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Aging and How to Manage Changes

How many of you remember the book, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”? If you are like us this was a very helpful book for when we were young and expecting a new baby.

Now, many of us find ourselves in a different stage of life as we age.  Like us, you may have noticed some “challenges.

This week our blog will be talking about some of the changes to be expected as you age.  In addition, we’ll add a tip or two on how you can help manage those changes.

As you age, changes come to your body and your mind.  It differs for all of us but the older you get the more you may experience.

Your heart and bones, joints and muscles are some of the physical areas that experience change.

Your heart often has a stiffening of your blood vessels and arteries.  This causes additional work for your heart which can cause high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems.

The bones, joints and muscles in your body change as well.  Bones become less dense and shrink.  Joints and muscles become weaker which causes less strength, flexibility and endurance.

You may say “Yikes” but there are things that we can do at any stage to help. 

  1. Movement – you can do light weights, work with a trainer on some safe exercises or even walk a few days a week as long as you are able.  Even ten minutes can help.
  1. Eating – try to eat healthy foods and meals.  Fruits and vegetables are great.  Fish and lean meats.  Try limiting sugary sweets.

Private Home Health Care understands that it can be difficult to age, especially if you have any chronic conditions.  There are things you can do to help so try and stay positive.

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Bird Day

Birds.  They are all over, especially in the Spring.  Tomorrow is bird day which means it’s your chance to look for and observe the many birds in your area.

Wild turkeys are one type of bird that you may encounter.  In our neighborhood they wander around yards and parks and they saunter across roads holding up traffic.  You don’t have to look hard to find them.

The good news is that if you pay attention there are many different birds that come out in Eastern Massachusetts right around now.

Robins sing and fly around in all kinds of weather so you may have seen them for a while.  However, now they get busier flying around looking for materials to build their nests and hatch their eggs.

You cannot miss the beautiful bright red of the male cardinal. The female is usually not too far away but she’s harder to see as she is not as vibrant as her male.

A bluejay is another bird that is common to our area and these bright blue birds also stand out in the woods.

The Carolina wren is a singer who chirps early in the morning and can be on the loud side when all is quiet.

If you get a bird feeder there is a chance you will see a variety of birds like the tufted titmouse, black-capped chickadee, song sparrows and a white-breasted nuthatch.

One sound you may hear is the pecking of a downy woodpecker.  If he is in the woods, chances are you are safe but if he is close by he may have found a piece of your house, not the perfect situation.

You might not think birds are a cool hobby but they really can be interesting and beautiful to watch.  If you listen closely you will hear their different calls.  It can be very relaxing.

Private Home Health Care hopes you will take some time tomorrow and throughout the warm weather to watch and listen for the birds flying around.  You might enjoy it and become a bit of a bird watcher. 

#BirdDay

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Vitamin D

As you and I enter the month of May we are thinking about an important vitamin for our bodies, Vitamin D.

Our weather is starting to warm up in many areas and as the month goes on it should spread across these United States.  Flowers begin to sprout, the grass starts to grow, and tree buds turn into leaves.

The sun also gets higher in the sky and stronger.  While you need to be careful about the sun’s rays on your skin, the sun also plays a role with Vitamin D.  

The sun is a natural way for your body to absorb Vitamin D.  In fact, without any sun you can run into a Vitamin D deficiency which can cause a lot of problems.

This vitamin works hand-in-hand with calcium to help your bones.  Your body needs Vitamin D in order to absorb the calcium needed for strong bones.

Additionally, Vitamin D helps support your immune health, the functioning of your muscles and your brain cells.  This mighty vitamin contains antioxidants and is anti-inflammatory.

The sun is one way to absorb Vitamin D and food is another way.  You’ll find significant amounts of the vitamin in fish like salmon, mackerel swordfish, tuna fish and sardines.  

If you happen to be a fan of cod liver oil you could have a tablespoon of that a day.  You may however prefer to have some fortified milk or juice, yogurt or an egg.  

You can also opt to take a Vitamin D supplement available at your local pharmacy.  There are many varieties available so you can choose one that works for you.

Please remember these daily guidelines as you choose:

400 IU – children up to 12 months

600 IU – ages 1 to 70

800 IU – over age 70 

Private Home Health Care wants you to enjoy the sunshine for a natural way to get Vitamin D as well as a healthy diet and supplements as needed.

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Pets

How many of you have had a pet over the years?  We can remember guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, turtles, fish and dogs.  What about you?

We are thinking about our pets and how they made us responsible because we needed to clean cages or water and of course feed whatever pet we had.

If you own a dog or cat there can be additional benefits.  When you are greeted in the morning or evening after work, they are usually so happy to see you that a smile spreads across your face.

Love is an obvious benefit to having a pet.  The feelings are usually mutual and especially for a dog or cat they usually become a part of your family too.

According to the Cleveland Clinic you reap other health benefits from your furry friends.

You get an emotional boost from your dog or cat and you also get physical and mental benefits.

For dogs, you need to walk them and play with them which provides physical exercise.  Your stress can lower too with petting and snuggling with your cat or dog.

Additionally, your social life can expand because there are times when strangers will start a conversation over your dog. Going to a dog park can spark conversations and maybe skill in keeping dogs happy with each other.

Finally, animals also help you to keep a routine.  Whether it’s taking walks or feeding time, dogs and cats have internal clocks to keep us on a schedule. 

Private Home Health Care loves animals.  We know it might not be for everyone but a pet can help us in many ways in the right situation.

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Celebrate Trails Day

Tomorrow is a day for you to celebrate all of the walking trails we have in this country.

Do you know a trail in your area?  You might be able to walk the trail or bike the trail.  The point is with the weather starting to become warmer on the East coast, it’s the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors around you.

The National Trails System Act of 1968 created trails in urban and rural settings to be enjoyed by people of all ages from every walk of life.  You’ll find trails that have been created or trails off the beaten track to be explored.

Our country has scenic trails and historic trails with maps that you and your family and friends can enjoy.  You can check out this website for information:  https://www.nps.gov/subjects/nationaltrailssystem/index.htm

Additionally, the exercise you’ll get from either walking or biking is tremendous because both are great low impact ways to help your body.

Walking for 30 minutes will help your heart and lungs, lower your stress and alter your mood. Your brain function, focus and memory will benefit too.

Biking is another great way to enjoy the trails.  If you bike it can help with executive functions, mental and cardiovascular health.  In addition, biking helps with balance and gait and it can improve Type 2 Diabetes.

If you’re dealing with heart disease, arthritis or thinning bones you should check with your healthcare professional. 

Private Home HealthCare hopes that if the weather is good in your area tomorrow that you take time to go on a walking or biking trail.  The physical activity and being outside is sure to brighten your day.

#CelebrateTrailsDay

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Occupational Therapy Month

Have you ever worked with an occupational therapist?  How did they help you?

What about physical therapy?  Have you had that before?  What exactly is the difference between physical therapy and occupational therapy (also known as OT.) 

This month focuses on the occupational therapists in our lives.  The American Occupational Therapy Association defines it in simple terms as “promotes health and well-being and participation.”

OT basically helps you do what you need to do in your daily life.  You might be having trouble with some basic life skills and if so an occupational therapist can be there to help.

You can be any age, young or old to benefit from OT.  It can also be in a variety of settings, school, home, assisted living, nursing homes are just a few.

Perhaps you are older and having trouble bathing.  OT can come in and make suggestions like adding a shower chair.

If you have difficulty dressing, an OT can come and evaluate the situation and help make it easier.

Occupational therapists can also help guide family members or caregivers.

Physical therapists and occupational therapists have many similarities as they are both rehabilitative care but you will find there are differences too.

A physical therapist helps with improving movement, mobility or function.  For example, if you have a knee or hip replacement a physical therapist would give you exercises, stretches and physical activities to get stronger.

An occupational therapist would work with you to focus on being able to do daily activities more easily like bathing or dressing.  

Additionally, if you need help with memory, concentration or executive functioning that would fall to an occupational therapist.

Private Home Health Care understands that an occupational therapist strives to improve your quality of life.  We have worked with many professionals and we know how helpful they can be.

#OccupationalTherapyMonth

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Earth Day

Private Home Health Care wishes everyone a very happy Earth Day!

We are so fortunate to live in the United States where keeping it beautiful is a great cause, taken seriously by many and a wonderful way to bring people together.

You may not have realized that this is Earth Day internationally in over 50 member countries of the United Nations.

It was actually Bolivia who introduced the bill back in 2009 and it got adopted over the years.

The day gives you and I an opportunity to give back to the earth.  The goal is to be in harmony and to focus on the interconnectedness of the earth and all living things.

This falls on a Monday but you shouldn’t worry because communities around your area have events on the weekend.

You should check your local town or cities website to find out if there are volunteer activities this coming weekend April 27 or the following May 4. 

It could be that events have just passed this weekend too.  Did you get involved?

Oftentimes you can work with a Conservancy who has planned for work on a specific site.  You might be planting bulbs, spreading wood chips or cleaning up an area.

The Earth has been around for many, many years.  There have been so many changes over time and we look to keep it harmonious for many years to come.

You and I can do things like recycling, helping with litter or working with a group to fix up an area.  You might even simply enjoy a walk outdoors to appreciate what is around you.

Additionally, April 22 is the beginning of Passover for our Jewish neighbors.  We want to take a moment to wish everyone celebrating a very Happy Passover.

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National Garlic Day

On National Garlic Day we thought we would share some interesting facts about this tasty vegetable found in many meals.

Did you know that garlic is a flower from the lily family?

If you lived thousands of years ago with the ancient Indians or Egyptians you would have used garlic in your food and in medicine.

You can choose from a wide variety of different garlics.  There are 450 different types.

California supplies 90% of the garlic to the US.

When you eat garlic your body will benefit from many trace minerals like copper, iron, magnesium, germanium, selenium and zinc.  Trace minerals play important roles in our bodies function.

Garlic is also filled with Vitamins A and C, fibre and amino acids.

Health properties to benefit you include anti-coagulant, antioxidant, antiviral and antimicrobial.  Quite a few for such a small bulb.

You should store unpeeled garlic in a cool, dark place away from other foods.  It will keep for six weeks stored correctly.

Private Home Health Care loves garlic and its health benefits.  If we have a lot we also try to drink water with lemon to avoid the after effects of bad breath.

#NationalGarlicDay

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Pickleball

There is a pickleball craze that is happening all over the US.  Have you played it?  This month it is in the spotlight.

According to one website pickleball players number in the low millions and the number appears to be growing.

You can play the game if you are young and or old.  You’ll see the rules are not terribly hard and it can be a moderate workout.

You need a court, a racquet and a ball.  Simple.  Courts these days are easy to find in most communities.

The rules are not too overcomplicated either.  If you’ve ever played ping-pong or tennis some of the rules will sound familiar.  Expert players can be very helpful to beginners.

The Serve 

You must serve underhand, below the waist and it must land in the opposite corner of the opposing players.

The Score

You can only score when serving and you get a point when the opposing team cannot return the volley or hits the ball out of bounds. 

The Fault

Just as in tennis if you hit the ball into the net or it bounces twice it’s a fault.  You also cannot hit an opposing player.

There are other rules about dead balls, non-volley zones and timeouts.  You can learn these on the court when you go to play.

With the right mindset and a desire to have fun you can become a picklehead along with the millions of other Americans.

Private Home Health Care enjoys watching pickleball but as of yet we have not picked up the paddle and ball to join in but we love the atmosphere.

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Patriot’s Day

Private Home Health Care would like to wish everyone a Happy Patriot’s Day.

While not a federal holiday, those in Massachusetts have a long weekend on this third Monday in April.

Patriot’s Day began to commemorate the beginning of fighting during the American Revolution with the Battle of Lexington and Concord.  

You may not have heard of Massachusetts Frederic T. Greenhalge but back in 1894 he thought celebrating this day was a perfect replacement for a long held day of fasting and prayer called “Fast Day”.

Additionally, Governor Greenhalge decided to also honor the four Massachusetts men who lost their lives in the Baltimore Riot of 1861. 

These members of the 6th Massachusetts Volunteer Militia ran into mobs against the Northern aggressors at the beginning of the Civil War.

These days Patriot’s Day is known as Marathon Monday by the thousands of marathon runners who come from around the world to take on the challenge.

Many of you here in Massachusetts have this day off.  You may head into a Boston Red Sox game or go along the route to watch the Boston Marathon runners.   The marathon started in 1897 and the baseball team added a game starting in 1959.

Did you know that only Maine and Wisconsin celebrate Patriot’s Day in the U.S.?  The only difference is that their holiday is always on April 19.

We hope that whoever has the day off can enjoy themselves. For those working hopefully traffic and your work is a bit easier on this Patriot’s Day.

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