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National Sober Day – Recovery During a Pandemic

National Sober Day – Recovery During a Pandemic

Now that we are living in a world of COVID and social distancing, our lives have been turned upside down. It is said that the opposite of addiction is connection, and with social distancing, connection is harder than ever. For those in addiction recovery, sobriety is a daily struggle, and connection to others and to a community is vital in order to be successful.

Individuals in recovery need a strong support system in place, and COVID has shaken that up. Connections with others are a tremendous source of support and strength for those in recovery. With 12-step groups being moved online and social distancing guidelines preventing meeting with sponsors and friends in person, people will have to become creative and extra vigilant about prioritizing their recovery.

For those in recovery, any time routines are interrupted, or stress and anxiety increases, people are at greater risk for relapse. This can include personal, relationship, work or financial stress. People may feel frustrated and scared, and virtual meetings can feel different than face to face meetings. Many strategies and positive coping skills that people normally use when battling addiction are not feasible anymore – like going swimming at a YMCA pool or hugging your best friend. These past few months have been a challenge for even the most well adjusted, let alone people who are bravely battling addiction and striving towards sobriety. We commend them in their pursuit every day of becoming healthier.

Although the situation is very challenging and relapses are on the rise, people can keep themselves healthy and in check using creative ways. For those in recovery, make sure to stick to a routine, which includes proper sleep, nutrition, and time spent doing activities you enjoy! Find meetings online, and now that everyone has extra time on their hands, try going to more meetings than you normally would. Find a new hobby! Ever wanted to learn how to play guitar? Now is the time to start and let music help you through addiction and the pandemic. For those with loved ones struggling with addiction, check in regularly and encourage ones you know who are trying to maintain sobriety. When we do not have control over the situation and cannot do what we normally would, it is important to focus on what we CAN do. A change in thinking can be tremendously helpful for addicts when facing this unique struggle. Although it is much easier said than done, try to embrace optimism and positivity and ‘take it one day at a time’.

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National Sober Day

National Sober Day

National Sober Day on September 14th encourages us to celebrate Sober life and bring awareness to addiction. National Sober Day is meant to encourage people to celebrate a better quality of life that comes from staying sober. For the millions of Americans that have struggled with addiction at some point in the past, National Sober Day is about renewing your commitment to staying sober. For the millions of people that are currently struggling with addiction, National Sober Day can be the start of recovery.

On National Sober Day, we focus on showing support for anyone living in sobriety or striving towards sobriety. Getting sober is a courageous process, and today we show support and appreciation for all of the hard work it takes in recovery. In addition, the observance sets a standard for the whole world that being sober is okay. Show your friends and family on the road to recovery by spending the day sober as well.

National Sober Day takes place during National Recovery Month, and this day also seeks to remove the stigma associated with addiction. Without compassion and acceptance of this condition, people may continue to struggle with addiction. Addiction is a disease, and no one chooses to become addicted to substances. It is in our hands as a society to help change the attitude towards addiction because everyone deserves to live a happy and healthy life.

Nearly everyone knows someone who does or has struggled with addiction, and this disease does not discriminate as to whom it affects. Open dialogue about addition and the benefits of sobriety builds the lines of communication that lead to better understanding. The day provides an opportunity to build educated support networks. It also strengthens existing ones. When systems are paved with an aware, loving, and honest cheering section, success is more likely. If we stumble, aren’t we more likely to get back up again when we have a solid support system?

Today on National Sober Day, we celebrate those who have achieved sobriety and as well as send unconditional love and healing to those struggling with addiction. We raise public awareness about this condition. Also, we join our friends and loved ones in recovery to enjoy a sober day! Plan fun activities that don’t feel like they require alcohol or substance use. Make mocktails or go for a nice long bike ride! Spend time with animals or cook your favorite meal! Whatever it is, make sure to celebrate life and joy on National Sober Day!

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Zen and the Art of Coloring

Zen and the Art of Coloring

Coloring is a form of art therapy, which is highly beneficial for seniors, and an effective treatment for those with dementia and Alzheimer’s. But what does coloring have to do with zen? And how is it beneficial for the brain?

When you color, you are practicing mindfulness, which means that you are focused on what you are doing in the moment. You are only concentrating on one thing, which is moving the colored pencil in methodical strokes to keep the color within the lines. Any mindfulness activity can be considered as a meditation because you are wholly present and it quiets the mental chatter in your head so you are not thinking about other things. Coloring has many of the same positive health effects as meditation, which has been proven in many clinical styles to be an extremely effective health enhancing activity.

Coloring elevates your mood! It helps people de-stress and relax. Coloring has been shown to decrease agitation and irritability in Alzheimer’s patients because it is a soothing activity. When you are relaxed or in a good mood through coloring ‘meditation’, it increases your ability to focus, which may help with other cognitive functions as well. Researchers as well as art therapists say that coloring can help preserve cognitive function because the more in the habit you are of concentrating, the sharper your brain stays. If you can practice the skill of concentrating on a mindfulness activity like coloring every day, your brain will remain more plastic and alert than if you do not.

Coloring is a creative outlet, which is positive in so many ways. Sometimes people, especially loved ones with dementia and Alzheimer’s, may have difficulties with verbal communication and trouble with expressing themselves and their emotions. Coloring is a way to express their thoughts and feelings without having to use words.Coloring is a wonderful way for older adults to let out those feelings and thoughts in an enjoyable way. This can be a source of relief and joy, which decreases stress and helps overall health. Studies have shown that coloring can help treat anxiety and depression.

Coloring helps mood and memories. When seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s color, it reminds them of childhood, which is important since the long term memories are often the memories that are left even after the shorter term memories have all disappeared. Life can be frustrating with those diseases, and ordinary tasks may no longer be accessible. But Coloring is also a task that is simple to understand but complex enough to be engaging and rewarding. When someone finishes a coloring project, it helps give them a sense of pride and accomplishment. It can also be a great gift to give to someone!

Coloring can be beneficial for those who struggle with arthritis because it is great for maintaining fine motor skills, and the muscles associated with writing. It helps with hand-eye coordination as well because your eye is following along where your hand is coloring, and supports dexterity through gentle gripping. Coloring is a lovely activity that is readily available, especially those who may be physically limited. It is portable and you can sit both inside or outside when coloring (you can get fresh air into the lungs and absorb vitamin D!). Those who may be bedridden can also color and create. Coloring promotes socialization when in a group, and encourages cooperation.

There are now many beautiful options for adult coloring books, ask the senior in your life which images or themes they like best! Grab a coloring book and some pencils or markers and start showing us your true colors!

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National Coloring Day is September 14th

Today, September 14th, is National Coloring Day! Whether you use crayons, colored pencils, markers, pastels, watercolor pencils, digitally, and more, today we celebrate coloring! What is great about coloring is that it is a fun, easy activity to do at any age! Many people have fond memories of childhood spending hours coloring, but coloring is not just for children. In recent years, coloring books for adults have become hugely popular. The art therapy benefits are becoming widely known to the public, and this activity is finally getting the appreciation it deserves! Today, celebrate National Coloring Day by taking part in this activity that is one of life’s simple pleasures and add color to your life!Watch this great video about how a 92 year old WWII veteran with dementia found his passion and talent in coloring. (P.S. Check out his fabulous sweatshirt! It says ‘Papa – The Man, The Myth, The Legend’) Read on to learn the many benefits of coloring!

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National 401K Day

National 401K Day

National 401(k) Day, sponsored by the Plan Sponsor Council of America,traditionally falls on the first Friday after Labor Day. It’s a day set aside each year to remind people to think about—and maybe even boost—their retirement savings.

We all dream of a life of leisure during our golden, retirement years. National 401(k) Day, celebrated every year on the Friday after Labor Day, prompts us to check in on our nest egg. With only 70% of Americans financially prepared for retirement, understanding what you can do to make the dream of retirement a reality is important. It is estimated that 79% of Americans work for a company that offers a 401(k) plan; however, only 41% take advantage of the benefit. Don’t let another day go by without learning why you should save for retirement through your company’s 401(k) plan or what you can do to save for retirement if you don’t have access to a 401(k).

When you plan for a 401K and diligently contribute to it over the years, you are setting yourself up for a high quality of life when you are an older adult. Private Home Care fully understands how important it is to age in place. Seniors have worked hard throughout their lives in order to live comfortably in their later years, and now we are here to provide caretaking for them.  

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Classical Music and the Alzheimer’s Brain

All kinds of music therapy can be beneficial to Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. Classical music in particular can be especially good for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients because the words in songs may be overstimulating. Also, tones and vibrations of classical music helps to stimulate deep brain waves. Classical music can be soft or loud and exciting, so there is a pieces fit for every person and every mood. It is also timeless, which means that it is universally appealing.

People with Alzheimer’s retain the ability to understand music until the very last moments of life because the part of the brain where music processing resides, scientists have discovered, is the very last to go. Part of the reason music works in Alzheimer’s disease is that it is processed in the basal ganglia, the primitive, reptilian, part of the brain that is resistant to the damage, said Andrew Budson, associate director of the Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center. Music is processed there, in part, because that’s where the brain responds to rhythm and beat.

The basal ganglia survive longer with Alzheimer’s because the loss of the episodic memory is associated with a network of memory in the cortex, the most modern part of the brain that deteriorates in the disease. Alzheimer’s is more a disease of the cerebral cortex. According to one theory, the basal ganglia doesn’t utilize that network, making it relatively stable throughout most of the course of Alzheimer’s.

“Listening can create a calming environment,” says a professional music therapist, “Singing offers socialization and engagement; as well as physical benefits. It exercises lungs, increases oxygen, stimulates overall circulation and reduces stress. Playing instruments can improve fine and gross motor skills, reduce stress and increase socialization. Writing music provides creativity and allows for self- expression.”

Music therapists also recommend making a specific playlist for the dementia or Alzheimer’s patient with their favorite songs and also songs that were popular from when they were ages 18-25. Better results are seen if a patient participates in music therapy two to three times per week for 45-minute sessions.

Music as medicine: Best of all, music has no side effects, unlike prescription medications, so using music in conjunction with scientific-based medical treatments can improve overall success..

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Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance

Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance

Every year on September 11, Patriot Day gives all of us time to reflect on the devastating terror attacks that took nearly 3,000 lives. We commemorate those who we lost and give thanks to the brave first responders who put their lives on the line. Private Home Care honors all of those who were victim to these attacks, as well as the courageous men and women who acted as heroes on that day and the weeks following.

The purpose of the September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance is to transform the anniversary of 9/11 from a day of tragedy into a day of doing good. “We wanted to make sure the terrorists didn’t have the last word in forever defining for generations how America would remember and observe 9/11,” said 9/11 Day and MyGoodDeed co-founder David Paine. “We wanted instead to honor the victims and those who rose in service by keeping alive the spirit of unity and service that arose in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks.”

It was a terrifying day when four planes were hijacked on September 11, 2001 (also known as nine-eleven). The hijackers flew three planes into iconic buildings: the Pentagon in Washington DC and the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York. The fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania after the plane passengers fought the hijackers.

The impact of this attack was devastating. Around 3,000 lives were lost between plane passengers, those in the buildings that were struck, and front-line workers trying to save people. It was the biggest act of terrorism ever in the United States. However, as proud Americans we stood strong during this challenging time and came together as a country in solidarity.

On Patriot Day, U.S. flags are lowered halfway, and there is a country-wide moment of silence at 8:46 am (Eastern Daylight Time), which is when the first plane crashed into one of the Twin Towers. Although the attacks were in the U.S., Patriot Day is recognized worldwide as the news impacted people all over. Today we take a moment today to consider what we stand for as a nation and how we can work together to make the world a better place for all. In addition to a moment of silence, you can honor this day by attending a patriot day ceremony or visiting a memorial. The Corporation for National and Community Service stands that today Americans across the country are called to volunteer in their local communities in tribute to the individuals lost and injured in the attacks, first responders, and the many who have risen in service to defend freedom.

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National Mushroom Month

This month we celebrate mushrooms and all of their incredible health benefits! Although they’re actually fungi, mushrooms are lumped in the vegetable category for cooking purposes. Mushrooms have been used for thousands of years as medicines in different parts of the world, and still are today! This is because they are nutritional powerhouses, with different kinds of mushrooms providing special health benefits.

All types of edible mushrooms contain varying degrees of protein and fiber. The combination of protein and fiber aids weight loss because it helps you feel fuller for longer, aids with digestion and regulates metabolism, while the protein found in mushrooms gives you energy.

Mushrooms are loaded with antioxidants, and are unique in their high levels of a powerful antioxidant called selenium, which helps to support the immune system and prevent damage to cells and tissues. In fact, it is the produce with the highest amount of selenium! Also, out of the many antioxidants present in mushrooms, ergothioneine is an antioxidant that is effective in protecting your body from any free radicals. Mushrooms also contain natural antibiotic and anti-fungal properties that help you get rid of various infections.

Mushrooms are rich in the B vitamins: riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. The combination helps protect heart health. Riboflavin is good for red blood cells. Niacin is good for the digestive system and for maintaining healthy skin. Pantothenic acid is good for the nervous system and helps the body make the hormones it needs.

Mushrooms boast high levels of beta glucan, which is a form of soluble dietary fiber that’s been strongly linked to improving cholesterol and boosting heart health. It can also help your body regulate blood sugar, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Oyster and shiitake mushrooms are believed to have the most effective beta glucans.

Mushrooms have been shown to have some therapeutic properties that can help to lower cholesterol, particularly in overweight adults, as well as phytonutrients that can help prevent cells from sticking to blood vessel walls and forming plaque build-up. This in turn then helps protect the heart by maintaining healthy blood pressure and circulation.Those on a low cholesterol diet have even more reason to love mushrooms because they contain no fat or cholesterol. They can also be used as a healthy substitute for meat in many dishes, such as portobello mushroom burgers.

Mushrooms contain abundant calcium which is an essential nutrient to maintain strong bones. Consuming mushrooms regularly can help reduce chances of developing bone-related conditions including osteoporosis, joint pain, and other disorders related to bone degeneration.

In particular, white button mushrooms are one of the few non-animal sources of vitamin D. Where they are grown, whether indoor or outdoor, they are exposed to UV light which increases their concentration of vitamin D.

The copper in mushrooms helps your body make red blood cells, which are used to deliver oxygen all over the body. The mineral is also important to other processes in the body, like maintaining healthy bones and nerves. Even after being cooked, a 1-cup serving of mushrooms can provide about one-third of the daily recommended amount of copper.

These fungi are also a good source of potassium, which is extremely important when it comes to heart, muscle, and nerve function. There’s about as much potassium in 2/3 cup of cooked Portobello mushroom as there is in a medium-sized banana.

Certain varieties of mushrooms have been shown to have potential in protecting against cancer by protecting our cells against DNA damage but also inhibiting tumour formation. There is also evidence that mushrooms may be beneficial in the treatment and management of neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s!

Many varieties are in season year round, which means you can enjoy fresh mushrooms that maintain their optimal amount of nutrients at any time! Mushrooms are also easy and fast to grow at home. It is important to consume organic mushrooms because they do not have skins and will fully absorb all characteristics of the soil and growing conditions into the plant.

Mushrooms are incredibly versatile. You can prepare them in so many ways and pair them with tons of different ingredients. Slice them up raw and toss them in a salad, grill them, sauté them, or roast them. Add them to soups, sandwiches, wraps, casseroles, and Italian dishes. Mushrooms work well as a side dish, or as the main course for vegetarians. There are so many ways to prepare and cook mushrooms that even those who claim that they are not fans can surely find something that suits their appetite.

When choosing your mushrooms, make sure they feel firm, aren’t moist to the touch, and are mold-free. They can be stored in a paper bag inside the fridge for about five days. Brush the dirt off and rinse them lightly when you’re ready to use them.

Private Home Care encourages you to enjoy nourishing your body with tasty mushrooms this September during National Mushroom Month!

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National Better Breakfast Month

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – right? Perhaps not. Some people are ‘breakfast’ people, others cannot even think about eating at least until an hour or two after they have woken up. September is National Better Breakfast Month and we are examining what a ‘better breakfast’ really means.

There is a big debate within the medical community whether you should eat breakfast every morning or not. But why is there a debate? Because the science of it is confusing! Some studies say that eating breakfast aids with weight loss, others say that it is not related. There are two factors to consider: will it lead to weight gain or weight loss? Will it lead to loss of energy?

Benefits of eating breakfast every day for weight loss include helping curb cravings, it emphasizes portion control, keeps you satiated, maintains glucose levels, and improves exercise performance. The conventional guidelines say that breakfast helps ignite your metabolism. Keep in mind though, these are benefits of a healthy, modest breakfast with lean protein, whole grains, and fresh fruits and veggies. A healthy breakfast could be oatmeal with nuts and a banana, or whole grain toast with a scrambled egg and tomato with herbal tea.

There is a solid case for not eating breakfast though. Studies have found that those who do not eat breakfast tend to eat less calories overall during the day. Skipping breakfast also helps reserve your calories for later in the day, which is a version of intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is when you go longer without eating, your body starts the process of ketosis, which means it is burning your own fat by putting ketone bodies out through urine, which expels fat from your body. The data says that the longer you can go between dinner and brunch/lunch, the more weight you lose. In addition, because cortisol levels are higher in the morning, naturally your body should not require breakfast as fuel first thing when you wake up because that hormone provides energy.

Another benefit of skipping breakfast could be that oftentimes, traditional American breakfasts are simply not healthy. They tend to be carb-heavy and not nutritionally dense. A big bowl of highly sweetened cereal and a large glass of sugar-filled orange juice, or a greasy bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich is not a healthy choice, and will not not help you lose weight, rather it may make you gain weight. Eating too heavy of a breakfast will cause your blood sugar to spike, and you will crave high sugar or high fat foods to bounce back from that crash after the spike.

For the breakfast-eaters who made the switch, during the first few days your body may feel sluggish and very hungry during your normal breakfast hours. After a little while, your body adjusts.

At the end of the day, weight loss or weight gain is about the amount of calories in and out throughout a 24 hour period. If eating breakfast means you’re also eating less throughout the day, then you should eat it. If you start eating breakfast and still are overeating at other meals, then you should consider skipping it.

The answer as to whether you should eat breakfast or skip it depends on your lifestyle, preferences, and weight loss goals. You should only eat when you are hungry, and if you are not hungry within the first hour when you wake up, then do not eat breakfast. Instead, just wait a few hours until you are hungry (but not starving!). If you are pregnant or take medication in the morning that must be consumed with food, then of course eat breakfast. Sometimes your schedule can dictate when is best for you to eat breakfast. If you work out in the morning, some people prefer to have a little something before they work out, or right after. One thing is for certain though – drinking coffee with lots of cream and sugar is not going to help you lose weight. It could also depend on the needs of your particular body – some people are naturally lower energy in the morning than others and need breakfast to help wake up. Whatever is best for you, Private Home Care wishes you the best of health!

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National Food Safety Education Month Continued

More about National Food Safety Education Month

Anyone can get food poisoning, and there is potential for it to be serious, depending on the type of virus or bacteria that they are exposed to. However, there are certain groups of people who are more susceptible to get sick and to have a serious illness or complications from foodborne illnesses. Their bodies’ ability to fight germs and sickness is not as effective for a variety of reasons. These groups of people include pregnant women, children 5 and younger, adults 65+, and people with chronic diseases or compromised immune systems. These populations should try to avoid foods that have higher risk of food poisoning like oysters or steak tartare.

Older adults have a higher risk because as people age, their immune systems and organs don’t recognize and get rid of harmful germs as well as they once did. Nearly half of people aged 65 and older who have a lab-confirmed foodborne illness from Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria or E. coli are hospitalized. Seniors need to be conscious of food safety because as the body ages, taste buds fade and some older adults may not realize if meat tastes or smells off. Elderly people need to keep food safety in mind because they may forget how long food may have been left out or the length of time it has been sitting in the fridge.

Symptoms of food poisoning may range from mild to severe. The symptoms include:

-Upset stomach





Sometimes it is difficult to tell if it is the flu or food poisoning. If symptoms persist for more than a day or you are violently ill, consult a medical professional immediately. it could be a sign of a serious case of food poisoning like E. Coli or salmonella, which doctors can test for. The sooner you treat food poisoning, the better. When treated early, it can eliminate or reduce the risk of dangerous illness.

Think you have a stomach of steel? Not so fast. Sometimes food poisoning can take days to manifest, or as little as 20 minutes. Keep in mind that even if you do not get sick from eating something risky, others may get sick from you after if they share a drink or food with you.

In terms of food safety, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. By following simple food safety measures, you can prevent illness for you and your loved ones. An extra rinse of an apple or cooking chicken for an additional minute or two could be the difference between a lovely meal or days of misery.

Do not play roulette when it comes to foodborne illnesses. If you think that food may be iffy or are unsure of the level of sanitation from where it was made, skip it. Absolutely no one needs to eat gas station sushi. If you dropped your piece of toast on the floor (how is it that it always seems to land butter-side down?!), no need to scrape it off, just make a new piece of toast.

Don’t be a hero. If the milk in your fridge is questionable, just go ahead and toss it. While we should try our best not to waste food, do not consume food that is iffy or past its prime and can make you sick. When eating out, put food safety and your health first. If a restaurant has a reputation for food recalls (we’re looking at you, Chipotle) or you see that the restaurant is not sanitary, do not eat there. If your salad is slimy or an oyster smells off, do not try to be polite and eat it anyways, tell your server immediately.

Fruits, and veggies are good for me – right?! Yes, proper nutrition is essential for health, and eating a diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables gives important health benefits. But it’s important to select and prepare them safely. But sometimes raw fruits and vegetables contain harmful germs that can make you and your family sick, such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria. CDC estimates that germs on fresh produce cause a large percentage of U.S. foodborne illnesses. Non Organic produce is often sprayed with chemical pesticides, which is dangerous for your health and can also make you sick. Some produce have higher instances of foodborne illnesses, especially when eaten raw. Fruits such as melon and berries carry a higher risk for food poisoning. Always wash fruit before eating and eat freshly cut fruit right away or store it in the fridge. As for veggies, sprouts, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, celery and tomatoes are more prone to becoming contaminated with harmful bacteria. To reduce your risk, always wash vegetables and salad leaves and only purchase prepackaged salads that have been refrigerated. The safest produce is cooked; the next safest is washed. When in doubt, rinse again and pat dry with a fresh paper towel.

During National Food Safety Education Month, we raise awareness of foodborne illness and promote education about food safety and how to prevent foodborne illness. Private Home Care wishes you Bon Apetit for enjoying healthy and safe meals!

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