Monthly Archives: March 2012
|March 29, 2012||Posted by Ronni under Prepare for Care|
Preparing for Hip and Knee Replacement Surgery Care
You already know why hip or knee surgery is necessary. You also know how common knee surgery and hip replacements are becoming and how often surgeons preform the procedure every day. But do you know about the recovery? Has your doctor explained what’s needed to safely travel back to the hospital for the check ups, shower or go to the bathroom?
Throughout this series, we will fill you in on everything you’ll need for before and after hip or knee surgery. We’ve pulled information from key professionals and hospitals around the country so you will be prepared for recovery. Hip and knee replacements can be scary; being prepared will ease stress and speed recovery time.
Recovery Starts Before Surgery:
Your doctor or surgeon may have said it a thousand times, but it’s true: recovery for hip or knee surgery starts before even entering the operating room.
The first step to recovery is knowing what’s in store. Be aware of the risks of the surgery as well as the obstacles during recovery. You can find hundreds of slideshows online highlighting “everything” you’ll need to know about what is going to happen during surgery. Watch them. Be as informed as possible; it will greatly reduce any stress or anxiety about the procedure.
Plan out a pain relief method. Whether you or your loved one prefers a doctor-approved medication or choose to supplement a prescription with meditation, plan how to tolerate the pain. This includes practicing breathing techniques, purchasing the right cushions, separating your medication in the right dosage and even which liquid or food with which you will take the medication. After surgery, you’ll thank yourself. You’ll stay calm and collected and the pain will subside quicker. Also, don’t forget to talk to the doctor about medications currently taken that may need to be suspended or stopped all together.
Start strength training legs and hips MONTHS before surgery. Strong muscles heal faster. It’s strange to think that rehabilitation exercises should start up to 8 months prior to surgery, but they really should! Building strong muscles and tendons, will drop recovery time significantly. Some patients who routinely rehabbed prior to the surgery reported they were walking and riding bikes for 50 minutes at a time only four weeks after surgery! Exercise at your level; if you can walk often, bike around the block or use a stationary pedal machine.
Regardless of how much you strength train before, you’ll need assistance moving around in the early stages of recovery. Make sure to practice using a walker or crutches as though it’s post-surgery. Using a mobility assistor is difficult at first, but it will become easier as you become more comfortable with the assistance.
|March 28, 2012||Posted by Elizabeth under Pain Management, Plantar Fasciitis|
‘Tis the season for running and marathons! Caregivers need stress release, and a lot of us get it through running or walking. Now that the weather is starting to cooperate, for some of us, our feet are not.
If you are a runner, or even just a regular walker, you should know what is causing your foot pain. Discomfort or pain in the arch of the foot or heel can often be attributed to plantar fasciitis, one of the most common orthopedic conditions related to the foot.
Plantar fasciitis is most painful in the morning, after a night of sleep where your foot is not supported properly. This can reversed by using a night splint. Pain or stiffness can also flare up after long periods of standing or high impact activities like walking or running.
We have put together some great stretches to help relieve your heel pain. It is also wise to consider some aids like a Mini-Thera Roller, stretching straps, or even just a wall in your house to help you get the best stretch possible.
|March 27, 2012||Posted by Elizabeth under Caregiving, Parkinson's Disease|
There’s something to be said about having everything you need all in one place, especially when you are a caregiver looking for help. We want to provide you with the tools to feel confident when caring for your loved one. As a Parkinson’s care provider, we know you face a long road ahead. Our expert caregivers want to help you make the ride a little bit smoother by providing you with the knowledge you will need to be prepared. With caregiver tips, symptoms to look out for, information on each stage of the condition and what you may need during the journey, you will be equip for whatever may come your way.
Life has turned the page to a new chapter for you and your loved one, and it is understandably overwhelming. There are over 1.5 million people in the United States that are living with Parkinson’s disease. If you or someone in your care is one of those people, despite the numbers, you may still feel alone. Thankfully, you are not.
Approaching Parkinson’s with knowledge, support and proper advice makes all the difference in your caregiving experience. We are here to aid you in your journey, helping you to plan for the road ahead.
What is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive and chronic disease that stems from the brain’s loss of cells in the region that controls movement. Because of this damage, dopamine, the chemical that sends signals to the brain to regulate movement, cannot be produced in the capacity necessary to control body movement. This deficiency of dopamine and loss of brain cells often leads to trouble moving, worsening over time.
Currently, there is no known cause or cure for Parkinson’s, but there is treatment, however, which allows people to live with the disease and continue a good quality of life.
Whether you are unsure if your loved one has Parkinson’s disease, or just want to know what symptoms that they may face, our goal is to help. There are common Parkinson’s indicators that are very typical to the condition and important to understand. At the same time, there are the symptoms that may not be on the medical websites but still require the same understanding and preparation in order to care properly for your loved one. Both are equally as important.
What are the symptoms?
Every person living with Parkinson’s disease experiences symptoms differently. As a caregiver, you can look out for certain indicators to help you better understand how to care for your loved one. Progression of the disease varies, much like its symptoms. Because of this, predicting exactly how your loved one will transition though the different stages can be very difficult.
- Tremor: Shaking of the face and limbs
- Bradykinesia: Slowed movement of the body
- Rigidity: Stiffness of the body
- Postural Instability: Trouble with balance and coordination
Parkinson’s patients experience the disease uniquely, and the same goes for each individual caregiver. Although medical experts have broken Parkinson’s down into stages of development, it’s important to note that your loved one may progress differently from what the experts suggest.
The decreased muscle control often times effects day-to-day living. Because of this, your loved one may experience several different daily challenges, such as:
- Speech Impairment: As facial muscles become impaired, some may experience trouble with their speech, or ability to communicate.
- Depression: Because of the tremendous changes that a person experiences with Parkinson’s, it is important to look out for signs of depression.
- Difficulty Swallowing or Chewing: As muscle control worsens, your loved one may have trouble swallowing or chewing. Be aware of choking and look into different cooking options for your loved one with Parkinson’s.
- Trouble Sleeping: Because of discomfort, the emotional weight of the disease, and other symptoms, regular sleep patterns can be disturbed.
- Urinary Problems: Due to loss of muscle control, incontinence or other urinary troubles may occur.
|March 26, 2012||Posted by Ronni under Caregiving|
Growing up, I tormented my parents with my lack of organization. Whether it was the neatness of my room or the homework assignment I left at home again, I had no desire to organize my life.
When I became an adult, I immediately noticed this ignorance of organization could not continue. I read articles about scheduling time, ways to remember things (like a term paper or that dinner date I planned with a friend) and how not to overbook myself – I got my hands on anything to learn how to stay organized. I even asked friends for advice.
As a caregiver, you may have many of these problems. Don’t let your time get away from you – schedule it. Here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way to make sure I stayed organized, stress-free and on time.
5 Calendar Tips to Keep you Organized to Stay Stress-Free
- Consolidate your calendars. Do you have a calendar on your work computer, refrigerator at home and on your phone? Make it all one. Take advantage of technology these days and sync all your calendars on to one account. This will help you to remember all your commitments without over booking!
- Use color-coding. Do you write cryptic in your calendar, figuring you will remember what you meant when your reminder pops up? But then – you can’t remember if that phone call was with your boss or your mother’s physical therapist. Color-code your calendars so you know exactly which part of your life is happening when. I use blue for personal, green for work and red for family.
- Learn to say no. Remember, you can’t do everything. You may want to make cookies for your daughters Girl Scouts troop meeting, but with your own doctors appointment, visiting your father at the nursing home, picking up the dry cleaning and finishing that big report for work – just getting your daughter to the meeting may be challenge enough. It’s okay to realize you can’t do everything. You’re still a super mom.
- Share the tasks with family. Sometimes asking for help can be the simplest, yet hardest thing to do. Ask your teenage son to pick up dinner on his way home from football practice or ask your spouse to stop by the grocery store after work. Freeing up one task a day can often be the key to a stress free week.
- Write in time for you. Schedule time once a week that’s just for you. Whether it’s a half hour or two hours, make a date with yourself. Treat yourself to a quiet walk in the park or a movie you’ll enjoy. Caring for everyone else can often overshadow the need to continue care for your self.
|March 22, 2012||Posted by Elizabeth under Aging, Health|
When we have to hospitalize our loved one, we do it with the intention of helping them to get healthier. But what if you found out that hospitalizing your parent or elder loved one could result in cognitive decline?
A neurology study out of Chicago revealed unsettling results, showing that older patients who were hospitalized declined mentally 2.4 times faster than those who were not. This realization may not be an easy one for caregivers, since they may not be able to provide the same care as a hospital for their loved one.
Sometimes hospitalization for a caree is unavoidable. The decline in the hospitalized patients, according to the study, seemed to have little to do with the illness or situation that brought them to the hospital. Many health care professionals said that they have noticed this phenomenon before, but there has never been solid study evidence to back it up.
The key is being proactive with your loved one’s primary care doctor and developing a close relationship in order to stay on top of the patient’s health. This will help to keep your caree out of the hospital, whenever possible. Cognitive decline is a great concern among caregivers, and finding safe and healthy ways to avoid hospitalization could help. (As shown on CNN.com)
|March 21, 2012||Posted by Elizabeth under Arthritis|
There are no more excuses to hibernate. Spring is officially here and it’s time to be active! But if you or a loved one is experiencing troubles with arthritis, it may feel like a reason to stay inactive.
There is too much spring-cleaning, gardening, and fun to be had to sit back and let your arthritis take control! We want to help with these tips that will hopefully put some spring in your step.
Pain-Free Gardening: If you are into the art of making flowers bloom, arthritis can be a painful roadblock! Try gardening during the time of day when your joints feel the best. Also, choose low maintenance plants, like perennials instead of annuals, and plant them in easy-to-reach places. Wear gloves to keep your hands warm and provide cushion from your gardening tools, and use a hand or wrist support if needed. Do all of your weeding after a rainfall, making them easier to pull (As shown on mastergardenproducts.com)
Spring Cleaning without the Strain: Spring is always the best time to purge your messes and clean up the house. It can be tough when it hurts to do simple tasks. Don’t go nuts on the first day of spring. Spread out your cleaning over the course of a week, focusing on one room a day, instead of tackling the whole house. Use cleaning tools that make your life easier. Getting on your knees to scrub the kitchen floor is not the answer. Take advantage of easy-clean mops that spray solution as you clean with easy to change pads, so you are not wringing out a mop to irritate your arthritis. If dirt has really taken over a surface, let the cleaning solution sit on the mess for a bit instead of using too much elbow grease.
Cooking Sans Pain: It seems like spring brings more guests to the house, making for more time spent cooking. To take some strain off of your feet, try pulling up a stool in front of the stove so you can sit while you cook. Also, make use of that crockpot! You can throw it all in and be hand-free. By batch cooking, you can make large portions and not have to cook each night to give yourself a break. Lastly, use specialized cooking tools and utensils that take the strain off of your hands and wrists.
Use these tips to enjoy spring to the fullest!
|March 20, 2012||Posted by Elizabeth under Food and Nutrition, Health|
Don’t Let This Year’s Pollen Spike Keep You Inside
Finally, it’s here! Allergy season! Okay, fine. We can be more positive than that. It’s the first day of spring and we couldn’t be more excited, but our sinuses beg to differ. Don’t let the beautiful blooming flowers be something to sneeze at. Spring has sprung and we have some helpful tips from Farmers’ Almanac to keep your allergies under control.
• Apple Cider Vinegar – It may not sound too yummy, but drinking two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar mixed into a glass of water once a day can really make a difference with your allergies. The simple concoction slows the production of the histamines that create allergic reactions.
• Go Local – We always hear how honey eases cold symptoms, but it apparently has more tricks up its sleeve – especially when it’s right from your hometown! Eating local honey can help alleviate allergy symptoms because it is made from the same allergens that are causing your sniffles. It works like a vaccine, helping your body to build antibodies against allergic reactions when taken in small doses.
• Little Bit of Lime – You can flush the toxins out of your system if you squeeze some fresh lime into a glass of warm water with a little honey. It will help your sinuses start the day off right!
• Chamomile Tea, Please! – You may have taken chamomile tea to relax, but it also helps keep those allergies at bay. One to two cups of chamomile tea can help build immunity towards many different allergies.
• A Garlic Boost – Garlic does more than keep those vampires away. It’s another good natural antihistamine that will also boost the flavor of your food!
|March 19, 2012||Posted by Ronni under Fall Management|
By Guest Blogger Pam Niemi, Sales & Customer Care Manager at SilverPlus
Ms. Niemi’s background includes over 16 years in the medical field and health care services. In her current role at SilverPlus, she works directly with seniors, as well as with a number of home care organizations, residential retirement communities, and senior centers.
No one wants to get the call where someone tells you, “Your mother is in the hospital.” But even worse would be finding out that she had lain on the floor for hours before she was found, because she couldn’t reach the phone.
Whether you live next door or thousands of miles away, you worry about your parent(s) and want to make sure they’re safe and able to get help quickly if they have a problem. You decide to use the Internet to research medical alert systems, to find the one that will work best for your parent’s individual situation – only to discover that there are more choices than you ever imagined! So how do you find the system that will give you and your parent the peace of mind that you both deserve?
There are four important factors to consider when choosing a medical alert system. First is the basic concept. Most alert systems consist of a base console that attaches to one’s home phone line, and a watch- or pendant-style device that the user wears. When the button on the device is pressed, it wirelessly contacts the base console, which dials the phone number for a designated monitoring center. The center employee answers the call and follows the protocol that was arranged when the account was set up, be it to call 911, a family member, or ambulance service.
Newer technology has changed that concept considerably, removing the need for a call center. Auto-dialing allows the base console to store the user’s friends’ and family members’ phone numbers, and when the emergency button is pressed, the system dials each of these people, one at a time, until a live person answers.
Next is communication. With traditional alert systems, in order to have two-way communication with the call-center employee, one must be within a certain range of the base console speakerphone, and this varies greatly from system to system. Some companies offer “voice extenders” for their systems that can be placed throughout the home to expand the range.
However, some devices now have built-in speakers and microphones, allowing the user to speak and listen directly from their watch or pendant, so they have two-way communication within 100 feet of the base console. This way, even if one is a distance away from their console or behind a closed door, they can still talk and be heard.
Now let’s talk about cost. For systems that use call centers, one pays a monthly fee for as long as they keep the system in their home. Some companies charge an activation and/or equipment fee, and some require a contract of some length (usually with an early termination fee), so make sure you fully understand what is in the agreement before signing up.
Systems that use auto-dialing simply require that you purchase the equipment. There are no contracts or monthly fees involved. This can make them quite cost-effective, since the price of an auto-dialing system is generally less than one year of service with a call center-type system.
Installation is another factor to consider. If you or your parent is fairly computer-literate, then auto-dialing systems are easy to program and set up. Some companies also offer a set-up service for those who aren’t as comfortable with programming – sometimes at no charge, other times for a nominal fee.
Seniors who don’t feel comfortable with technology and don’t have someone to assist them may prefer a traditional system, as many of these companies include installation service in the initial payment, and have dealers in many locations who will visit the home. Some call centers even check in regularly with the user to make sure the system is working correctly.
On a separate note, there are also some “latest and greatest” features that have recently hit the market. Fall detectors (accelerometers) and GPS-enabled systems that can be used anywhere are now available with some systems. These increase the cost and may or may not be important for your parent’s needs, so discuss them and see if they are “must-haves.” For example, does your parent have a cell phone they always carry when they are out? Have they ever blacked out when they have fallen? Make your decision accordingly.
Don’t let the myriad systems confuse you. Once you compare the key elements of medical alert systems, you should be able to quickly and easily make the right choice.
|March 16, 2012||Posted by Ronni under Health|
With so many Irish and “Irish” floating around our fair city this weekend, we assume green colored alcoholic drinks will be on everyone’s minds – regardless of actual heritage. No matter the poison – it will most likely be green.
You can have fun this St. Patty’s Day without causing too much harm to your waste line, or your liver! We are borrowing a few helpful hints from The Boston Globe today to ensure that all of our festive readers drink healthy and safely this weekend!
5 Ways to Drink Smart this St. Patty’s Day
1. Avoid the sweet drinks garnished with umbrellas and fruit. No, the fruit doesn’t balance out the calorie intake of these drinks. Frozen drinks and drinks made with pre-packaged mix are often overflowing with sugar and fat. Sweet liquors, like Triple Sec and flavored rum and vodka, add on the calories as well.
2. Keep a rough calorie tally. Darker beers traditionally have more calories – lucky for us Irish folk, Guinness is the exception to the rule. The Irish stout tops out at 210 calories per pint – that’s still a dousy if you consider you are going to be drinking more this weekend than on average. Light beer will be a better choice as that will take you into a range more to the tune of 110-170 calories, and you can make it green!! If you’re hooked on cocktails – keep in mind, the more mixers you add in, the higher your calorie count will travel.
3. Go for unsweetened mixers. Skip the high sugar mixers like cranberry cocktail and pineapple juice – stick to seltzer and diet soda. Although it might not be your favorite, it is the better alternative.
4. Pace yourself. St. Patty’s Day is a marathon, not a race. Have non-alcoholic drinks mixed within your alcoholic drinks. This will keep your liver from hating you, your body hydrated and you on your feet! Remember: women cannot drink as much as men. It’s not discriminatory; it’s science. Women “have less of the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase to metabolize alcohol.”
EasierLiving.com hopes that everyone celebrates St. Patty’s Day responsibly – no matter where you are. Remember, do not drink and drive and click it or ticket. Also – the best way to burn these calories and sweat out your hangover the next morning – exercise.
|March 15, 2012||Posted by Elizabeth under Alzheimer's Disease, Caregiving|
As caregivers, we know the hardships that we may face. We see the struggles that our loved ones endure, continually bracing ourselves for what may come next. We hear the stories of other caregivers, and if we’re lucky, we have a tremendous support network to lean on when we need it most.
But as caregivers, do we know the facts? How much money do we spend to care for our loved ones? How many of us are out there, working full time jobs and still moonlight as caregivers? How many hours have caregivers spent dedicating their lives to caring for someone in need?
The Alzheimer’s Association created an incredibly informative and eye opening video on the role of the caregiver broken down into facts and figures.
According to their video, there are over 15 million people in the United States caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia. Those caregivers are also estimated to have given over 17 billion hours of care in 2011, alone, and $210 billion in caregiving costs.