April is Stress Awareness Month: Stress and Seniors

OCA_StressAwarenessMonthApril is Stress Awareness Month, designed to promote public awareness of what stress is, what causes it to occur and what can be done about it. It’s a month long focus on the dangers of stress, successful coping strategies and the myths that are prevalent in our society.

While everyone experiences some levels of stress, for seniors, stress has the potential to be overwhelming.  Along with contributing factors such as the loss of a spouse or friends, living alone can increase the sense of isolation.  The effects of stress can sometimes exacerbate health conditions from which some seniors suffer, causing additional worry.  So, how can you tell if your older loved one is showing signs of suffering from stress?

5 Common Signs of Stress in Seniors

  1. Changes in eating habits, such as over-eating or loss of appetite, can be caused by overwhelming stress.
  2. Mood swings due to stress may present in increased irritability, general sadness or depression.
  3. Seniors experiencing overwhelming stress often isolate themselves from others, refusing to socialize or participate in activities they used to enjoy.
  4. Physical signs of stress can include body aches and pains or increased episodes of illness.  Changes in sleeping patterns – either trouble falling asleep or interrupted nighttime sleep.
  5. Memory issues may arise in the form of increased forgetfulness of names, places or other things that normally come naturally.  Lack of concentration my become a problem.  some seniors may exercise poor judgment such as excessive spending when they are already on a limited budget.

Tips for Alleviating Stress

The good news is that seniors can benefit from these stress-reduction activities.

  • Do some physical activity. Exercises like yoga, tai chi, exercises designed for seniors, or simply walking can alleviate the effects stress can cause.
  • Meditation can also be beneficial. Simply taking time to collect your thoughts will often lead to increased energy and stamina and alleviate worry.
  • Healthy eating and getting enough sleep are good stress-busters, too. Cells are regenerated and harmful invaders (like cancer cells) are destroyed while we sleep and leaves us feeling thoroughly de-stressed and rejuvenated.
  • Get a pet. It may be a dog, a cat, a parakeet — or any other pet. Surprised? Science shows that the unconditional love pets exhibit helps us to naturally de-stress with powerful effects on lowering our blood pressure.
  • Find a new purpose. If work was your life, it’s time to find something new to focus on. Volunteer, sign up for classes, or pursue a hobby you never had time for.
  • Socialize.  Get in touch with an old friend, join a bridge club or local senior citizens center, do volunteer work, etc. Socialization offers a chance to clear the mind of daily responsibilities.
  • Seek professional help.  Many communities have special services to help with the needs of the elderly, including services directed at the causes of stress and seniors’ needs.  Check with your state, city, or county Department of Health or local non-profit organizations.

Sources: Chiff.com, LoveToKnow Seniors, Comfort Keepers

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One Call Alert enables independent living at home for seniors and others with 24/7 medical alert monitoring. One Call Alert is simple to use and reliable. Our No-Installation-Needed system delivers emergency care with just one push of a button. Whether you had a minor slip in your kitchen or you are having a medical emergency, One Call Alert will be there for you.

TODAY IS IS AMERICAN DIABETES ASSOCIATION ALERT DAY®

The following is a re-post from our partner American Medical ID dated Feb. 27, 2014.  Click here to read the original post.

1966903_10152032890619033_316741511_nThe fourth Tuesday of March has been declared as American Diabetes Association Alert Day®, a one-day “wake-up call” asking the American public to take the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. This year, it takes place on Tuesday, March 25th.   Although Alert Day is a one-day event, the Diabetes Risk Test is available year-round.  For every test taken between March 25th through April 25th, Boar’s Head Brand® – a leading provider of premium delicatessen products – will donate $5 to the American Diabetes Association, up to $50,000.

The theme for the 26th Annual American Diabetes Association Alert Day is “Take it.  Share it.  Step Out.”  The public is encouraged to take the risk test and share it, and also to start living a healthy and active lifestyle.  One way to do this is by joining one of the Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes® events nationwide. Step Out events happen mainly in October, but what better way to get active now than by gearing up for a walk event.

Why is this important?

Diabetes is a serious disease that strikes over 25 million children and adults in the United States, and a quarter of them do not even know they have it.  An additional 79 million, or one in three American adults, have prediabetes, which puts them at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes.  Unfortunately, diagnosis often comes seven to 10 years after the onset of the disease, after disabling and even
deadly complications have had time to develop. Therefore, early diagnosis is critical to successful treatment and delaying or preventing some of its complications such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke,
amputation and death.

The American Diabetes Association has made a strong commitment to primary prevention of type 2 diabetes by increasing awareness of prediabetes and actively engaging individuals in preventative behaviors like weight loss, physical
activity and healthful eating.  Alert Day is a singular moment in time in which we can raise awareness and prompt action among the general public – particularly those at risk.

What is the Diabetes Risk Test?

The Diabetes Risk Test asks users to answer simple questions about weight, age, family history and other potential risk factors for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Preventive tips are provided for everyone who takes the test, including encouraging those at high risk to talk with their health care provider.

The risk test is available on the American Diabetes Association website. Click here to begin the test online, or you can download and print out a pdf version.

You can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. Stay at a healthy weight, eat well and be active. With these steps, you can stay healthier longer and lower your risk of diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association recommends all persons with diabetes have a medical ID with you at all times.  Medical IDs are usually worn as a bracelet or a necklace. Traditional IDs are etched with basic, key health information about the person, and some IDs now include compact USB drives that can carry a person’s full medical record for use in an emergency.

Source: American Diabetes Association

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One Call Alert enables independent living at home for seniors and others with 24/7 medical alert monitoring. One Call Alert is simple to use and reliable. Our No-Installation-Needed system delivers emergency care with just one push of a button. Whether you had a minor slip in your kitchen or you are having a medical emergency, One Call Alert will be there for you.

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the US.

awareness-month-logoMarch has become a rallying point for the colon cancer community where thousands of patients, survivors, caregivers and advocates throughout the country join together to spread colon cancer awareness by wearing blue, holding fundraising and education events, talking to friends and family about screening and so much more.

Why? Because colon cancer is often preventable and it is 90% curable if it is detected in its early stages.

Dr. Neil Price, gastroenterologist with Nashville Medical Group at Baptist Hospital, has five tips and facts for early detection and treatment.

5 Tips for Early Detection and Treatment of Colon Cancer

  1. Typical symptoms include a change in bowel habits, rectal bleeding and abdominal pain.
  2. Risk factors for developing colon cancer include age over 50, a family history of colon cancer and a history of ulcerative colitis. Other factors which appear to increase risk are smoking, obesity and diabetes.
  3. Almost all colon cancers develop from colon polyps. Tests such as colonoscopy that allow for the detection and removal of polyps can reduce the risk of developing colon cancer by almost 60 percent.
  4. Lifestyle factors, like having a high fiber, low fat diet, may reduce the risk of colon cancer.  Use of aspirin and non-steroidal medications such as ibuprofen also appear to reduce risk of polyp and colon cancer development.
  5. Current recommendations are to begin screening for colon cancer at age 50 by colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy and/or testing stool for blood annually.

For more information, visit the Colon Cancer Alliance website at http://www.ccalliance.org/

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One Call Alert enables independent living at home for seniors and others with 24/7 medical alert monitoring. One Call Alert is simple to use and reliable. Our No-Installation-Needed system delivers emergency care with just one push of a button. Whether you had a minor slip in your kitchen or you are having a medical emergency, One Call Alert will be there for you.

March is Red Cross Month – How You Can Help

Re-posted from the American Medical ID blog dated March 18, 2014.

AMID_RedCrossMonth halfMarch is American Red Cross Month.  The American Red Cross is a humanitarian organization that provides emergency assistance, disaster relief and education inside the United States. It is the designated U.S. affiliate of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Today, in addition to domestic disaster relief, the American Red Cross offers services in five other areas: community services that help the needy; communications services and comfort for military members and their family members; the collection, processing and distribution of blood and blood products; educational programs on preparedness, health, and safety; and international relief and development programs.

The American Red Cross is a nationwide network of more than 650 chapters and 36 blood services regions dedicated to saving lives and helping people prepare for and respond to medical emergencies.

Approximately 500,000 Red Cross volunteers, including Femacorps and Americorps members, and 30,000 employees annually mobilize relief to people affected by more than 67,000 disasters, train almost 12 million people in necessary medical skills and exchange more than a million emergency messages for U.S. military service personnel and their family members. The Red Cross is the largest supplier of blood and blood products to more than 3,000 hospitals nationally and also assists victims of international disasters and conflicts at locations worldwide.

As a nationwide non-profit with a rich history spanning more than 130 years, the Red Cross depends on the generous contributions of time, blood and money from the American public to support its lifesaving services and programs.

Here are ways you can help:

Donate

  1. Online – Visit RedCross.org & donate once or set up a monthly donation.
  2. Text – Text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10
  3. Call – To donate by phone via credit card, call 1-800-733-2767
  4. Corporate Support – Purchase products and support programs that benefit disaster relief or other important services.
  5. Mail – Please make checks payable to American Red Cross and send to: American Red Cross, PO Box 4002018, Des Moines, IA 50340-2018

Non-Monetary

  1. Airline Miles – You can put your unused miles to work for the Red Cross through the generosity of several major airlines
  2. Credit Card Points – Many card members can redeem points and donate them to the American Red Cross for cash donations
  3. Hotel Points – Donated points assist in providing temporary shelter for those displaced from their homes during disasters.

Give Blood

The need for blood is constant and your contribution is important for a healthy and reliable blood supply.  Donate today, you’ll feel good knowing you’ve helped change a life!

Volunteer

Every single day, the American Red Cross helps people in emergencies.  Whether it’s one displaced family, thousands of disaster victims, or providing care and comfort to an ill or injured service member or veteran, or support to a military family member, their vital work is made possible by people like you.  It is through the time and care of ordinary people that they can do extraordinary things.

In many Emergency Reference Guides, from Babysitter’s Guides to Wilderness and Remote First Aid, the Red Cross reminds people to look for a medical ID bracelet or necklace when providing emergency care.  A medical ID provides important information about a person’s condition, medications, and allergies.

To learn more, visit http://www.redcross.org

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One Call Alert enables independent living at home for seniors and others with 24/7 medical alert monitoring. One Call Alert is simple to use and reliable. Our No-Installation-Needed system delivers emergency care with just one push of a button. Whether you had a minor slip in your kitchen or you are having a medical emergency, One Call Alert will be there for you.

Seniors: The Importance of a Personal Support Network – Tips from the American Red Cross

Each year, the president of the United States proclaims March “American Red Cross Month”.  The Red Cross was founded in 1881 by Clara Barton, a Civil War nurse who risked her life to aid the wounded, raise spirits, and deliver dearly needed medical supplies.  Since that time, the Red Cross has been a consistent lifeline for people when they’re needed most.  They provide disaster relief, support for military families, lifesaving blood, international services, health and safety education & training.  The following is an excerpt from one such training for seniors, the importance of a personal support network.  Click here for the complete article.

The Importance of a Personal Support Network

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Photo credit: American Red Cross

The American Red Cross recommends that senior citizens create a personal support network made up of several individuals who will check in on you in an emergency, to ensure your wellness and to give assistance if needed. This network can consist of friends, roommates, family members, relatives, personal attendants, co-workers and neighbors. Ideally, a minimum of three people can be identified at each location where you regularly spend time, for example at work, home, school or volunteer site.

There are seven important items to discuss and implement with a personal support network:

  1. Make arrangements, prior to an emergency, for your support network to immediately check on you after a disaster and, if needed, offer assistance.
  2. Exchange important keys.
  3. Show them where you keep emergency supplies.
  4. Share copies of your relevant emergency documents, evacuation plans and emergency health information card.
  5. Agree on and practice methods for contacting each other in an emergency. Do not count on the telephones working.
  6. You and your personal support network should always notify each other when you are going out of town and when you will return.
  7. The relationship should be mutual. You have a lot to contribute! Learn about each other’s needs and how to help each other in an emergency. You might take responsibility for food supplies and preparation, organizing neighborhood watch meetings and interpreting, among other things.

 One Call Alert enables independent living at home for seniors and others with 24/7 medical alert monitoring. One Call Alert is simple to use and reliable. Our No-Installation-Needed system delivers emergency care with just one push of a button. Whether you had a minor slip in your kitchen or you are having a medical emergency, One Call Alert will be there for you.

7 Tips to Spring Cleaning a Senior Loved One’s Home

SeniorCaregiverWhy is spring the time of year we take a step back and do a thorough cleaning of the house? Well, I am glad you asked! A not so long time ago, dark colored grime and soot would build up over the winter months from using candles, kerosene lamps and wood or coal burning stoves. So each spring, as the days started getting longer and the temperature started getting warmer, it was time to scrub every surface and launder everything made of fabric. You opened up your windows and doors to let the winter out and you breathed in the fresh scent of spring.

Even with the modern conveniences electricity and technology have brought us spring cleaning remains a long held tradition for many families. Sure, the chores have changed and it might be more about emptying out the garage and painting a few walls, but spring is still a time to focus on cleaning and home improvements.

If you are a caregiver, it may also be time to focus on your senior loved one’s home. Is it cluttered? Is a deep cleaning in order? Are repairs necessary?

Here are seven tips to help get you started:

1. The All Important To-Do List. Write down everything you and your senior loved one would like to get done. Tasks may include yard work, fresh coats of paint, deep cleaning, and more.                                            

Tasks to include that will reduce senior safety hazards:

  • Sort and clean out the medicine cabinet. Make sure all expired drugs have been removed.
  • Go through the kitchen cabinets, refrigerator, and freezer to remove all expired or rotten food.
  • Replace light bulbs where needed and ensure that the bulb offers enough light.
  • Replace batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Check all electrical outlets in each room to be sure they’re covered by a plastic plate, working, and not damaged or loose.  Put your hand on the wall around each outlet to check for warmth, look for flickering lights and sniff for strange smells. If you ever see sparks or smoke, call an electrician immediately.
  • Clear clutter away from all walkways in and out of the home.
  • Throw rugs, low furniture, and other seemingly normal furniture may be tripping hazards, user your judgment and remove whatever isn’t necessary.
  • Install grab bars in the bathroom for ease of use with the toilet and bath.
  • Test the medical alert system in every room of the house and make sure all emergency contact information is accurate.

2. Put it on the calendar and follow through with it. Make sure to block off an appropriate amount of time in your schedule for the tasks you want to get done. Whether you make is a full weekend of work or split it up into chunks of time over a few weeks, it is important to stick to your schedule. Don’t let it drag on week after week, just get it done.

3. Create a budget and stick to it. Just like any home repair, spring cleaning has costs associated to it and they may spiral out of control if you are not careful. Make sure you know what the fees are for local dumping and check rates on the delivery of a dumpster if one is needed. You will need cleaning supplies, bags for garbage and donations, painting supplies, and more. It is always best to understand the costs ahead of time and work them out with your senior loved one and your co-caregivers.

4. More hands make for faster work. Invite other members of the family local friends to come and help out. The more people that can help the more you can get done and the better life you will help to provide for your loved one. If you can’t convince family members to lend a hand, try hiring some local neighborhood kids to help.

5. Make your senior loved one feel useful. If you keep your loved one engaged and feeling useful, no matter what the limitations might be, you will get more done. If your loved one has a difficult time lifting things or just getting around the house, provide them with sedentary tasks that are also very useful such as sorting, polishing, and filing. If there are big decisions to be made about throwing something out or a significant home repair, make sure to consult your loved one first.

6. Focus big picture first. Instead of deep cleaning a small part of the home or planting new shrubs first, focus on the big picture stuff like getting the clutter out and making sure the home is safe. Many seniors who have accumulated a lifetime of belongings often have so much stuff that it clutters the house and make it difficult to clean. Don’t just dust around the piles, manage the problem first. Look at storage options for everything that your loved one wants to keep. Don’t just throw things out; handle the clutter in a diplomatic and straight forward manner.

7. It’s not just about cleaning. Take this time to help figure out how to make sure the home stays clean and safe. If you discover your loved one has piles of unpaid bills, expired food in the pantry or hasn’t been cleaning up after the pets, it is probably time for some extra help around the house and added weekly visits.

One Call Alert enables independent living at home for seniors and others with 24/7 medical alert monitoring. One Call Alert is simple to use and reliable. Our No-Installation-Needed system delivers emergency care with just one push of a button. Whether you had a minor slip in your kitchen or you are having a medical emergency, One Call Alert will be there for you.

One Call Alert to Launch Portal Providing Information to Senior Caregivers

The following information was announced in a press release dated February 28th, 2014.  Click here for the complete press release.

HomeRepairFraudA leader in the senior care community, One Call Alert will provide republishing access to helpful tips, original articles, and other information relevant to the senior caregivers.

One Call Alert, a national medical alert service provider, announced the March launch of the Senior Caregiver Resource Portal.  The new portal on OneCallAlert.com will bring information and resources together from a variety of diverse contributors in a uniform way.

The Senior Caregiver Resource Portal will provide articles on a variety of topics focusing on senior care, independent living, medical alert systems, senior safety, and peace of mind. Information will be made available through written articles, pictures, infographics, and video that can be published on websites and blogs across the internet or be downloaded for email and print.

“We think this is an excellent way for us to make available what we have learned through our years of experience in working with family and senior caregivers and their loved ones. We’ve talked to a lot of great people and many have excellent tips to share,” said Justin Noland, One Call Alert brand manager. “Having all of this wonderful information in one place will be great for those who have just started to take care of a senior loved one and for those looking to provide relevant information to their own readers. Making this content ready for reuse provides added value and really helps solidify One Call Alert as the thought leader in our industry.”

The portal will launch March 17th and will include a content submission function. This function will allow bloggers, in-home care and senior care professionals, non-profit organizations, and others to submit an article or request One Call Alert’s staff of writers to cover a specific topic.

The mission of One Call Alert is to enhance the lives of their clients by providing a service that delivers the security and peace of mind necessary to live independently. With the launch of the Senior Caregiver Resource Portal, One Call Alert forwards this mission by making helpful information readily available to seniors, their loved ones, and caregivers.

One Call Alert enables independent living at home for seniors and others with 24/7 medical alert monitoring. One Call Alert is simple to use and reliable. Our No-Installation-Needed system delivers emergency care with just one push of a button. Whether you had a minor slip in your kitchen or you are having a medical emergency, One Call Alert will be there for you.

 

Heart Health Tips for Caregivers

HeartHealthOne Call Alert brand manager, Justin Noland, has written an informative guest blog recently posted by LivHOME.com/ entitled “Heart Health Tips for Caregivers“.  In his blog, Justin explains that throughout the month of February, which is American Heart Month, there are a number of articles across the web talking about heart health for seniors, heart health for women, heart health for men, and more.  What’s missing are articles dedicated to talking about heart health for caregivers.  With that in mind, Justin offers 11 things that every caregiver should do to take care of themselves. Click here to read the blog post.

LivHOME is one of the nation’s largest professionally led at-home senior care companies. The additional level of care and oversight their unique system of Care Managers providers is an important reason. But there are more:

  • Their employment standards are equal to, or better than, the highest in the nation.
  • Top geriatric professionals serve on their advisory boards in every market they serve.
  • Their management and staff are recognized experts in senior care and are constantly called upon to speak and be interviewed on senior issues.

LivHOME currently has branches in major markets across the country.

Big thanks to LivHome.com for publishing this helpful information!

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One Call Alert is the leading medical alert monitoring company in the industry, serving customers though the highest quality customer service and professional emergency care.  Whether paramedics need to be summoned or a neighbor needs to come over and give a hand, with just the push a button, One Call Alert provides instant access to the right care for the situation. 

Improve Your Balance to Avoid Falls

The following tips, charts, and exercises are excerpted from a great article by Angela Chen in the Wall Street Journal, published Feb. 24, 2014. For the complete article, click here.

Unless they’ve fallen, most people don’t realize that they may have a problem with balance.  Long before you are aware that balance is an issue for you, there are often subtle signs that stability is starting to go.  For example, do you rely on handrails when going up or down stairs, or have to sit down when putting on shoes or stepping into pants?  Other good ways to gauge include  the need to lean on armrests when getting out of a chair or feeling wobbly while standing with feet very close together.

While balance problems don’t usually appear before people are in their 50′s, the best time to start improving balance with simple exercises in when you’re in your 30′s and 40′s.  In the U.S., falls are the leading cause of injury for people over 65, and many could be prevented with strengthened balance.

how steady are you

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 Balance-Boosting Exercises

  • Walk in a circle or oval. Make the circle or oval smaller and smaller so the curve becomes tighter.
  • Stand on one leg (hold on to a counter if you need to) and do leg lifts to the front, side, back, and up like you’re marching. This exercises four groups of muscles in your hips, which are important to preserving balance.
  • Get up from your chair 10 times in a row without leaning on arm rests. Alternate between your feet in wide stance and close together. Make it more difficult by closing your eyes.
  • Put five cones (or other objects) in a straight line and weave between them.
  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Put your right foot in front of your left, and shift your weight onto your right foot so that the left heel is off the ground. Do this 10 times. Repeat with left foot in front of the right foot. Variations: Do the exercise alternating feet or stepping backward or with your eyes closed.

 Other Exercises:

  • At home, create an unstable surface by using either a Bosu ball or a couple of thick pillows. Stand on top of the ball or pillows and balance on one leg while swinging the other leg back and forth. Then switch legs and repeat. (If standing on a Bosu ball or pillows feels too challenging, try sitting on the ball with your legs straight in front of you and shift your weight from side to side.)
  • Stand and lift your right arm straight out in front of you while swinging your left leg back and forth, and vice versa, to work on coordination. Then try it with your eyes closed to help decrease your reliance on vision for balance.
  • Strengthening the hips—an important component of preserving balance—can be done next to the kitchen counter. Hold on to the counter while standing on one leg and lift the other leg to the front, then the side, then back and then up with your knee bent like you’re marching. This works four separate groups of muscles in the hips: the hip abductors, hip adductors, hip extensions and hip flexors. (These muscles can also be strengthened by using the hip abductor and adductor weight machines at the gym.)
  • For office workers, simply getting up from a chair 10 times in a row can be useful. Alternate between getting up with your feet in wide stance, which provides more support, and getting up with a narrow stance with your feet touching.

One Call Alert is the leading medical alert monitoring company in the industry, serving customers though the highest quality customer service and professional emergency care.  Whether paramedics need to be summoned or a neighbor needs to come over and give a hand, with just the push a button, One Call Alert provides instant access to the right care for the situation. 

For Those in Independent Living, a Medical Alert System Can Help

One Call Alert brand manager, Justin Noland, has written an informative guest blog recently posted by SeniorAdvisor.com entitled “For Those in Independent Living, a Medical Alert System Can Help“.  In his blog, Justin explains how a medical alert system can provide peace of mind for those seniors  who would rather remain living independently, as well as tips for using such a system.   Click here to read the blog post.

imagesSeniorAdvisor.com is the premier consumer ratings and reviews site for senior living communities nationwide. The innovative website provides easy access to the information families need when making a senior living decision, and features trusted reviews and advice from local residents and their loved ones.

Big thanks to SeniorAdvisor.com for publishing this helpful information!