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September is National Intergeneration Month!

September is National Intergeneration Month! The goal of this event is to connect generations and to prompt people from varying age groups to befriend and learn from each other. Research from the Intergenerational Foundation identified the need to set aside a time each year to focus on intentionally connecting generations to better communicate age-related gratitude and needs.

At Private Home Care we are proud every day to engage in building and fostering strong intergenerational relations with our clients, their loved ones, our expert caregivers, and the community at large.

Why is this important? Different kinds of friendships and relationships enrich our lives, and this is especially so for intergenerational ones. Connecting with someone of a different generation helps remove preconceived notions about a certain age group, and see them as individuals. You can have conversations that you would never be able to have with those from the same age group, like a senior WWII veteran sharing his stories with a high schooler, who is in turn showing him how to use Facebook and Instagram.

Although people are digitally connected to each other more than ever before, apart from family, those connections are typically between people in the same generation. Both young and older people can feel disconnected and isolated, but we can find a sense of meaning by connecting with one another. Sometimes a younger person needs the wisdom of a senior to help guide them in life, and often when an older adult has a good connection with a younger person, it can make them feel relevant and young again. Often what we learn from each other is completely unexpected! Those relationships can help improve your life, and society as a whole.

Traditionally, great places to meet someone from a different generation are public areas, like a park, library, or museum. You might get lucky and meet someone from a different generation in your favorite crime mystery aisle at the library who can lead you to more favorite authors. At the park, you could make a new chess playing partner or friend who is also a dog enthusiast. Whatever your preference is, make room in your schedule, life, and heart for intergenerational relationships because they are truly some of the most fulfilling in life.

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Balance Awareness Week with Private Home Care

At Private Home Care, we are passionate about helping people maintain their balance and providing education about this matter. Why? Falls account for a large percentage of hospitalizations and deaths for the elderly. After the age of 60, your body’s vestibular and balance system starts declining, sometimes without us even realizing it. Often we don’t think about our balance until we lose it. It can be hard for older adults to realize that the activities they have been doing their whole lives (walking up or down stairs, carrying a heavy box), may increase their risk of a fall. However, there are actions you can take to prevent this from happening. Practicing regular exercise as well as exercises and movements specifically designed to bolster balance can make a big difference for maintaining balance. Regular doctors checkups are also beneficial to detect any possible balance issues because they may be able to catch any signs of imbalance before it starts to really affect day to day living. Check out this video to see the best balance exercises for seniors!

Private Home Care are experts in fall prevention. We provide fall prevention home safety assessments of your loved one’s living space to ensure that your loved one can age safely and happily at home. They say that balance in life is key, and we agree!

During Balance Awareness Month, Private Home Care challenges you to test you balance and see how you can improve it!

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Balance Awareness Week 2020

This week is Balance Awareness Week, September 13-19th. 

The Vestibular Disorders Association began Balance Awareness Week to highlight just how much of an impact inner ear and brain disorders can have on an individual’s daily life. Patients who suffer from balance issues associated with vestibular disorders often experience chronic physical, mental, and emotional pain. Examples include intense dizziness, ringing of the ear, vertigo, and even depression. During the week of September 13-19 make it a point to familiarize yourself with the many issues that Balance Awareness Week tackles. Watch this video to learn how the body’s balance system works. Keep reading for our next post about just how important balance is for older adults and seniors!

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National Get Ready Day

National Get Ready Day

Today is National Get Ready Day!

Prepare yourself — because September 15 is Get Ready Day. Established in 2006 by the American Public Health Association (APHA), the goal of Get Ready Day is to arm individuals, families, and communities with knowledge that will help them cope with crises such as natural disasters, infectious diseases and other emergency situations. To stay prepared, inform and educate yourself and your loved ones about how best to prepare for an unforeseen emergency situation. The three elements of emergency preparedness are: having an emergency kit, making a plan in case of emergency in your area, and staying updated through your phone or radio. Get yourself — and your loved ones — ready to survive any event that may come your way. You could save a life, maybe even your own!

Luckily, getting ready for an emergency situation is relatively simple, and once you have supplies and a plan in place, you do not have to worry for a long time. When you ‘Get Ready’, you can feel at ease that you and your family are prepared for whatever may happen. Hopefully the emergency preparedness kit will never have to be used, but if it is needed, you will sure be glad you have it!

Here are a few essentials that everyone should have in their emergency kit:

-Water → a gallon of water per person per day. Let’s say there are two people in your household, so you would want to have 6 gallons of water as backup for an emergency lasting 3 days. 

-Non-perishable food, like canned goods (Private Home Care wholeheartedly suggests having a supply of emergency dark chocolate as well!)

-Medications and medical supplies for up to 7 days

-Flashlight

-Extra Batteries

-Crank radio

-First aid kit

-Battery operated outlet and charger for cell phone 

-Can opener

-Emergency heat blanket

-List of emergency contacts 

-Swiss army knife

-Extra cash

-Matches

-Long lasting candles 

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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.

https://www.healthline.com/health/addiction/covid-19-addiction-recovery

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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