Thursday, December 15, 2016

Guest Post: Holiday Gift Ideas for the Seniors in Your Life

By Daniel Lewis

We love giving gifts to our loved ones, especially around the holidays. Yet, sometimes we don’t really know what to buy them. The variety is endless, and often times we leave for a shopping spree only to come back 4 hours later with nothing. Are you running out of ideas? Do you want to make an impression on a loved one with the coolest gift? Here are some ideas for the older adult on your list. Grandmas and grandpas, prepare to be wowed!

Robot Vacuum Cleaner
We love our older adults because they make our lives merrier. They’ve raised us and they care for us unconditionally. We should do the same. For this holiday season, what do you think of a robot vacuum cleaner? It is an innovative device that cleans the house on its own, and it might really come in handy for senior parents who are no longer able to clean the house every day. Get techy this season and offer your loved one something they can use. Charging is not required as the device can connect by itself to the charging station.

Photo Album
Photo albums never go out of style. We love them because they’re so thoughtful. Invest in a personalized album. Choose some of your best pictures, and below every picture, add a meaningful message. This personalized gift will make your parents and grandparents proud, and show your admiration and appreciation. Make sure to add the time and location to each photo in the album. As they grow older, they might begin to forget details. This is an ideal way to help them stay “present.”

Fluffy House Shoes
Most seniors spend a great deal of their day inside the house. What better time of the year to offer them an amazing pair of fluffy slippers! Choose quality materials for both the inside and outside. Since many older adults have back and leg pains, you might want to purchase them from a specialty retailer that carries an assortment of comfortable and supportive options.

Sleep Therapy Machine
This gift idea might seem a little far-fetched, but consider the benefits… Many older adults suffer from insomnia, so why not something that could really help? A sleep therapy machine might be the best gift you’ve ever given. They can be a bit high-tech, sure. Why not install the device for them and show your mom and dad the features. The best models offer white noise and ways to address sounds that disrupt rest. Your loved ones could very well enjoy the best sleep they’ve had in years.

Shopping Cart
Just because some older adults have mobility issues doesn’t mean they don’t want to get out of the house. Make their trip to the grocery store easier with a cart that includes built-in seating. This way, they can shop to their heart’s content, and if they get tired, can sit down and rest for a few minutes. Due to the large wheels, these carts roll smoothly and can be used to carry plenty of goodies.

Massage Pillow
Since older adults often suffer from age-related illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease or arthritis, it’s up to us to make their lives easier and more comfortable. A massage pillow can help relieve all kinds of physical pain, including joint stiffness, muscle aches and poor blood circulation. The Zyllion massage pillow is an amazing gift for the holidays. It uses Shiatsu massage techniques to relieve tension, making your loved one feel more relaxed and ready to tackle their daily activities.

We love the holiday season because it’s the best time of the year to show our loved ones how much we care. Sometimes we don’t know what to buy… especially when it comes to our aging relatives who simply want to see us more often. Make time to visit around the holidays, especially if they have transitioned to assisted living or nursing facilities. They’ll know that you haven’t forgotten about them, which will help make Christmas merrier for the whole family.

Daniel Lewis writes about health and fitness-related issues. He has a deep knowledge of the field and is a regular contributor to, which focuses on elder care homes and retirement villages in the UK.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Guest Post: How Seniors Can Thrive When Living Alone

By Daniel Lewis

Living alone can be a challenging experience at any age. Although, when you’re in your later years, the concerns increase dramatically. This is primarily because you may be more prone to get sick or have health issues that could worsen without proper care. Here are a few suggestions for living well while living alone.

Living Alone Doesn’t Mean Living a Lonely Life

You may not share your living environment with someone else, but that doesn’t mean you need to feel alone. Maintaining friendships, socializing and discovering new sources of joy are essential for keeping depression and loneliness at bay.

When you take the time to reach out to other seniors living on their own, you might find that they are facing many of the same difficulties you are. You can offer each other some much-needed support and encouragement. Life is much better when we have friends surrounding us and seek common ground with others. What could be better than staying in touch with someone dear, taking time for a visit or lending a hand when it’s time to go to the doctor?

It’s Never Too Late to Make New Friends

Even though you may not have the friends you used to, you can still make new ones. You might find a new friend at a local senior center or even during a visit to the grocery store or doctor’s office. Your local parks department might sponsor summer picnics or organize trips to regional sporting events. Keep an open mind and you just might find the friend that changes your life.

Better yet, the more active you are, the easier it will be to forge new ties and create positive opportunities at every stage of your life. Getting out for walks or enrolling in a senior exercise program at a university, gym or hospital will help keep you looking and feeling better longer.

Ask for Professional Help When Necessary

If you’ve decided to age-in-place, you can still take advantage of professional support in the comfort of your own home. Nowadays, you don’t need to live in a skilled nursing facility to get top quality care. Caregiving and medical specialists are often only a call away if you find you’re no longer feeling your best, either physically or emotionally. Doctors and trained social workers can help you assess your current physical and mental health, as well as establish an individualized treatment plan to get you back on track.

If you find you aren’t able to maintain the quality of life you want while living alone, options abound in every community. You might be surprised to find that a retirement or assisted living center will enable you to live better, surrounded by those who can offer you the support you need. 

Daniel Lewis writes about health and fitness-related issues. He has a deep knowledge of the field and is a regular contributor to, which focuses on elder care homes and retirement villages in the UK.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Guest Post: When Your Loved One Undergoes Radiation

By Targeting Cancer

When a loved one is receiving radiation treatment, your love and support can make all the difference. This type of therapy, which utilizes a high-energy beam to destroy cancer cells, is typically administered on an out-patient basis. Understanding the treatment itself may help you better meet your loved one’s unique needs.

Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer that uses radiation therapy as treatment. Usually, doctors will recommend this after lumpectomy to lower the risk of cancer recurrence. The treatment is given to a patient several weeks after the surgery to allow the body to recover, and can be a supplement to chemotherapy. Since radiation passes through the skin, it is normal for your loved one to experience redness and swollenness of the skin. These side effects are just temporary and should eventually pass in four to six weeks.

Skin Cancer
Skin cancer, while not as common as breast cancer, can affect both men and women and even children. Radiation therapy is one of the effective options to address skin cancer, especially if affected area is large and if surgery is not possible. It is also a good option to those who do not want to undergo surgery. However, this treatment can also be given after the surgery. Side effects of the radiotherapy for skin cancer includes skin irritation and peeling, change in the skin color and hair loss on treated skin areas. This treatment is known to be effective, but with long exposure to radiation therapy, the side effects may get worse.

Lung Cancer
Those who smoke have higher risk of lung cancer and even those who are exposed to smoking passively may also develop the disease.  Lung cancer comes in two types – non-small cell cancers and small cells lung cancer. These two grow and spread in different ways.

It can be treated through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Getting the combination of these treatments is sometimes necessary and advisable to fully remove the cancer cells in the body. Once your loved one undergoes radiation therapy, they might experience sore throat, difficulty in swallowing, cough, chest pain, and hair loss.

Prostate Cancer

Radiation therapy (also known as radical radiotherapy) is widely used to treat prostate cancer. It uses high levels of radiation to eliminate cancer cells. It reduces the growth of the cell while minimizing the damage to the good and healthy cells. This type of treatment is highly effective and considered as less invasive than prostatectomy. However, it comes with several side effects, including long-term bowel issues, and infertility and erection problems.

Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer only affects women and the illness is arising from the cervix. Radiation therapy is one option to treat this type of cancer. It can be done through internal or external therapy. Those who undergo this treatment experienced several side effects, including vaginal bleeding, irritable bladder and genital soreness.

Regardless of the type of cancer, try to help your loved one when and how you can… getting them to appointments, picking up groceries and keeping things orderly. At home, keep him or her hydrated, organize frequent, smaller meals and be prepared to handle bouts of nausea and diarrhea. Mouth soreness is another common problem for those receiving radiation therapy.

If your loved one is having trouble swallowing, consider serving soft, moist foods. You may need to add creams or sauces to foods served to him or her, or make nutrient-rich shakes.  A diet with few spices and low acid will help prevent further irritation. Limiting tomato products and citrus fruits or juices may be necessary. So, too, is avoiding tough cuts of meat, foods that are hard to chew and any alcohol or alcohol-based mouthwashes.

While your loved one has greater energy and protein needs during treatment, foods that are too rich or fatty can exacerbate nausea and diarrhea. If the nausea is chronic, old-fashioned peppermint candies or a few saltine crackers and sips of ginger ale (not diet), can be surprisingly helpful home remedies.

If your loved one is experiencing skin issues, run oatmeal bathes and have soothing moisturizers on hand for applying afterward. Don’t forget to have ice packs and cold compresses at the ready to ease discomfort.

Of course, just being there during the challenges of radiation treatment will make your loved feel more secure and hopeful.

Targeting Cancer, which has multiple treatment centers in Australia, New Zealand and the Tiwi Islands, offers an array of information and resources on cancer and therapeutic options on its website. You can also follow the organization on Facebook.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Guest Post: Coping Techniques to Make Life More Manageable

By Daniel Lewis

Aging parents often need care. They require attention and want to feel part of the community in spite of their challenges. But they don’t want to get in the way of their kids’ lives, and most don’t want anyone to devote all of their time to them. And yet, when aging parents are having trouble managing their own households, it’s usually up to the adult children to lend a hand. Here are a few techniques for caregivers that won’t compromise your current lifestyle and make the whole process a little easier.

Dealing with a Crisis
Few are fully prepared to be a caregiver, especially when it comes to caring for your own parents. It can be difficult to not get overly involved on an emotional level… even impossible. Inevitably, we all must find a way to deal with unpleasant, heartbreaking situations.  It’s never easy to hear that your parent has dementia, or that they can’t walk, hear or see anymore. What you can do, however, is remain calm. Find ways to get through the initial shock and try not to blame yourself. The more clear your thinking, the better the quality of care you can provide.

Ask for Help from Siblings
You are not obliged to be on this journey alone. Caring for an aging parent can be completely overwhelming. Ask for help from your closest siblings, and settle on a plan to help your parent(s) together. Craft a detailed schedule and make time to visit. If you’re facing dementia and your loved one can’t remember even the simplest things, you may have to consider your options for care. Dementia is an incurable disease, and while there’s nothing you can do to stop the onset on the condition, strive to focus on the positive. Gather the family and visit Mom or Dad as often as possible; bring the grandkids and look at family photos together. Spend quality time and enjoy every moment to the fullest.  
Communicating with aging parents is key, especially if you see their need for care increasing. Many seniors don’t want to be a “bother” or they feel strongly about living on their own on their own terms. At a certain point, that’s no longer realistic and has to be discussed. In the meantime, check on your parents periodically and see for yourself if they need anything. Keep the lines of communication open and take time to reminisce about the “good old days.” This will lift their spirits, and you both won’t feel quite so alone.

Make Caregiving Fun (Don’t Let Them See You Struggling)
You may feel like crying when you notice that Mom isn't tracking well, or can’t do certain activities anymore. Better to not let them see you’re struggling, and work to bring some joy into the caregiving. Take your parents out for a walk, offer to help with grocery shopping and find the right moment to talk about getting them more assistance.
We’ve mentioned before that caregiving is never easy. You may not know how to look after an aging parent… and that’s okay. Get informed and ask for assistance from a professional. Or check for tips on helping Mom or Dad live more comfortably in their 70s, 80s and beyond. Physical impairments and dementia can be devastating. Consider ways to help improve their quality of life. For example, the Alzheimer’s Association has a great deal of valuable information for keeping your parent “present” and easing their feelings of sadness and loss.

If you’ve reached the point where aging in place is no longer feasible, you may want to consider a centrally located care center.  Skilled nursing facilities can provide many services not possible in a home setting, and you can visit them whenever you want. They’ll also be surrounded by people of the same age, and have access to activities to keep them engaged. 
Sometimes, being the best caregiver means knowing when to reach out for professional help so your loved one receives all of the care they so need.
Daniel Lewis writes about health and fitness-related issues. He has a deep knowledge of the field and is a regular contributor to, which focuses on elder care homes and retirement villages in the UK.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Guest Post: Are You Prepared for Medical Emergencies?

By Faith Munsell
Slidell Memorial Hospital

Medical emergencies tend to be stressful and traumatic emotionally and financially. Being well-equipped for any emergency situation is always the best way to reduce the negative impact that they can have on your home, your work, and your financial well being. Take a look at these tips to learn how to minimize the threat of disaster before it strikes.

Have first-aid kits at home and in your car.

Having a well-stocked first-aid kit helps in ensuring a timely and effective response to sudden illnesses and injuries. Make sure that you always have one in your home, in your car, and wherever you go. You can buy pre-assembled kits from pharmacies or you can also assemble your own. Apart from staples such as bandages, adhesives, scissors, and a flashlight with batteries, your kit should also include any personal medications such as anti-allergies, anti-hypertensives, and the like. The American Red Cross has a complete list of first aid kit essentials.

Learn CPR.

CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation is a basic skill that anyone can and should learn, because approximately 70 percent of heart attacks occur at home. Sadly, over half of Americans feel powerless during such emergencies because they are unaware of CPR basics. This doesn’t have to be the case. Organizations such as the American Heart Association and American Red Cross regularly offer CPR courses and it takes only one phone call to register.

Keep all numbers to hospitals and emergency room facilities handy.

Even with CPR knowledge, there are cases that require the expertise of board-certified emergency physicians and medics. Situations such as bone fractures, stroke, and diabetic emergencies require specialized care that only facilities with emergency clinic personnel can provide.

Make sure to have the numbers of these types of facilities readily available via an "emergency services near me" list. Inquire about services in each hospital in your area. Is it a full-service hospital with specialized treatments and emergency services? Do they have physicians, specialists, and nurses at the ready? Do all laboratory and triage services operate on a no-holiday basis? For those living in Slidell, Slidell Memorial Hospital covers all of these emergency services on a 24/7 basis. The hospital has its own dedicated centers for birthing, heart, oncology, sleep disorders, and SMH imaging. Outpatient and rehabilitation services are also available.

Know the warning signs of a medical emergency.

Apart from CPR, it’s also helpful to learn about some of the most classic indicators of a medical emergency. According to The American College of Emergency Physicians, some warning sights may include difficulty breathing, confusion, or an alteration in mental status or behavior, uncontrolled bleeding, sudden dizziness, sudden vision changes, chest or abdominal pressure or pain for over two minutes, slurred speech, uncontrolled bleeding, severe diarrhea or vomiting, coughing up or vomiting blood, and suicidal thoughts.

Note though that not every one of those listed here comprise a medical emergency as is, so it’s always best to seek professional help.

Make a complete list of your family’s medical information and consent forms.

A complete list of each family member’s medical information including known illnesses, surgeries, medications, physicians sought, and hospitalization history can help physicians arrive at appropriate interventions faster when emergencies arise. Take the list with you to the ER.

Along with medical history, it’s also a wise practice to have everyone’s consent forms ready, just in case authorization for a procedure or treatment is required and the concerned family member is unable to offer medical consent.

Medical emergencies need not be more stressful than they are. With proper preparation, you can help save lives and reduce the devastating effect of emergency situations.

Slidell Memorial Hospital, in Slidell, Louisiana, is focused on improving the quality of life for members of its community and beyond. This post originally appeared on the SMH Health Services Blog and is used with permission.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Guest Post: Rise Above the Fear of Falling [Infographic]

By Michael Leavy
Home Healthcare Adaptations

In our younger years when we fall – maybe we lose our balance or slip on a hazardous surface – we’re usually able to pick ourselves up and continue onwards as if nothing had happened. However, for elderly people, falling can be a serious health risk, if not fatal. Even the fear of falling can substantially deter an older person from keeping active.

This infographic from Home Healthcare Adaptations highlights the dangers of falls in the elderly, but also focuses on what people can do to alleviate the fear of suffering a fall. Those of us living with an elderly person have an important part to play by keeping the floors clear of items such as toys, electrical cords and unsecured rugs.

We can also encourage activity in elderly people in order to improve their balance. This doesn’t have to be anything strenuous; simple routines such as tai chi and a chair rise exercise can work wonders. Once an older person starts doing these routinely, they will find that their balance has greatly improved, and this has a positive effect on their overall self-confidence.

Rather than approaching a potentially risky situation with trepidation, the person will instead believe that they can stay on their own two feet, which at a certain age feels like a real accomplishment.

Consider how you can encourage an elderly person to be mindful rather than fearful of the risks of falling.

Home Healthcare Adaptations, based in Ireland, is a family-run company that specializes in adapting homes for the elderly and less abled.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Guest Post: How to Prevent Medical Emergencies [Infographic]

ReviewsBee Staff

Health or medical emergencies can be frightening. An emergency can occur anywhere... at home, in the grocery shop, or while travelling. A number of steps can be taken to prevent medical emergencies, however.

Getting a medical alert system is one of the simplest, yet most effective approaches to preventing common emergencies. Here are a few others to consider...

ReviewsBee is a leading website that brings unbiased research from various expert and consumer review sources.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Guest Post: Tips for Last Stage Caregiving

By Daniel Lewis

In the final phase of a terminal disease, caregiving priorities begin to change. Rather than focus on curative measures, the caregiver has to start emphasizing palliative care in order to relieve symptoms, pain and emotional distress. Making sure that the final months of an aging parent or relative’s life are as comfortable as possible can be especially challenging. Here are a few tips to help make last stage caregiving less painful for you and your loved one.

Understanding What Last Stage Care is All About
One of the hardest parts of “being there” for a caregiver is acknowledging that there’s no coming back. No magic cure will save your elder from cancer or dementia, for example. The best thing that you, as a caregiver, can do is to make peace with the thought that, at some point, your loved one will pass away. Yet, even if they only have a few months or days to live, it’s vital to provide them with the best possible care.

It’s simply not possible for a family caregiver to be a “lone wolf” during this time. Trying to care for someone on your own at this point can actually do more harm than good. Thankfully, medication and complex treatments facilitated by hospice providers and palliative care specialists are available to ease physical pain and other discomforts, such as nausea, constipation or shortness of breath.

Identifying the Type of Care Needed
There’s no starting point for beginning end-of-life care, as this typically varies from individual to individual. For example, patients struggling with Alzheimer’s disease go through multiple stages over many years. They usually come in the doctor’s office perfectly cogent; they’re being explained what the illness will do to them and then they’re offered advice on care options. It could be years before the full impact of the illness is felt or it becomes a life-limiting condition.

While there’s no magical recipe to ease the journey, it is still important to have a conversation with your loved one and make sure they understand what steps you are taking to make them feel better. Believe it or not, this is the right approach. You wouldn’t want to give them false hope.

Caregiver and Patient Needs
Practical assistance and care are extremely important in patients with terminal diseases. The caregiver must make sure that the patient’s needs are being addressed. If they can’t walk, sit, eat or talk anymore, the caregiver must be prepared to deal with these issues and reach out for assistance, if need be. It is equally important to make sure that your parent or relative feels comfortable, regardless of their situation. Helping them maintain a sense of dignity is critical. Their memory and cognitive functions may be impacted, or their communication skills may be limited, but this doesn’t mean that they’re no longer able to feel.

Planning for End-of-Life
Nobody is truly prepared to lose a loved one to a terminal disease or old age. However, this is part of the circle of life. Take the time to talk to family members about saying your goodbyes. Work on making peace with the inevitable. And, begin making final arrangements for your loved one, as difficult as it may be. 

Knowing that you made your loved one feel loved during the last stages of life can make letting go just a little easier for everyone.

Daniel Lewis writes about health and fitness-related issues. He has a deep knowledge of the field and is a regular contributor to, which focuses on elder care homes and retirement villages in the UK.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Guest Post: Is Homecare the World's Fastest Growing Industry? [Infographic]

By Alice Lucey
Be Independent Home Care

The homecare industry in the United States is booming, to put it mildly. The elderly population is due to reach almost 84 million by the end of this year, bringing with it an increase in healthcare professionals at a growth rate six times higher than the national average.

Despite this surge in the supply of fully qualified healthcare workers, there is still a considerable struggle to meet the escalating demands for homecare across the country.

Another contributor to the upsurge in demand for such services is the increase in life expectancy of the general population. People in the present day are living longer than ever before, meaning that elderly people will require care for a longer period of time.

Also, the longer a person lives, the greater the care they need, which is why there are far fewer family caregivers now than there had been 25 years ago. This infographic specifically examines the state of the U.S. homecare industry, and where it is likely to go in the near future.

The need for healthcare professionals has never been greater, but tighter regulations surrounding the qualifications for such a role could shut out a number of capable caregivers, who may not hold the necessary paperwork to hold down a full-time occupation in the role. This could have devastating results for families that require significantly more assistance for their elderly loved ones.

Be Independent Home Care, based in Ireland, provides one-on-one assistance and support to elderly clients in their own homes, helping them maintain their independence and individuality. Click here to learn more about opportunities within the field.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Guest Post: Infographic on Respite Care

By Helen O'Keefe
Home Care Plus

Home Care Plus is a private home care company based in Ireland, providing both long-term and short-term care to people of all ages. Its services include home help (running errands, companionship, light household chores), personal care (hygiene, getting into and out of bed, moving around), 24-hour live-in care, respite care to allow volunteer carers some much-needed rest, and palliative care to focus on relieving the suffering of patients.

For more information about how Home Care Plus could help with respite care, please visit

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Guest Post: 5 Tips to Make Living with Arthritis Easier

By Patient Handling

Living with arthritis isn't easy, particularly for a busy caregiver. Whether you have osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or another form of the condition, even the simplest of everyday tasks can be difficult and extremely painful to complete.

Thankfully, there are ways you can make your life more manageable if you suffer from arthritis, aside from any prescribed medications. To cope best, you may want to aim for a holistic approach to your health and avoid stress, as this causes arthritis to worsen due to increased tension (and inflammation) in the body.

Here are five ways people with arthritis can make their lives easier.

1. Daily Living Aids

The range of arthritic aids now available is vast. These daily living aids are designed specifically to assist people with arthritis to continue to do the tasks they are used to doing, without putting added pressure on joints. Arthritic living aids can be incorporated into all aspects of your daily routine. For instance, kitchen aids include adapted knives, eating utensils and a special tool to help you open jars. Other aids for the office, bathroom, car and garden can also be found.

2. Exercise
Mild to moderate exercise is now considered the best non-drug treatment for both pain reduction and improved movement in people with arthritis. Types of exercise you could include in your routine are:

  • Range of motion/flexibility exercises, such as gentle stretching, to take joints through their full span;
  • Aerobic/endurance exercise, such as walking, jogging, cycling or swimming, to increase stamina and strengthen the heart and lungs;
  • Strengthening exercises, to help maintain and improve muscle strength, ultimately better supporting joints affected by arthritis; and
  • Aquatic exercise, to help relieve the pressure of your weight on affected joints and assist with pain.
3. Relaxation Methods
Many people with arthritis report finding some relief via a variety of methods designed to promoted relaxation. These include having massages, putting aside regular time slots in which to rest and practice relaxation and/or breathing techniques, taking a course of acupuncture, trying Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) therapy or hypnosis.

4. Nutrition and Diet
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is important for everyone, but if you have arthritis, you may want to take extra care and eat appropriately from each of the five main food groups. This will ensure you have all the nutrients your body needs, as well as help you to maintain a healthy weight. Foods containing Omega-3 may help relieve inflammation, particularly in rheumatoid arthritis. If you are overweight, you will definitely benefit from losing a few pounds, as being too heavy increases the strain and stress on your joints.

5. Joint Care
With arthritis, it's especially important to be self-aware. Conserve energy by completing everyday tasks in ways that reduce stress. Listen for signals indicating your body needs rest and pace yourself. If you complete an activity and find yourself in pain for two hours, do a little less of that activity next time. Be aware of how you position your body. Avoid positions that increase stiffness or involve using a tight grip. Utilize your largest and strongest joints wherever possible (i.e., carry a bag with a strap across the shoulder and back, rather than carrying a bag).

Patient Handling, based in Australia, specializes in rehabilitation and daily care aids for both individuals and medical facilities.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Infographic: Understanding Chronic Conditions...Diabetes

By Danika Kimball

Recent reports by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 29 million people in the United States are living with diabetes. If current trends continue, an estimated 1 in 3 people will develop Type 2 diabetes by 2050. An additional 86 million adults are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, and without weight loss efforts 15 to 30 percent of these individuals will develop the condition within 5 years.

With the number of people diagnosed with diabetes expected to rise, it’s important that caregivers understand and know how to treat loved ones with the chronic condition. This infographic, courtesy of the College of Nursing at the University of Arizona, explores the different types of diabetes, their prevalence in the United States, as well as ways to prevent and treat the condition.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Guest Post: Elderly Depression: A Serious Public Health Concern

By Daniel Lewis

Depression is the state of a person feeling dejected, sad or anguished. It can cause a loss of self-esteem and leave someone feeling useless and unimportant. Many seniors are seriously affected by depression, according to surveys carried out by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Senior Depression and Illness

Out of the estimated 6 million elderly people living with depression in the United States, only about 10% have managed to get proper medical care. The impact of depression on the elderly can differ from that on younger generations. Studies have discovered a direct correlation between elderly depression and certain diseases. For example, heart attack has been linked with depression among the elderly in the U.S.

And, rates of depression are continuing to rise among those 65 and older, as people confront the loss of friends or a spouse, declining health, financial shortfalls and other challenges of growing older.

The way out of a depressive episode begins with the individual admitting that a problem exists. Unfortunately, overcoming the potential stigma of having a mental health issue can be too much for some. Statistics show that approximately one-fifth of suicides in the U.S. alone are among the elderly, with the majority of these deaths a result of untreated depression.

Complications Related to Depression

Insomnia is a common indicator of depression among the elderly. Many seniors don’t get enough physical activity in a day, and a sedentary lifestyle is known to contribute to a lack of sleep.

Withdrawing from friends and social interactions, as well as a loss of interest in activities that were once pleasurable, are other indicators of depression. Isolation further contributes to depression, and can lead to other health concerns. Over-consumption of alcohol, sometimes done to combat boredom or feelings of loss, can be especially dangerous for the elderly. Mixing alcohol and prescription medications can be fatal.

When depressed, seniors may have a lack of appetite. Over time, a decrease in body weight can allow the elder to become frail. This, in turn, leads to falls and fractures.

What Can You Do?

It is high time to start taking this disease seriously. If you’re noticing that your aging parent spends most their day inside, and they don’t interact with others like they once did, these are major red flags for depression.

First, urge your older loved one to consult with their physician; you may need to take them to the appointment and broach the subject. Medication may be necessary to get your loved one through this depressive episode.

Second, check on your loved one more frequently, if possible. Visiting with them, taking them out for walks or lending a hand with household chores could substantially lift their mood.

Third, make a point of helping them reach out to friends and other relatives. Having someone or something to look forward to can be life-changing for people of any age… especially seniors.

These small steps could make a big difference!

Daniel Lewis is interested in writing about health and fitness related issues. He has a deep knowledge at this field. He also writes for a site providing elder care homes and retirement villages.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Guest Post: Infographic to Better Understand Arthritis

By Helen O'Keefe
Home Care Plus

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints that causes intense pain and significantly inhibits a person’s mobility.

It is one of the most excruciating conditions that a person can suffer, and while there may be a perception that it is a disease exclusive to elderly people, the regrettable truth is that it affects people of all ages.

It is also frighteningly common – more than 1 out of every 5 American adults has been diagnosed with arthritis. That’s 52 million people, and it doesn’t count how many American children suffer from the condition.

Worse still, it is anticipated that this number will rise to 67 million in the next 15 years.

To the right, you will find both educational and practical information on some of the most common forms of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Each of these is explained in simple terms, with a series of likely causes and symptoms to help you identify which specific type is inflicting you.

The good news is that at least there are remedies for arthritis. These include losing weight, taking up non-strenuous exercises like yoga and swimming, and giving up smoking. 

If you, or sometime you love, is suffering from arthritis, we hope you find this infographic relevant and valuable. 

Home Care Plus is a private home care company based in Ireland, providing both long-term and short-term care to people of all ages. Its services include home help (running errands, companionship, light household chores), personal care (hygiene, getting into and out of bed, moving around), 24-hour live-in care, respite care to allow volunteer carers some much-needed rest, and palliative care to focus on relieving the suffering of patients.

For more information about Home Care Plus, please visit You can also connect with the organization on Twitter (@Home_CarePlus).

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Simple Ideas to Help Caregivers Get Active and Feel Better

Let’s explore some simple exercises for caregivers to get active.

In just 10-minute units, you can get out of that afternoon slump and start feeling better. Of course, check with your doctor to see what level and intensity of exercise is most appropriate for you. And don’t forget to cool down, and have a large glass of water after any physical exertion.

Here’s how it’s done. Health experts say we need to get 150 minutes or two-and-a-half hours of moderately intense exercise every week. That amounts to about 20 minutes a day. Why not try out some of the following, as recommended by the Harvard Women’s Health Watch? Or be creative, and line up your own favorite brief calorie burners. Keep in mind that some exercises require longer periods of time to gain the benefits.

1. Plant a garden (Calories burned in 10 minutes: 40 to 55). Digging, hoeing, weeding and carrying tools from house to garden really do burn calories. Also, consider this. It not only works the muscles and lifts the spirits, but a garden of fresh vegetables can provide the added benefit of promoting a healthy diet.

2. Walk the dog (Calories burned in 10 minutes: 40 to 50). Dogs make great exercise buddies, and dog owners are far more likely to meet the government’s physical activity recommendation than those who don’t have a dog. To gain maximum benefit, let your pet finish his “business,” before you start your exercise clock. And don’t forget: keep up a brisk pace to get the most out of dog walking.

3. Clean house (Calories burned in 10 minutes: 45 to 50). Housework may not be your idea of exercise, but you’d be surprised how using old-fashioned elbow grease can help you get fitter. Put aside the mechanical aids and go for the broom and mop. When washing the dishes, you can stand on one leg—then the other—to improve your balance. When you breathe deeply along with the exercise, you gain the additional benefit of relaxation.

4. Play with the children or grandchildren (Calories burned in 10 minutes: 40 to 60). Instead of passively reading a story or sitting on a park bench, try playing right along with the kids. Hide-and-seek, playing ball, pushing them on a swing and bustling around the park can be a bright spot in everyone’s day and get your heart rate going.

5. Walk the neighborhood (Calories burned in 10 minutes: 40 to 50). Nothing suits a busy caregiver better than moving outside for fresh air and sunshine. I guarantee it. You’ll feel rejuvenated and reinvigorated. You might want to plug in some music to give you an extra boost as you circle around your familiar territory.

6. Practice Yoga (Calories burned depend on the person and type of yoga; count on at least 100-plus per hour). When you talk with your friend about her yoga workout, she’ll rarely discuss weight loss or calorie burn. People flock to yoga for its mind/ body connection, the sense of oneness and ease you feel. It teaches us to listen to our bodies and naturally avoid unhealthy behaviors. That should be recommendation enough. Yoga need not be your sole means of exercise, though. If you have the time and motivation, try cycling, running or vigorous dancing. These burn a lot more calories per hour compared to yoga.

7. Swimming (Calories for one hour of laps: 476). If you can find a longer stretch of time during your day, you’ll discover swimming in your local pool to be an ideal exercise. It’s easy on the joints, strengthens your lungs and serves as a full-body, aerobic workout. What’s more, swimming is calming, counters daily stress and is especially refreshing during the warmer months of the year.

No matter your age, exercise helps keep your weight down and maintain good cardiovascular health.

Other reasons why you should get off the couch and try regular exercise include: (1) better overall health, (2) improved mood and (3) stronger bones. For older adults in particular, regular exercise reduces the risk of cognitive impairment and falling. If you can’t get out of the house or spend time away from your loved one, an exercise bike or mini stepper could be a lifesaver.

Start with those first steps: Get yourself in gear, and then stick with it!

Excerpt from The ABCs of Caregiving, Part 2: Essential Information for You and Your Family, available in paperback and Kindle on