun
  3. Brew a favorite cup of coffee blend and sip in comfort
  4. Breathe and exercise with deep focus and peace
  5. Create an inviting place, declutter and enjoy minimalism
  6. Meetup with friends for an evening of sharing the fun
  7. Walking in a local park
  8. Visiting the town’s weekend market
  9. Taking a trip to see a friend
  10. Simply relaxing with a massage or a me time

The list could go on…There are ways many times during a day, where one can live in the moment…for life’s simple pleasures are really that simple! So have fun creating a list at any age, aging is a pleasure, a new era of living in the moment…or mihygge. We are excited to learn ideas from across the world, so please share, celebrate and empower many, Thank you.

Dining Experiences Can Be Important

While a ladle cradling a prized dish may be enticing or even nostalgic, so are the historical eateries, established, some hundreds of years ago. The spirit of warmth, if walls could talk or the floor to transform are discoveries waiting to be discovered.

Visiting the The White Hart Inn in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2017, or eating at MTR in Bangalore, India… is a certainly sight to be experienced, and a sight for all ages. Seniors like comforting known things, young people like challenging their own appetites, and the others similarly so …

What makes these behemoths monumental are the styles, traditions, recipes, décor, storytelling, that one may not yet in newer franchises. But that be said, there are many that are joining these unique lists with unique plans, unique dishes and growing new friendships, relationships and communities.

Here are ways to bring back the dining experiences for seniors:

  1. Menu and take outs from historical restaurants or ones closely catering to needs of elderly
  2. A trip to the local diner, with family, friends, group etc
  3. Private chef dinner at home
  4. Sharing stories around these places
  5. Celebrating favorite things or milestones at historical places
  6. Visiting local markets, trying out recipes from the past
  7. Making dining a part of tour itineraries
  8. Making these special dining experiences elderly friendly, disability friendly
  9. Empowering elderly to pick out their choices, vs vice versa
  10. Believing in the culture and value of dining

Dining as a winning of cultures, minds, strategies, finer culinary skills, we must bid adieu, but before we do, we welcome you to share your thoughts, pointers, experiences, names of such places. Finally, we look forward to and love you sharing this as healthy aging communities grow, prosper and embrace life’s simple pleasures.

Best Practices When Deciding for Seniors with Diminishing Mental Capacity

Ability to make one’s decisions is essential to individual autonomy. If ever a person loses their ability to understand choices and repercussions, that is when they begin to need help making decisions. You may find yourself having to make choices for a parent or spouse.

Seniors with diminished mental capacity may not be in a position to make their own decisions. However, they can still know what they want and express it. Not having the capacity to make sound decisions is based in ability to understand and evaluate options and predict repercussions. It does not mean that a person doesn’t know what they want.

When deciding for a senior loved one with declining mental capacity, you should always try to strike a balance between acting in the patient’s favor and respecting his or her autonomy. The following practices can help you do that.

Assess Them

The first thing to do is to have your aging loved one assessed professionally by a clinician. The specialist’s job is to determine whether the individual has the capacity to make sound decisions. If it’s found that they understand and make their own decisions, then always allow them to make their own decisions.

Act in Their Best Interests

This may include alleviating the patient’s anxiety, taking time to educate the individual and their family, considering lucid intervals and the person’s physical conditions like difficulty in speech, which can sometimes interfere with capacity. Doing so is the only way to act in the best interest of the senior with diminishing mental capacity.

Disclosure of Diagnosis

In the past it was an accepted practice for doctors not to speak directly to their patients about deteriorating mental capacity. That has now changed. Today, it’s considered a patient’s right to be informed about their health condition and treatment discussions. So, involve the patient and disclose to him or her results of diagnosis. When you’ve assessed diminishing mental capacity and found out that the patient has dementia, it is good to let the patient know of their condition. Especially when it is still at its early stages. In other words, the stage of the mental illness and the time of diagnosis should be considered.

As mental illness progresses, competency and decision-making capacity will definitely be affected, and this may make the patient’s ability to fully understand the diagnosis as well as its implications could be limited. When it the mental illness is at its advanced stage, there may be no need to disclose the diagnosis to the patient because they might not even care. This means that the disclosure would actually be futile.

Don’t assume that you should make all the decisions alone for seniors with diminishing mental capacity. Always involve them whenever possible. You should also ensure that you always act in their best interest when you are deciding anything for them.

 

Art & the Painter’s Dilemma

When the flamingoes danced, the irises swayed in joys… the history of painting came alive with …

With modern touches, technology advances, anyone can become a painter, a thinker, an artist??

Think again… A couple painting that I inherited when I took over an older Doctor’s practice hung on my office walls for a few years, until one fine day, I realized the person sitting to be examined in front of me, asked me if she could have the painting in the wall of the bathroom? To my utter surprise and shock, it belonged to her late mother, she had traded / bartered that painting in the 1950’s with the previous doctor in this office for medical care and treatment.

Paintings did have a story after all… Later those other paintings that graced the walls of the office, were treasured and do even today. Think about this, brings me back to painting, the arts as a social gathering, festive merry making, as seen in the renaissance, or culture, traditions upheld , or even so history of feasts, foods, animals, nature…

Elderly appreciate art, artistic things, artistic talk or people …

Here are some of the best known ways to celebrate art with/for/by seniors:

1. An art museum / theater outing day

2. Painting , ceramics, art at place movement, event, seminar,

3. Wine with art/ food and art gathering

4. Art display and sharing

5. Creating artistic impressions with objects, produce, flowers,

6. Painting in the park, outdoors

7. Commemorating painters, their works, local, state, country or international

8. Visit to volunteering at art centers in city, senior’s center

9. Art with children or family

10. Art with pets, animals, at the zoo or elsewhere.

Art in any form, is a joy to behold. Let us relive arts and revive arts for everyone. If you have an upcoming event, art to display, we would love to see, share, and empower people across the globe to embrace arts as part of healthy living and aging. Thank you.

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.

 

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

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.

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.

Why Efficiency Matters in Finding the Best Senior Care for Your Beloved Senior?

Why old rules don’t work? Why changes in technology are making it easier day by day for all humans in many aspects to avail of opportunities? As humans are longing for efficiency and efficient systems are here to stay. Certainly, the aging population will reach new heights by 2030 and even more so by 2050 worldwide. The mortality rates are declining and humans are living longer, thanks to scientific advances all over the globe.

Global aging is the terminology and global citizenship is our future.  The invention of airplanes changed everything, it is basic human right for any senior to have choices to live their life to the fullest and in whatever and wherever ways they plan or can afford to.

Choices make up the foundation of a strong aging healthy economy. For years… I had the opportunity to hear and enjoy some wonderful conversations my aging geriatric patient population… The insights, interests and imaginations were clear as were the pains for their transparency towards me and my staff made all the difference in being inspired and cater to them.   

Here are thoughts of why efficiency matters

  1. Families are not always nuclear and even if they are, they are influenced by many
  2. Aging is a global phenomenon and a continuing phenomenon
  3. Time is power, time is efficiency, time is forward thinking, proactive thinking, time is energy, time is a mantra…
  4. Careers, economy and finances take center stage, because the rest are like circles around them
  5. Changes in jobs, work area, work space change… so does senior care change
  6. People believe in the power of the internet… even most seniors are accepting the use of internet technology
  7. Spending an entire day or days for a task is  problematic… most are unable to  afford taking off… or more so taking off vacation time is unhealthy for the senior and their families.
  8. Choices bring about transparency, clarity, accountability… our foundation pillars and motto.
  9. Real time stuff, and artificial stuff turn off most people, authenticity is key in everything.    
  10. When we think how efficiency matters, it is also efficiency wearing different costumes…

The future will see enormous strides in diversifying efficiency, diversity, cultural integration, finding the common amongst each other… Thank you  

 

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