Reducing the Risk of Stroke

National Stroke Awareness Month

Stroke can be deadly, debilitating, and dangerous. Its attack on the body can be silent and without warning. Fortunately, there are ways to lower your risk of having a stroke.

By definition from the American Stroke Association, “Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or ruptures. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs, so it and brain cells die.”

Although deadly, 80% of strokes are preventable and can be prevented by implementing healthy lifestyle choices. The two leading contributors to stroke are poor diet and physical inactivity. 

Poor diet commonly results in high cholesterol and high blood pressure, in tandem causing a slow ambush on the heart. Stop the ambush in its tracks by choosing a healthier diet. 

  • Limit the consumption of foods high in sodium, saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. 
  • Opt for minimally processed foods that are lower in fat and made with little to no salt. 
  • Minimize your intake of added sugars and alcohol. 
  • Choose to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. 
  • Ensure that you are consuming healthy sources of lean and unprocessed protein. 

Pair a healthier diet with physical activity. Move that body! This does not always call for long, strenuous trips to the gym. Small changes can be as simple as parking farther away for a longer walk to work or school, waking up earlier for a short stroll around the block, or a quick yoga session at the desk. Implementing movement as little as 15-30 minutes a day can lead huge strides toward physical and cardiovascular health and fitness.  

Physical activity not only exercises the body, but also the mind. Taking a few minutes a day to focus on yourself can lift some stress off your shoulders and mind. Oftentimes, stress can lead to inflammation, hypertension, and other vascular conditions, ultimately leading to a higher risk of stroke. Use physical activity as a time to de-stress, breathe, and focus on your mind and body. 

Lastly, smoking and the use of tobacco causes a temporary increase in blood pressure and will cause damage to your lungs and arteries. Limiting or quitting the use of tobacco (and exposure to secondhand smoke) will aid in the reduced risk of stroke. 

Altering a few of your lifestyle choices can significantly impact your risk of stroke and your overall health. 

Consult your doctor to find the best forms of action to decrease your chance of stroke. 

In the case of a stroke, know the signs. Remember F.A.S.T. to identify if someone is experiencing a stroke.

  • Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
  • Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred?
  • Time to call 911

In-home senior care services can be a good fit for seniors trying to manage their diet and physical activity. We have compassionate caregivers who can help with lifestyle care and care coordination. Schedule a free consultation or give your nearest A Place At Home location a call today! 

September is Healthy Aging Month

Healthy Aging Month is about raising awareness about how older adults can live healthier, happier lives.

The start of a new school year is the perfect time to celebrate Healthy Aging Month since people are motivated by back-to-school memories and are more inclined towards starting something new. Seniors are encouraged to stay healthy and learn new things that will improve their physical health and mental capacity during this month-long observance.

Keep reading for senior living tips to empower a positive outlook on aging and to continue to improve your life. 

Take charge of your health

Take charge of your health during Healthy Aging Month. Find out what benefits your healthcare insurance covers, and take the time to set up your annual physical and other health screenings, including examinations by your eye doctor and dentist. For most diseases, early detection can be hugely beneficial so remain diligent about your health, including taking medications as prescribed. If you notice anything unusual, don’t ignore it. While there’s no need to go to the doctor every time you’re not feeling well, know your body and what is normal for yourself well enough to detect if something might be out of line.

Exercise is important for healthy aging. If you are not accustomed to exercise, consult your doctor before starting an exercise routine and be sure to start slowly. Aim for 10–15 minutes of activity 3x a week and increase as time goes on.

Maintaining a healthy diet is also key to staying healthy. Obesity can lead to even bigger health concerns such as diabetes or heart disease. Plus, a slower metabolism means we need fewer calories when we get older, so it becomes increasingly important for us to reduce the amount of unhealthy foods we consume.
Additionally, our Care Coordination Services can help you and your family navigate the complex healthcare system. Our caregivers are not only an advocate for you, but can help with in-home health services. They can attend doctor’s appointments, coordinate with specialists, create a plan for day-to-day care, and pick up medication. We can even provide transition assistance for post-surgery or rehab, and a household safety assessment to avoid re-admittance.

Try new things

Don’t let your age stop you from trying new things (within reason, of course!). Get out there and experiment! Do something that will keep your mind and body engaged each day—it will give you something to look forward to. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Try a new hobby
  • Learn a new skill or language
  • Read new books
  • Join a walking group

Working puzzles, taking up a new hobby like yoga, etc. can help reduce stress levels associated with aging problems. It’s good for both body and mind!

Stay positive

Studies have shown that positive thinking can help you live longer and more successfully manage stressful events. If negative thoughts plague your life, try to “re-train” yourself by replacing them with the silver lining in every situation. Try to be more pos­i­tive in conversation. When you catch yourself saying something negative, switch it around into a positive statement. Try not watching the news for a while to avoid negative reports. Surround yourself with energetic, happy people of all ages to help keep your own mood positive. Your mental health plays an important part in healthy aging, and surrounding yourself with people who make you smile and laugh makes it even easier.

Build a support system

A positive support system filled with friends and loved ones can greatly boost your mental wellbeing. Surround yourself with people who bring you joy rather than bring you down! Instead of feeling lonely and bored, reach out to your friends or family. Get together with them, invite them over for a visit, or even call them over FaceTime. 

Another asset to your support system is in-home senior care. Our in-home care services can be customized to fit your needs and keep your daily routines in the comfort of your own home. Our companions can help you participate in hobbies, help with socializing, and assist with your email and social media. They can also help you manage meals and nutrition, complete household chores, exercise or go outdoors, and provide transportation for errands. 

If you are looking for in-home senior care in Albuquerque, schedule a free consultation with our A Place At Home office. You can expect a quick response about pricing or answers to any questions about our in-home care, care coordination, or senior living alternatives. Our professionals are ready to provide you or your loved one with compassionate care, open communication, and support, and improve overall quality of life. Give our Albuquerque office a call at (505) 316-5440 or schedule your free consultation online today.

Dehydration in Seniors: What to Look For and How to Help

There’s a heatwave throughout most of the country right now. With temperatures in the upper 90’s and higher, it’s an excellent time to make sure you know the signs and symptoms of dehydration.

Most people have likely been educated on the benefits of drinking enough water. Our bodies require it to function. For most people, drinking at least eight glasses a day is an easy way to care for ourselves. However, not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration, which can be detrimental to one’s health. The very definition of “dehydration” is “a harmful reduction in the amount of water in the body”. For most of us, that means we may feel sluggish, have a headache, or feel a little ill. 

For seniors, especially those with chronic illnesses, dehydration can be detrimental to their health and overall quality of life.

As we get older, our bodies carry a lesser volume of water at all times. This is a normal part of aging, and generally, getting enough fluids each day can mitigate the risk of dehydration. However, when aging adults become ill with even a minor infection such as a UTI, the risk of severe dehydration goes up. In addition, dehydration poses a significant threat in those diagnosed with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and dementia. 

If dehydration isn’t recognized early enough for a senior, the situation can become severe quickly. It’s beneficial and necessary to be able to identify things that can indicate a senior isn’t getting enough fluid in their body:

  • They may not urinate as frequently as they usually do
  • When they do use the restroom, the color of their urine is darker than it should be
  • They seem confused and disoriented
  • They feel dizzy
  • They’re more tired than usual
  • They are excessively thirsty

If you see any of these symptoms in a senior you love, there’s a good chance they’re dehydrated. If they have difficulty staying awake, have had diarrhea for more than 24 hours, or can’t keep fluids down, it’s time to call a doctor. 

Most of us are fortunate enough to take the ability to keep ourselves hydrated for granted.

However, for some seniors, their health conditions may constantly be working against them. As an example, they may be taking prescribed medications that can increase the risk of dehydration. In addition, some disease processes, like Alzheimer’s, can render someone incapable of recognizing that they need to drink water. Finally, for others, a disability may mean that they are physically unable to fetch their own drink. 

In some cases, a person may be utterly dependent on the help of other to stay healthy and hydrated.

Whether you’re a professional caregiver or caring for someone you love, there are some excellent ways to ensure the person you’re caring for is getting enough water:

  • Offer smaller amounts of water more often throughout the day – seniors can be hesitant to drink a lot at one time, depending on their physical and cognitive condition.
  • Encourage fluid-hearty foods at meal and snack times. Soup with a meal, or watermelon as a snack, for example
  • Water is the best, but an offer of tea, coffee, or natural fruit juice can encourage more fluid intake.

While the risk of dehydration is real for older adults, being aware of the things that signify that the person under your care isn’t getting enough water can help significantly increase the odds that you can address the situation before it becomes an emergency. Especially in those cases where the person isn’t able to take care of their needs themselves. If you or someone you know would benefit from having oversight so that they can stay healthy and independent, reach out to us to see locations near you. Our professional and compassionate caregivers are passionate about the care they provide, and we would be honored to help!

Practicing Self Care is the Best Way to Care for Others

Whether you’re caring for a loved one or you’re a professional caregiver caring for the loved ones of others, prioritizing your self care should be at the top of your list.

The truth of the matter is that you cannot pour from an empty cup. As a caregiver, this means that you cannot effectively care for others in a genuinely beneficial way without first making sure you’re caring for yourself. The effect on one’s physical and emotional wellbeing can be overwhelming. Often, when a person being cared for is under duress, their caregiver can feel it also. That empathy is what drives many caregivers, but it can also lead to exhaustion and burnout. The mental stress experienced regularly can have a negative effect. It’s true. You cannot care for others properly if you’re not putting your own needs first. It’s imperative not only for yourself but for those under your care.

Fortunately, there are some realistic, easy ways to prioritize your mental health.

  • Journaling – Keeping a journal is one of the best ways to improve long-term stress levels and your overall mood. Writing for just 20 minutes a day can have positive, long-term effects, both mentally and physically. It’s one of the most therapeutic actions you can take, and the you can feel the benefits immediately. You can learn more about journaling and all its benefits here.
  • Meditation – Often, people hear the word meditation and immediately think, “I could never stop my thoughts long enough to meditate.” Here’s the kicker – no one can; it’s impossible. That’s not the point. Sitting with yourself in silence allows you to be aware of your thoughts, and instead of reacting to them, acknowledge them without attachment to the feelings they induce. Even ten minutes a day (sometimes less!) produces benefits such as stress reduction, increased concentration, peace of mind, reduced blood pressure numbers, better sleep, and much more. You can find out more about meditation, how to get started, and its many benefits here.
  • Yoga – Yoga is another fantastic way to prioritize yourself before you start giving to others. As with journaling and meditation, it doesn’t take much time out of your day to produce massive benefits. Just 15 minutes a day has effects such as stress reduction, better sleep, more energy, boosts your immune system, and allows you to communicate with your body and how each part of it feels. This quick, 15-minute routine is easy to follow, and it’s enough to have you feeling real results very soon. 

There are many more ways to put yourself first daily.

The practices listed in this article take less than an hour a day in total, and you’ll find the benefits to be exponential. Caring for yourself first allows you to fully serve those you care for, in the most fulfilling and rewarding way possible, for both you and those in your charge. If you do find yourself caring for a loved one and feeling overwhelmed, reach out and let us help you, care for you.

New Hope on the Horizon for Individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease

With June being Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, it’s fitting that the FDA just approved a new treatment option for those living with Alzheimer’s.

Aduhelm is the first new drug approved for the treatment of Alzheimer’s in 18 years. It’s no wonder the announcement has been so celebrated. The other reason? Aduhelm doesn’t just treat the symptoms of the disease. It is the first drug of its kind that shows the potential to slow Alzheimer’s clinical progression.

Alzheimer’s Disease is a progressive disease that accounts for nearly 80% of all dementia cases. The Disease most often impacts individuals age 65 or older but can be diagnosed earlier in rare circumstances. Symptoms of the condition usually start with mild but noticeable memory loss. Eventually, there’s a total loss of ability to respond to one’s environment at all. Until now, treatment has been limited to managing symptoms.

Aduhelm claims to slow the clinical progression of Alzheimer’s Disease.

How does this option work? While no one quite has the answer to the way Alzheimer’s works, it’s strongly theorized that a specific type of protein clumps together, killing brain cells. These deposits of protein are referred to as amyloid plaques caused by amyloid-beta. Amyloid-beta is naturally occurring in our brains. However, researchers believe it becomes toxic when it groups to form amyloid plaques, causing Alzheimer’s and other dementias symptoms. By targeting these clumps of protein, developers of Aduhelm believe that the drug may lower the amount of them found in the brain.

As a treatment, Aduhelm is administered intravenously once a month. Several trials of the drug have been done in the last few years to get to this point. Close to 3500 total participants have been enrolled. These patients were in the relatively early stages of the Disease when the drug trial began. The results? Mixed. In one study, individuals enrolled did appear to experience a slower loss of function and cognition. However, in an almost identical study, participants experienced virtually no change in disease progression.

With such a clear polarity in trial results, why did the FDA decide to move forward with Aduhelm?

Though one trial showed no significant results, those that did experience a decline in the loss of function and cognition show promise for what the future may hold. With the frustrating lack of forward movement in the treatment and cure for Alzheimer’s and dementia, results like this can’t be discounted. However, this approval isn’t cut and dry. In fact, as studies and treatment progress, the FDA can pull consent for further use of the drug at their discretion. And while results among trial groups have varied widely, Aduhelm is proven to reduce amyloid plaques in the brains of those enrolled. 

Aduhelm does come with a list of warnings and side effects.

Most notably is a temporary swelling of the brain in some areas. This swelling can cause headaches, confusion, vision changes, and nausea, among other things. Do these risks outweigh the benefits? As it stands now, no one knows, and Biogen, the company releasing the drug, has been required to conduct a new randomized, controlled study by the FDA.

With over 6 million Americans affected by Alzheimer’s Disease, forward movement regarding treatment is worth further study and attention. The memory loss and progressive loss of function are devastating to the individual diagnosed. Their family and loved ones are heavily impacted as well. The most recent report done by the Alzheimer’s Association shows that in the US alone, more than 11 million people are active caregivers for a loved one with dementia.

Caring for a loved one with dementia can quickly lead to epic stress levels, burnout, and a loss of quality of life for the person living with the disease and the loved one caring for them.

The A Place At Home system has been supporting families suffering because of dementia for almost a decade. Our professional and compassionate caregivers are empathetic and educated in the mental and physical care needs of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your situation, reach out to us. We can help. 

The announcement of a novel treatment that may slow the clinical progression of Alzheimer’s is undoubtedly a historical moment in the fight against this disease. The potential shown with Aduhelm sparks hope for millions of Americans and individuals across the world battling this nightmare of a disease. Of course, we don’t know yet what, if any, impact this new drug will have in the coming years. But this year, its release has brought further awareness to Alzheimer’s and dementia in general. And that alone is something worth celebrating.     

The Importance of Exercise for Parkinson’s Disease

Most of us know that regular exercise is a crucial component of living (and aging) in a healthy way. For those diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, this is especially true. 

Those living with Parkinson’s Disease will experience a range of physical symptoms. They may experience tremors, weakness of their limbs, stiffness, shuffling of their gate, and loss of coordination and balance. Regular exercise can help mitigate these symptoms by strengthening muscle groups and encouraging joint flexibility and limberness. Not only does regular exercise help with the physical symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease – it helps with the mental and emotional aspects as well, combatting concentration loss, anxiety, and depression. 

Studies show that regular exercise slows the progression of symptoms caused by PD and increases the longevity of life quality. 

Of course, the earlier you start a regular exercise routine, the better. But regular physical activity at any stage of Parkinson’s is beneficial. Below are some types of exercise that are particularly helpful for those living with PD:

  • Tai Chi – This gentle exercise can sometimes be referred to as meditation in motion. Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese practice that involves moving into different postures using fluid movement. This can be a good exercise for those living with Parkinson’s Disease, as it is slow and gentle. Studies have shown that those diagnosed with PD who participate in regular Tai Chi show improved functionality, improved balance impairments, and reduced falls. 
  • Yoga – For those living with PD, Yoga can help with flexibility and warding off muscle rigidity. This is a low-impact practice that can help improve strength, flexibility, and limberness. 
  • Pilates – Pilates is another low-impact exercise that can improve the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. Pilates helps with strength, coordination, balance, posture, flexibility, and muscular strength. Because it is low-impact, the risk of injury with Pilates is low as well. 
  • Qigong – this is another fluid movement exercise that encourages intention and breathwork with low-impact movement. Studies done involving those diagnosed with PD who participate in Qigong show notable improvements in their motor function, overall balance, and ability to walk. There are many types and subsets of Qigong, which you can read more about here.
  • Non-Contact Boxing – This low-impact form of boxing helps individuals with PD show improvement in their balance and gait. There is even a non-profit organization devoted to addressing Parkinson’s symptoms with non-contact boxing. Rock Steady Boxing has been in the business of training since 2006. They believe that non-contact boxing improves the physical symptoms of PD and instills empowerment and control over the disease by allowing one to physically “fight” against the disease. 

There are different ways to modify specific exercises so that they can be done safely and effectively. Stanford Medicine provides a list of free exercise programs. The resources on this list include modified chair exercises, short-duration sets, and dance videos that you can stream online in the safety and comfort of your own home. Of course, not all exercise programs will be appropriate for everyone diagnosed with PD. 

The important thing to remember is that any physical activity done consistently will improve the mind, body, and spirit. 

A diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease can be overwhelming, but you can have a measure of control over your symptoms and how quickly the disease progresses. Regular and consistent physical activity is proven to slow disease progression and improve the overall quality of life. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with PD and is struggling, reach out to us today to see how we can help you maintain or even improve your quality of life. 

Parkinson’s Disease – Symptoms May Occur Years Before Diagnosis

A shot of a senior's hands filling out a chart with a pen.

Parkinson’s Disease is a slow and progressive neurological condition.

PD occurs when the nerve cells in the brain (neurons) that produce dopamine begin to break down or die. The nervous system uses dopamine to communicate between nerve cells. Dopamine affects our moods, movement, and memory, among other things. Parkinson’s Disease attacks the nerve cells that produce dopamine. Individuals diagnosed with PD may experience tremors, difficulty speaking and swallowing generalized slowness, and shuffling. PD has been diagnosed in over a million people in the US alone.  

That number doesn’t include the number of people who love those diagnosed and its impact on their lives.

Unfortunately, we don’t know much about why people develop Parkinson’s Disease. Studies indicate it may be hereditary, but family members’ occurrence isn’t consistent enough to prove this true. Some environmental triggers have been cited, but the risk of developing PD due to exposure to these is still low. Stress, particularly life events that can be traumatic, can also cause PD.

Specific motor deficits need to be present for an official diagnosis of PD. However, there are more subtle signs that can occur years before. Below are some of the most common ones:

  1. REM behavior disorder (RBD) – This is a newly developed, sudden movement during sleep. Specifically during the REM cycle of sleep. Often described as “acting out dreams,” this symptom may go unnoticed by the person exhibiting the behavior. A spouse or partner who is woken up frequently by sudden jerks or kicks may be the person who first notices that there’s an issue at all. While RBD doesn’t mean that PD is present, those who experience it (with no known cause) are at higher risk of being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in the future.
  2. Loss of sense of smell (anosmia) – Losing your sense of smell (when there is no other discernable cause) can be an early predictor of a PD diagnosis down the road. When related to PD, anosmia happens when the protein that leads to Parkinson’s Disease accumulates in the part of the brain that is responsible for the sense of smell. It’s important to note that losing your sense of smell does not mean you will be diagnosed with PD. However, for those that experience this, there is a 50% chance they will be diagnosed in the next five to ten years.
  3. Voice changes – If there is a noticeable and new change in your voice’s softness or volume (with no other cause), this can be an early PD symptom.
  4. Stiffness or difficulty moving – one of the early signs that something may be going on is a new stiffness with movements. Noticing that your arms don’t swing the same way they used to may indicate that something is going on.
  5. Digestive issues – A myriad of things, including diet, medications, and other conditions, can cause digestive problems. However, new and ongoing constipation and a feeling of being full even after eating small meals can be an early indicator of Parkinson’s Disease.
  6. Changes in handwriting (micrographia) – This may seem like an odd symptom. Still, if you notice that your writing has become smaller or crowded together, it may be an early sign of Parkinson’s Disease.
  7. Lack of facial expression (facial masking) – This one may be pointed out to you by others. Others may tell you that your face is “serious” or that you look like you’re in a bad mood. It’s important to note that some medications can cause this. However, if you’re experiencing new facial masking with no known cause, it is worth speaking with your doctor.
  8. Stooping or hunching over – this is a symptom that is commonly associated with PD. If you’ve noticed a difference in your posture, it may be an early symptom of Parkinson’s Disease.

If you’re experiencing some of these symptoms, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should expect to live with Parkinson’s later in life.

Most of the above symptoms can be due to other conditions, lifestyle habits, and certain medications. If you are noticing some changes in these areas of your life and there doesn’t seem to be an apparent reason why it can be a cause for concern. Fortunately, there is information about managing the symptoms and even slow the progression of Parkinson’s Disease.

It’s common knowledge that diet and exercise are crucial to health and good quality of life. This is particularly true with this disease. Staying active with regular exercise has been shown to slow the progression of PD. Most of us are aware that exercise is beneficial for the physical detriments caused by Parkinson’s (muscle weakness, stiffness, falls).

Studies done have shown that exercise works on a neurologic level as well.

Regular exercise won’t replace or repair degenerating neurons. It can, however, encourage the brain to use what dopamine it does produce more productively. The human brain is always adapting and evolving as it needs to function most efficiently. This adaptive behavior is called neuroplasticity. When observed in Parkinson’s patients, researchers theorize that the neuroplasticity benefits gained through regular physical activity outweigh the disease’s degenerative effects.

If you do find yourself exhibiting any of the early symptoms of PD, it’s important to remember that you do have a measure of control.

First, speak with your doctor about your concerns. They will help you determine if Parkinson’s may impact you personally in the future. If this is the case, do what you can now. Maintain a healthy diet that’s rich in lean protein, whole foods, and fiber. Stay hydrated. Generally, it would be best if you drank half your body weight in ounces of water each day. If you don’t already have one, start a regular exercise routine, and be consistent with it. And do what you can to mitigate and address the stress you have in your life.A Place At Home has compassionate and professional caregivers available 24 hours a day. If Parkinson’s is impacting your life, contact your local A Place At Home office. We are honored to help.

Tips for Seniors Living With Diabetes

Diabetes is a great health concern in America which is why November is National Diabetes Month, a time to bring attention to the disease. According to the Center for Disease Control, over 30 million Americans suffer from diabetes, with 25% of these patients being 65 years or older. Fortunately, seniors living with diabetes can manage the disease. The best approach to combating diabetes is understanding what it is, how to prevent it, and how to treat it.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition characterized by high blood glucose levels brought about because the body does not properly process food into energy, and as a result, your blood sugar levels become too high.

The body’s glucose levels are controlled by a hormone called insulin. The pancreas produces insulin. In the case of type 1 diabetes, the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin. Patients suffering from type 1 diabetes are given insulin injections. Approximately 5% of adult diabetes cases are type 1.

Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes

  • Significant loss of weight
  • A deep hunger
  • Urinating frequently
  • Fatigue
  • Unusual thirst

In Type 2 diabetes, the pancreas either cannot make enough insulin or cannot effectively use what it produces. Type 2 diabetes occurs among people over the age of 40 years. About 95% of adult diabetes cases are type 2.

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

  • Slow-healing wounds
  • Depression
  • Numbness in your feet or hands
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion
  • Any Diabetes Type 1 Symptoms

Causes and Complications of Diabetes

Studies have linked diabetes to genetics, lifestyle, and aging. The major risk factors for seniors living with diabetes are being overweight and living a sedentary lifestyle. Diabetes is also inherited. All of these risk factors affect people differently.

If not well managed, diabetes can cause serious health conditions. These complications may include:

  • Vision problems
  • Thinning arteries
  • Heart disease
  • Foot complications
  • Kidney problems

Another severe consequence attributed to diabetes is hearing loss. The National Institutes of Health states that hearing loss is common among adults suffering from diabetes compared to those without the condition. Research has linked diabetes with the destruction of the blood vessels and nerves in the inner ear.

Physical Activity and Controlling Diabetes

Suffering from diabetes is not a hindrance to one’s physical activity. Walking 20-30 minutes at least three times a week is enough to improve your body’s utilization of glucose. Additionally, exercise improves cholesterol and blood pressure, burns calories, relieves stress, lowers the risk of stroke and heart disease, and increases your flexibility and strength.

Here are some tips you should practice during an exercise session and always consult a doctor before you engage in any tedious exercise program:

  • Check your glucose levels. Make sure it does not go beyond 300mg/dL. Check these levels before, during, and after engaging in physical activity
  • Eat a snack or fruit, or drink some juice or milk if your glucose levels are under 100mg/d
  • Carry snacks when going for exercises

In some cases, exercise and diet are not sufficient to control diabetes. Oral medication may be required to boost your levels of insulin or assist your body’s potential to use insulin. Also, as you grow older, your body synthesizes less insulin. Therefore, regardless of what drugs you consume, your diet, or how much physical activity you engage in, you may still require insulin injections.

Food Tips For Seniors Living With Diabetes

The American Association of Diabetes recommends the following food tips for adults who are above 55 years old:

  • Substitute fries with fruits and vegetables
  • Start your meals with a salad or broth-based soup
  • Stay away from buffets
  • Eat light desserts
  • Practice the Diabetes Plate Method
  • Use dressings and sauces on the side

Summing it up

The American Association of Diabetes vouches for the following tips for seniors with diabetes:

  • Eat the right foods at the right rations
  • Engage in physical activity
  • Monitor your blood glucose levels
  • Take any prescription given by your doctor
  • Avoid cigarette smoking
  • Gather as much information as you can regarding diabetes

We’re Here to Help

For seniors living with diabetes, and their loved ones, A Place At Home provides customized in-home senior care options. Your health depends on you. If you need additional help contact A Place At Home today!

Veterans Benefits: Paying for Senior Care

When Mom or Dad reach retirement age and are in need of ongoing assisted living services from professional caretakers, it can sometimes be difficult to find the best way to pay for it. But for many seniors who are also veterans, spouses of veterans, or surviving spouses of veterans, the VA’s Aid & Attendance pension benefit can bridge the financial gap to make this kind of care more affordable.

Even though around one out of every four US seniors would likely qualify for the Aid & Assistance program, only around one in seven who qualify have actually claimed their benefits. There are two main reasons for this shortfall: lack of awareness that the program exists and being intimidated by the long, complex application process.

Who Can Qualify For The VA Aid & Assistance Program

Not all seniors or even all veterans can qualify for Aid & Assistance, but many do, and since the benefit is often around $2,000 per month, it’s well worthwhile to find out if you qualify.

To be eligible, all of the following must be true of the applicant:

  • Was honorably discharged from military service.
  • Served 90 or more days of continuous active duty, including at least one day during a time of war.
  • Meets the “countable family income” limits. This is the total monthly/annual income minus unreimbursed medical expenses and certain public benefit payments.
  • Has a medically documented need for assisted daily living, such as help eating, bathing, or getting dressed.
  • Any of the following are also true of the applicant: is 65 or older, is totally/permanently disabled, is currently a patient in a nursing home, or is currently receiving SSDI or SSI benefits.

The VA will also take account of the applicant’s total net worth. There is no specific rule here – it goes on a case-by-case basis. A home, car, and basic assets are not counted, but a high total asset value on non-essentials could bar approval for the program.

Navigating The Application Process

On average, it takes nine months from start to finish to gather all necessary documents, fill out all forms, apply, and finally, receive approval for Aid & Attendance benefits from the VA. The total list of necessary documentation is quite long, including such papers as veteran discharge originals, proof of assets and income, a physician’s note detailing what type of care the applicant needs, or the marriage certificate for a veteran’s spouse seeking benefits.

However, this process is well worth it if you ultimately get approved. Monthly benefits for single veterans has a maximum of $1,830 currently, while for a veteran plus his/her spouse, the maximum is $2,170 per month. Plus, you get reimbursed retroactively for the months you spent waiting for your application to be approved.

Also note that, if a veteran is approved for Aid & Attendance and then passes away, the application process for his surviving spouse is much shorter – around three months on average.

Let Us Help You

To learn more about the VA Aid & Assistance program, to find out if you or your loved one qualify, or for help and advice on wading through the application process, do not hesitate to contact A Place at Home today! We have in-depth knowledge of this program and of other possible means of securing financial assistance for veterans or for others in need of assisted living care.

8 Ways to Help a Loved One With Alzheimer’s

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can unveil a roller coaster of emotions – with heartbreak and frustration among the lot. It’s difficult seeing our loved one’s health disintegrating, and the transition from child to caregiver is never an easy one.

In light of World Alzheimer’s Day, we have outlined a few helpful tips for helping a loved one with Alzheimer’s age with dignity while maintaining your peace of mind.

Be Aware of Common Cognitive Symptoms

According to the U.S. Alzheimer’s Association, some of the most common cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include:

  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  • Challenges with planning or problem solving
  • Confusion with time or place
  • Trouble understanding images and spatial relationships
  • Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
  • Decreased or poor judgment
  • Withdrawal from work or social activities
  • Changes in mood and personality

Be Empathetic & Remain Calm

When your loved one exhibits cognitive symptoms, it’s important to remain patient, calm and empathetic. Understand that the reality people with dementia experience is caused by damage to the brain; they cannot help how they think or behave. You can help maintain their dignity and respect during this difficult time.

Validate Their Experience & Acknowledge Their Emotions

Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia’s may cause your loved one to believe they are in a situation that you know is not real. There is no value in arguing with them or denying their experience. Try to change their focus to another topic or “go along” with what they are saying. Be present in their reality, validate their experience, and acknowledge their real emotions.

Give Out Compliments

We all enjoy being complimented. Telling your loved one she looks beautiful in her favorite outfit brings joy, supports dignity and builds self-esteem. In addition, complimenting past accomplishments can help her feel important and valued.

Ask Them for Their Opinion

As people get older, they often feel they have lost their significance. Reassure your loved one he is valued and his opinions matter. Ask what he thinks and feels about things. For example, ask your dad if he likes a certain type of food or if he likes the new landscaping in the park.

Let Them Help You

As the disease progresses, your loved one will be unable to complete some tasks. Allow her to do as much as she can while she is still able. Asking her to help you complete a task or make a decision about what clothes to wear can help build self-esteem and maintain her dignity.

Set Them Up for Success

Minimize future cognitive symptoms by planning ahead and being proactive. For example, if your loved one experiences challenges with times and places, you could use a calendar or notes to help him keep track of upcoming events.

Track Symptoms

When you notice your loved one’s cognitive symptoms are progressing, it’s important to take note of what you observe, write it down, and report the symptoms to your loved one’s doctor. Keeping track of symptoms may also help you identify what triggers a particular symptom and ways to minimize it. However, if you find a technique to minimize a symptom, keep in mind that it may not work every time.


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