Blog

Flu Prevention for Seniors

If you’re a senior, getting the flu can be serious. This is because in older adults, the immune system has weakened which can cause the flu to become something more serious. The flu in a senior can turn into bronchitis or even worse, pneumonia. One of the most serious and common flu complications is pneumonia, and 90% of flu-related deaths in seniors over 65 are caused by it.

 

What are flu symptoms

There are various symptoms of the flu, which can onset suddenly. Some of these symptoms are:

  • A fever, headache and extreme tiredness which can last two or three weeks.
  • Aches and pains which can be severe and a dry cough is common too.
  • A sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose.
  • Becoming nauseous, vomiting or having diarrhea.

If you have these symptoms, call your doctor and get medical attention immediately.

 

How to treat the flu

If you do happen to get the flu, how is it treated? First, call your doctor and give your physician a rundown of your symptoms and then ask for suggested treatment. If it is the flu, then antiviral drugs can be prescribed to treat your illness. These drugs can shorten the time that you’re sick and make the illness milder in form. It’s important to get the antiviral drugs as early as possible. Get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated also.

 

How to prevent getting the flu

There are things that you can do to prevent getting the flu. Below is a list of tips which are helpful:

  • Be sure to get the flu vaccine shot. This shot helps to reduce the risks of getting the flu. Plus, it can reduce the severity of the flu if you do get it and help with avoiding getting complications from the flu. Flu shots are most helpful if gotten between October through November. However, if you didn’t get one then, it’s still a good idea to get one even if it’s late in the flu season.
  • Be sure to wash and sanitize your hands thoroughly and often, which is an effective way to keep ahead of the virus. Just plain soap and water will do it but wash under nails, on the back of hands, between your fingers and your wrists too. 80% of all influenzas are gotten from touching something and then touching the face, not from sneezes or coughs.
  • In line with this, it’s good not to needlessly touch your eyes, nose, and mouth. These are flu portals. If you do touch your face as a habit, it’s a good habit to break. If you do have to touch or scratch your face though, wash your hands first.
  • Be sure to stay away from people who are sick. This may sound like a no-brainer, but sometimes it happens. So, if you do need to be around someone who is sick (say a little grandchild) try to limit the contact, unnecessary touching; wash your hands often and don’t touch your face.

 

For a senior to get the flu, it just isn’t an inconvenience; it can be life-threatening. Don’t take the flu lightly. Get your flu shot.

 

Question: Have you gotten your flu shot?

 

References:

http://dailycaring.com/16-cold-and-flu-prevention-tips-for-seniors-and-caregivers/

https://www.alert-1.com/blog/general/flu-prevention-for-seniors/5389

Staying Social for Seniors

Everyone wants to stay vital and healthy as they age, but there is another way to do it besides eating well and getting regular exercise. The other way to stay feeling good is doing some social networking. When you age, it becomes harder to learn and retain more information, especially if you don’t do things to keep your brain stimulated. But, by having an active social life, interacting with peers and other people; this is one of the best ways help keep feeling young and your brain active.

How to stay connected socially

There all kinds of things to do to keep you stimulated intellectually and to stay socially connected. One would be to join a club that you’d be interested in joining. You might be a sewer, love gardening, reading books or even doing art. Some clubs involve these activities. So keeping up with hobbies and meeting new people at likeminded associations while doing them is an excellent way to be socially active.

Also, you could always go back to work. If you feel you’re missing part of who you are, then consider part-time work to fill that void. It will revive your sense of contribution, even though you’ve already contributed so much, as well as stimulate your mind. You may even meet a new friend or two. Going back to school is another idea, many seniors do this and get a senior discount.

Also, you could nurture the social network of people that you already have. Because when you make an effort to keep in touch with family members and close friends by calling, texting or social media; you feel more connected. So plan an outing or luncheon. Get out of the house and talk the afternoon away. If you have friends who live or vacation out of town, send them emails and stay in contact with them through social media. If you aren’t computer friendly, there are classes just for seniors through colleges, libraries, and even assisted living centers to help you.

Another idea is to volunteer in your community. There are lots of organizations who always need volunteers. You can even contact Senior Corps, which will give you connections to local and national organizations who need help that use volunteers. Senior Corps is an organization which is run by the government. By volunteering your time, you can help other people who need it; and make new friends while doing it.

If you live in a community, find out what sort of activities they have going on too. Most communities have a social center where they may have potluck dinners, dances, card games, exercise classes and many more events. Talk to the other residents and see what’s going on the social center near you. They might be doing something that you’ll enjoy regularly doing.

You can also stimulate your mind by playing chess, doing word puzzles and other intellectual endeavors. Playing these games with other people will help you stay socially connected, keep sharp and build relationships with individuals who have similar interests as yours.

By staying socially active, it keeps you fit mentally.

Question: What kind of social activities do you enjoy?

 

References:

https://www.everydayhealth.com/senior-health/enhancing-your-life.aspx

https://www.fountainsseniorliving.com/ways-stay-social-engaged-age/

Coping with COPD for Seniors

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or OCPD, is debilitating and affects both a person’s lifestyle and even how they do their occupation. Not only smokers get this disease but non-smokers too. This condition can damage the brain and the body because of the lack of oxygen intake also, not just the lungs. But if you have OCPD and you learn how to cope with it, you can regain your quality of life. Below are some suggestions on how to deal with OCPD and improve your life then:

  • If you smoke, stop: To keep COPD from becoming worse, quit smoking. Smokers have heard this before, but when COPD becomes worse, it affects your breathing ability.
  • More exercise: It’s difficult to exercise when you feel as if you can’t breathe, plus if you’re a senior, you may have stopped exercising But if you start to exercise, especially if you do aerobics, it can help to reduce your symptoms severity, strengthen your heart and improve your circulation.
  • Eating correctly: Eating right will help you to reduce your weight if a weight issue is one of your problems. This puts less stress on your cardiovascular system. Plus, it gives you more nutrients, and people with COPD need these nutrients to rebuild their bodies. When you have OCPD also, it requires more energy to breathe than it does for a person who doesn’t have So you need the energy that you gain from a good diet. In addition, improving your diet has other health benefits for you.
  • Being social: Since coping with COPD takes a toll on you mentally as well as physically, being social helps you handle it better. Because if you have COPD, you may become depressed because of the limits COPD forces upon you. This can make you more inactive which, in turn, can cause your symptoms to become worse. So, if you socialize, it makes it easier for you to deal with your disease because socializing helps you improve your mental outlook. Plus, if you meet with other people with OCPD in support groups, you can share your experiences and gain information on how other people are coping and what methods that they’re using to improve their lives.
  • Your breathing exercise is important: Since breathing is the main issue with OCPD, there are techniques which can help you with this. There are several breathing techniques provided by the COPD Foundation which can help with pursed-lip breathing and diaphragmatic breathing. These methods will help you use less energy and take in more air when breathing.
  • Pulmonary rehab: Pulmonary rehab is beneficial for people with COPD. These programs, according to the American Thoracic Society, give education on how to improve your life when you have a lung condition. There are programs that educate about the disease and give explanations on how to do more with less shortness of breath. There are also exercise classes for your lungs.

When you have OCPD, giving up isn’t the right option. You can improve your quality of life and breathing ability if you work at it.

Question: If you have OCPD, what are you doing to improve breathing ability?

References:

http://www.caringconnectionmd.com/blog/copd/

http://blog.rehabselect.net/lung-disease-and-seniors-4-tips-for-coping-with-copd

https://www.parentgiving.com/elder-care/living-with-copd/

Living with Arthritis for Seniors

There are two kinds of arthritis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis with osteoarthritis being the most common. There are treatments for arthritis; you can learn to protect your joints, help to reduce discomfort from it, plus improve your mobility. Learning how to conserve your energy and how to do day to day tasks is important also to help you adapt to the disruptions it can bring to your way of life.

What is osteoarthrosis and what you can do to live with it

Osteoarthritis is the most common kind of arthritis and causes the cartilage in the caps of the bones in your joints to wear away. It can also cause stiffness in those joints and swelling. The joint which is involved becomes deformed over time too, and this limits its range of motion. It addition, you can suffer from chronic pain with osteoarthritis. All of these, or even some of these symptoms, can cause disruptions in your daily life. But what can you do about it?

Some suggestions are listed below which might help with your day to day living with arthritis:

  • You have to keep moving: Don’t stay in one position for any length of time for too long. If you’re sitting, get up and walk around or stretch about every 15 minutes or so.
  • Try to avoid stress on joints: Try to stay away from situations which can put stress on your joints. So, opening a jar can be an issue, but you can buy kitchen tools to open jars designed for people who have this disease.
  • Use the strength that you have: When opening a door that you can push open, use the side of your arm or your shoulder to protect the joints in your hands and fingers if that is where the problem is. If you have arthritis in the knees or hips, use the stronger leg leading when going down and the weaker leg when you’re going up stairs.
  • Be sure to plan ahead: You need to keep your life as simple as possible. Take clothes out of the dryer right away to avoid having to iron; or buy wrinkle free clothing. Organize your kitchen and work areas to make things easier for you. Store anything that’s used often within easy reach.
  • Ask for help: Above all, ask for help when it’s needed. Independence is wonderful, but knowing when to ask for help is important too.

What is rheumatoid arthritis and how to live with it

Rheumatoid arthritis is when your immune system attacks the tissue in your joints. This causes painful inflammation and can also affect organs in your body. With chronic pain, it can be difficult to see past the day that you’re living. However, eating healthier and adjusting your lifestyle can be a big help. Also, talking to your doctor can help with medications.

Additionally, improving sleep, exercising and eating a high-fiber, low-fat diet can help.

The cold/heat treatment

Applying the cold/heat treatment can help with either type of arthritis pain. Ice will restrict the flow of blood through the vessels. This will cause fluid reduction in the tissues as well as decrease the swelling and pain. You can wrap ice in a towel and place it on what hurts for up to 20 minutes several times a day.

The heat treatment is used with a heating pad or a hot water bottle. The heat will open the blood vessels and help to increase circulation. This allows nutrients and proteins to repair the tissue which has been compromised.  Done together throughout the day will give you pain relief.

Living with arthritis isn’t easy, but if you take care of yourself, it can be done better.

 

References:

http://www.everydayhealth.com/news/life-changing-tips-from-people-living-with-arthritis/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/7-ways-to-live-better-with-arthritis

http://www.healthline.com/health/chronic-pain/managing-arthritis-pain#coldheat-treatment3

Solving Insomnia in Seniors

When you get older, you may notice your sleeping patterns changing. You may wake up earlier, or go to sleep earlier or sleep less deeply. This is a normal part of aging; however, disturbed sleep is not. Disturbed sleep is when you wake up tired each day no matter how much sleep you get. This symptom of insomnia and others are not normal parts of aging. Yet sleep is needed because it is very important to both your physical and emotional health now as when you were younger. But you can understand how sleep is affected, or not affected, by age to get help with a sleep problem so that you learn how to improve your sleep habits and address problems in this area for a better night’s sleep.

Below are some things to understand about sleep problems:

  • If you are having stress issues, you need to recognize what they are and address the issues. Are you depressed or have you gone through a traumatic experience recently as examples? If so you can also see a specialist.
  • Also to help with sleep, during the day exercise and move around to get your body tired out. If you exercise regularly, it can promote a deeper sleep.
  • Are there any medications that you’re taking which may be affecting the way you sleep? With this, are you having any health issues such as menopause or post menopause, asthma, diabetes, nighttime heartburn or pain? A pharmacist can help with your medications and a doctor with your health problems.
  • Do you have a sleep disorder such as Restless Legs Syndrome, snoring or sleep apnea? These can be treated.

How to improve sleeping conditions at night

There are ways to improve getting enough sound sleep at night. However; since everyone’s sleep problems may be different, you may have to experiment which different changes to find what works for you. So below are some suggestions on how to improve your sleep at night:

  • Boost your melatonin levels. Melatonin is what helps you get to sleep at night. But artificial light can suppress the process which produces it. So, you can use low wattage light bulbs where you can and be sure also to turn off the computer and TV at least one hour before you go to bed. There are additionally melatonin supplements to use for occasional sleep problems.
  • Be sure your bedroom is cool, dark and quiet and that your bed is comfortable. Light, heat and too much noise can cause problems sleeping additionally. If you need to block out light, a sleep mask can help too. Also, if you use your bedroom for just sleeping and sex, your brain will associate your bedroom with those activities.
  • In addition, move any bedroom clocks out of sight. Not only will the light disrupt your sleep, but watching the minutes tick by can cause insomnia.
  • Maintain a sleep schedule which is consistent as well as a regular bedtime routine to get you wound down for sleep.
  • Don’t use or limit sleeping aids since most sleep aids have side effects. Sleeping aides aren’t meant for long term use. Since the pills don’t address the issues, it can make insomnia worse in the long run.

Getting a good night’s sleep isn’t impossible, and these tips may help you. If you’re still having sleep issues though, then talk to your doctor.

 

References:

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/how-to-sleep-well-as-you-age.htm

http://www.aplaceformom.com/senior-care-resources/articles/insomnia-for-seniors