Caring for an elderly relative can be demanding at the best of times. However, if you live far away, it can make things even more difficult. Whether your loved one resides in a different city or country, here are a few strategies for taking care of them from afar.
1. Develop a network of contacts
Build a network of people who can help your elderly relative when you’re not around. For example, you could ask a trustworthy friend or family member to check in on them regularly. Additionally, you can hire a healthcare professional to conduct visits. Make sure you give your loved one a list of people they can contact if they can’t reach you.
2. Make the most of your visits
During your visits, assist your loved ones with as many of their immediate and future needs as possible. For example, you could help them stock up on groceries, prepare meals, sort medication, and schedule appointments.
3. Check in regularly
Frequently checking in with your loved ones allows you to stay on top of their health and habits. On top of face-to-face visits, you can call, email, or video chat to keep in touch.
4. Prepare financial resources
If you’ll need to travel or take time off work to accompany your loved one to a medical appointment, it’s a good idea to make room in your budget for this expense.
Additionally, some non-profit organizations offer friendly calls or visits to seniors. Find out if a service like this is available in your loved one’s region.
Five benefits of stretching
Regular stretching provides numerous health benefits as you age, and when combined with other types of exercise, it can add years to your life. Here are five reasons to stretch regularly.
1. Improve flexibility
As you age, your muscles shorten and lose elasticity. Stretching keeps you flexible and helps you maintain your mobility.
2. Avert injuries
Stretching improves your balance and strength, which can reduce your risk of falling. This will likely help you feel more confident when moving around and performing your daily tasks.
3. Boost blood circulation
Stretching stimulates blood flow and increases the oxygen supply to your muscles.
4. Prevent diseases
Maintaining an active lifestyle and stretching regularly can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers.
5. Reduce soreness
Stretching can help minimize aches and pains. Ask a health professional for advice on which exercises to perform to target specific areas of your body.
To reap these benefits, stretch at least several times a week or as much as every day to reap these benefits.
Reduced mobility: Four tips for choosing a walk-in bathtub
Walk-in bathtubs are designed for people with mobility issues. They come with a watertight door and tend to be equipped with a bench and grab bars. Here are four tips to help you choose the right model for your needs.
1. Consider how it opens
The door to a walk-in bathtub can open either inward or outward. If you’re in a wheelchair or use a walker, look for a model with a door that swings outward.
2. Think long-term
When choosing a bathtub, keep in mind that your mobility may further diminish as you age. Therefore, you may want to select a model with safety features that will come in handy later.
3. Discern your needs
Determine whether you’ll use your bath daily or only occasionally. If you plan on using your tub often, ask yourself if you prefer sitting or lying down and if you want jets for a therapeutic experience.
4. Reflect on the filling system
Walk-in bathtubs often take a long time to fill and must be completely emptied before you can get out. Consequently, you may want a model with a quick-fill system and two drains.
Before making your choice, consult a professional to help you evaluate your needs.
Five winter hazards seniors should know about
Seniors are at risk for injury and illness in winter, and as the days get colder, it’s important for them to be aware of potential hazards. Here are five threats the elderly face in winter.
1. Hypothermia and frostbite
Seniors lose body heat more quickly than younger adults. Plus, thyroid issues, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and some medications make it difficult for them to detect when they’re getting too cold. Therefore, seniors should make sure to bundle up before heading out¬doors and avoid being in the cold for long periods.
Seniors have a high risk of falling, and it’s essential they take extra precautions in winter. They should avoid walking at night, wear boots with non-skid soles, ensure steps and sidewalks are clear of snow, and place an ice pick or rubber tip on the end of their cane.
3. Car accidents
Roads can be treacherous in winter. If driving, seniors should have winter tires on their vehicles. In addition, they should keep a charged cell phone in their vehicle as well as an emergency kit with jumper cables, blankets, and first aid supplies.
4. House fires
Using space heaters, candles and fireplaces increase the house fire risk. To prevent this, ensure heaters are placed sufficiently away from furniture and curtains and never leave a fire unattended. Additionally, smoke alarms should be inspected regularly.
5. Carbon monoxide poisoning
Turning on your furnace could trigger a carbon monoxide leak. It’s a colorless, odorless gas, so you need a carbon monoxide detector. Symptoms of CO poisoning include a dull headache, dizziness, shortness of breath, and nausea.
Seniors can stay safe throughout the season by being aware of winter hazards and taking steps to prevent mishaps.
Dysphagia is a health condition that affects many seniors. Here’s what you should know about it.
People with dysphagia have difficulty swallowing. This may lead to:
• Choking when trying to swallow
• Feeling like something is stuck in the throat
• Excessive salivation
The symptoms of dysphagia can range from mild to severe and, in some cases, make swallowing virtually impossible. The inability to eat can also have significant implications, including unhealthy weight loss and malnutrition. Breathing problems may also arise.
Dysphagia can be caused by various health conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), dementia, stroke, multiple sclerosis (MS), and lung or throat cancer. Difficulty swallowing may also occur temporarily in people who suffer from pharyngitis.
There are products available that can make mealtimes safer for people with dysphagia. In particular, some companies offer foods that are a suitable consistency for easy swallowing. Plus, specialized glasses, spoons, and straws can be purchased to assist with swallowing.
Various exercises and medications may also be prescribed to treat dysphagia.
If you’re having trouble swallowing, consult your doctor to identify the cause of the problem and find a solution.
Should you adopt a pet when you retire?
Has your schedule freed up since retiring? Are you considering inviting a furry friend into your home? Here are a few things to consider before deciding whether adopting a pet is a good idea.
Owning a pet has many benefits, including reduced stress and anxiety, lessened feelings of loneliness, increased self-esteem, and a general sense of well-being. For example, owning a dog helps raise your level of social engagement and physical activity because of walks and visits to the park. These changes can have a significant impact on your health.
Things to consider
Whatever type of animal you like, it’s essential to reflect on the long-term implications. Consider, for example, a dog’s life expectancy and your plans. Consider whether you may sell your home, move into a smaller space, or travel. Determine who can care for your companion if you can’t take it with you.
Finally, choose an animal that complements your level of autonomy. If you want a dog and you’re not very active, you probably shouldn’t get an energetic puppy that’s strong enough to cause you to lose your balance. You may find suitable companionship in a cat, hamster, or fish if you have reduced mobility.
Do you want to give an abandoned pet a second chance? Visit an animal shelter in your area.
4 hair care tips for white hair
Over time, your hair follicles produce less melanin, the pigment that gives your hair its color. Besides turning your hair white or gray, less melanin also changes its texture and condition. Here are four tips to take care of your hair as it changes.
1. Don’t pluck it. Pulling out your gray hairs can damage the follicles. This results in coarse or frizzy hair.
2. Give more thought to hydration. Graying hair needs more moisture than younger hair. If your hair is mostly gray, choose products with extra moisturizing properties. Add a hair mask or oil to your hair care routine if needed.
3. Use a specialty shampoo. About once per month, use a product designed to prevent your hair from turning yellow. The sun and pollution are two factors that can accelerate hair discoloration.
4. Protect your hair. White and gray hair are more sensitive to the elements, like the sun, chlorine, and heating appliances. Use cream or sprays to give it an added measure of protection.
Talk to your hairdresser or colorist for advice on the best hair care products for your hair type.