Saturday, January 18, 2014

Guest Post: 5 Places to Look When Seeking Dementia Care for a Loved One

By Ryan Hughes

It is absolutely heart-breaking to see someone you love suffering from dementia. When dementia strikes, everything changes. The one you love may not be able to perform simple tasks any longer or may lose the ability to solve day-to-day problems. Feeling like you’re on an emotional roller coaster is common, with all of the personality changea. Dementia is a disorder that cannot be handled alone. You need to get help. Here are five places to look when seeking dementia care for a loved one.

Begin with the Primary Care Physician
A proper diagnosis is key and it is important to eliminate any other possibilities. Dementia is often misdiagnosed as Alzheimer's disease and vice versa. Reactions to medication, thyroid conditions, and lack of certain vitamins can also cause similar symptoms. A visit to your loved one's physician is important to get a baseline status, health history, and a referral to a specialist. A battery of tests will be performed, including brain imaging and blood tests in order to gather comprehensive information.

Visit One or More Specialists
When dementia is suspected, a specialist will be the next step in order to get the specific care that is needed to deal with your loved one's disorder. Ask the primary care physician to point you in the right direction and do your own research as well. Expect to make the rounds as you visit psychiatrists, psychologists, neurologists, and doctors, who have made dementia their area of expertise.

Seek Online Sources of Assistance
You'll find a host of helpful resources online. The Alzheimer's Association ( has a great deal of information, including the Alzheimer's and Dementia Caregivers Center. There is a help line that is available at all times, as well.

Learn About Lifestyle Modifications
Many steps can be taken at home to assist your loved one who is dealing with dementia. Discover medications that are helpful in improving symptoms, providing your loved one with more clarity and peace of mind. You can also make changes in diet to promote cardiovascular health and brain functioning. Reduce the amount of red meat in the daily diet and include a great deal of fresh produce. Whole grains, fish, and foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for cognitive abilities. Your loved one also needs regular, physical activity to keep the blood circulating and maintain well-being.

Bring in Home Health Care Aides or Seek a Facility
If your loved one can no longer be independent, you can bring home health care aides into the home on a daily basis. However, you may find that moving your loved one to a facility is the best option for round-the-clock care. There are many facilities that specialize in providing care for dementia patients. You can ask the primary care physician and team of specialists for their top recommendations. The Alzheimer's Association and other online sources can assist you in narrowing your search in order to find the best in care for your loved one.

Dealing with dementia in a loved one is truly challenging. Fortunately, resources abound to help you in caring for a dementia patient. Don’t give up. There is always hope... and helping hands.

Methodist Homes ( is a Christian organization providing care, accommodation and support services for persons 70 and older throughout Britain.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Guest Post: Enhancing Senior Health with Yoga

By Shannon Lochwood

Yoga is often practiced by young people looking to maintain their health and improve their overall fitness level, and many older adults aren’t familiar with even the basics of yoga. However, that doesn’t mean that seniors can’t benefit from taking yoga classes or doing yoga on their own.

In fact, yoga has a wide variety of benefits for senior citizens – maybe even more than for younger participants. While certain types of yoga may not be ideal for seniors, there are forms that will be beneficial for seniors of all different levels of health.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock
Improved Flexibility
Decreased flexibility is often a common problem for older adults. While any type of regular exercise like walking, jogging or even playing a sport like tennis or golf can improve flexibility, yoga is one of the best activities to immediately improve flexibility over the entire body.

Increased flexibility will decrease the chance of experiencing a minor or major injury that could result in chronic pain, or worse, a broken or damaged bone.

Yoga may also be able to improve joint flexibility and decrease pain associated with arthritis and other inflammatory conditions like it.

Better Stability
Many injuries that affect seniors aren’t related to serious accidents – they’re related to minor incidents in the home, such as minor falls or simply tripping over something. Practicing yoga on a regular basis can help seniors improve overall stability to avoid those falls that can result in very problematic injuries on the wrong surface.

Sleep Quality
It’s commonly said that seniors need less sleep than their younger counterparts, but many seniors don’t really feel that way. A lot of seniors also feel that they have a particularly hard time falling asleep at night, especially if they’re taking any type of medication that may keep them awake or are experiencing chronic pain related to another condition.

Yoga may help all individuals that feel they have a hard time falling asleep, simply because the movements of gentle types of yoga are often relaxing. Yoga classes also focus on the relaxing aspects of the practice and may even incorporate meditation, which makes many seniors feel more grounded and comfortable after sessions.

If you do take up yoga partly to improve your sleep, consider scheduling classes in the afternoon or evening instead of in the morning or during the day so you’ll be ready for bed within a few hours of your class.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Mental Health
Yoga is known as a relaxing activity, especially if you take classes that incorporate meditation, and for many seniors that suffer from anxiety or depression, doing yoga regularly may help to alleviate or manage the problem.

While some seniors may be hesitant to try yoga with its “new-age” label, others jump at the chance. Seniors that often balk at trying yoga are sometimes the ones that benefit the most, as well.

If the benefits of yoga sound appealing but you’re just not sure about the activity, try to keep an open mind. You may find an activity that you really enjoy once you understand the basics, and. yoga classes can also be another way for seniors to socialize or discover new things in their city. Many major cities such as Los Angeles or Miami have yoga classes just for seniors.

Shannon Lochwood is a freelance writer and has contributed to several health blogs. She loves everything about health, mental and physical and loves to encourage people of all ages to try fun new ways to exercise into their daily routine.