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Staying Fit & Healthy During Winter: Tips for Seniors

STAYING FIT & HEALTHY DURING WINTER: TIPS FOR SENIORS

    For older adults, inactivity can increase the possibility of falling. The risk of taking a tumble can be exacerbated during winter, as inclement weather, snow and ice can lead to reduced physical movement. As a result, the incidents of falls can rise sharply in spring, as seniors increase their activity with the return of pleasant weather.
    To reduce the risk of a fall, there are several preventive measures that can be taken to put the odds in your favor. Staying active is critical. As many physical therapists and chiropractors will tell you: motion is lotion. Moving your body regularly helps keep your joints lubed and your muscles toned, which leads to improved overall health.
    Joining a health club, senior center or signing up for community education classes can introduce you to new friends and lots of activities.

 

Tips to keep active during winter:

  1. Walk indoors at a mall or school. Most malls allow walkers access to the mall before the shopping center is open for regular business hours. Additionally, many schools open their hallways for walkers in the evening on certain nights of the week during the fall and winter.
  2. Swim. Take a water aerobics class or enjoy open swimming at a local indoor pool.
  3. Aerobics. Get your heart pumping and shrug off winter’s chill.
  4. Indoor walking track or treadmill. Most health clubs, many senior centers and retirement communities have walking tracks, treadmills or elliptical machines.
  5. Yoga. If you’re not familiar with yoga, sign up for a beginner’s class and find out what you’ve been missing!
  6. Weightlifting. You can use small 1-2 pound dumbbells to carry when you walk. You can even begin with a can of soup in each hand. The added weight will help you to build muscle and help prevent injuries.
  7. Dancing. Moving your body to music is fun and good for you. Enjoy!
  8. Tai Chi. A low-impact and exceptionally beneficial form of exercise, Tai Chi is great for pain management and stress reduction.
  9. Get outside. On pleasant days, when it’s not icy, walk outside, even if it’s only for a few minutes – just to get the fresh air.
  10. Get an exercise video. There are many videos that require no gym equipment, but offer a good overall workout.

Other things you can do to improve or maintain your health:

  1. Eat a healthy diet. A plant-based diet is probably the single-most important thing you can do for your health. Remember: You can’t out-exercise a bad diet. Think smoothies, salads and lots of fresh delicious veggies!
  2. Stay hydrated. It’s easy to get dehydrated in the winter because the dry air makes us feel hydrated. As a minimum, plan to drink half your weight in ounces, per day.
  3. Get plenty of rest. This seems obvious, but you can’t be at your best if you are tired. Go to bed and rise at the same time every day and resist the urge to nap (which feeds the vicious cycle of not being able to sleep at night).
  4. Meditate. Clear your mind, focus on the present and get in touch with your higher self. There is absolutely no down-side to meditation.
  5. Sit in a sauna several times a week. Infrared saunas help you sweat out toxins and provide relief to aching muscles and joints. In addition to the amazing relaxation benefits of regular sessions in a sauna, frequent users have reported improvement from numerous medical conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
  6. Keep up your social activities. Social isolation is a very real issue in the winter months. Attending classes, joining a health club, going to church and keeping up with friends is integral to maintaining feelings of being involved with something bigger than yourself.

Incorporating several of these tips will help you stay healthy, get ready for spring and help reduce your risk of a fall.

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Seasonal Affective Disorder, not just the winter blues

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a sub-type of depression only symptomatic during certain months of the year. SAD is primarily attributed to the winter months; however, in rare cases can have an impact during the summer months as well. SAD can affect anyone but among those with a greater chance of experiencing it are women and people with a family history of depression. It’s most common in people between the ages 15 and 55 as the chances of experiencing the disorder decrease with age. Also, people living far from the equator are at a higher risk due to the decreased number of daylight hours in the winter.

    Though the cause is unknown, experts believe SAD is directly related to a lack of sunlight which disrupts sleep patterns and creates serotonin deficiencies in the brain. Symptoms for SAD include: decrease in energy, frequent thoughts of death or suicide, irritability/agitation, fluctuations in weight, loss of interest in activities normally enjoyed, etc. The major symptomatic differences between winter SAD and summer SAD are: oversleeping and overeating in the winter as opposed to under eating and weight loss in the summer.
    Light therapy, medication (antidepressants) and psychotherapy are the most common treatment methods. Despite limited research, light therapy remains the most widely used clinical method of treating SAD and experts believe it resets your biological clock. The process uses a special type of indoor light bulb that mimics sunlight therefore correcting the serotonin (the chemical in the brain associated with mood) deficiency. Results are usually seen after a few days, sometimes taking up to two weeks.
    Anti-depressant medication can be used in addition to or alongside light therapy and is recommended for people with severe depression. Though not approved by the FDA, people have also reported positive results using the over the counter supplements St John’s Wart, SAMe, and Melatonin.

    Seasonal Affective Disorder often goes undiagnosed for a lifetime due to people dismissing it as the “winter blues”. Left untreated, SAD can fester and grow into a life-threatening substance abuse problem due to self-medicating. Implement lifestyle changes like more exercise and more outdoor activities. If you or someone you know is suicidal, call 911 immediately or go to the nearest emergency room.

Recover Health, a regional full-service home health care provider, works in collaboration with health care providers by providing a variety of home health care services to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives and healthcare journey.

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COPD Awareness: Spotlight on Prevention & Disease Management


COPD AWARENESS: SPOTLIGHT ON PREVENTION & DISEASE MANAGEMENT

    Over 11 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COPD. The disease impacts not only the person suffering from the disease, but family members and caretakers are affected.

WHAT IS COPD?

    Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a chronic lung disease that is often preventable. Frequently referred to as emphysema or chronic bronchitis, it damages the lungs and worsens over time. The disease affects your ability to work, sleep and perform your normal activities of daily living. COPD most frequently affects smokers and former smokers over the age of 40.

 

PREVENTION

    The good news is that COPD is preventable. Smoking is the leading cause of COPD, so quitting smoking is the single biggest preventive measure you can take. Other contributing factors for COPD include exposure to secondhand smoke, fumes from chemicals, dust and air pollution.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF COPD

    Unfortunately, most people don’t notice any symptoms of COPD until the disease has become advanced. The most common symptoms of COPD are shortness of breath during daily activities, fatigue, blue lips/fingernails, wheezing, tightness in the chest area, or a lingering cough that produces phlegm. Other symptoms include frequent respiratory infections.

LIVING WITH COPD

    At this time, there is no cure for COPD. Therefore, it is helpful to reduce lung irritants by quitting smoking and avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke, fumes and dust.
    After being diagnosed with COPD, your life will change. You will experience physical and emotional challenges. You may experience anxiety, depression or stress. As you learn to manage the COPD, your quality of life will improve. Be sure to see your doctor regularly and take your medications as prescribed. Eat a healthy diet, exercise and get emotional support.

RESOURCES – HELP IS AVAILABLE

    Because of the nature of this disease, it is very important that you understand the disease, follow your doctor’s recommendations, and take your medications as prescribed. Joining a support group, or other supportive environment, will help deal with your emotions as you learn to live with this disease.

Recover Health, a regional full-service home health care provider, works in collaboration with health care providers by providing a variety of home health care services to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives and healthcare journey.

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Mental Illness Awareness Week

MENTAL ILLNESS AWARENESS: SHINING THE LIGHT ON MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES 

Mental illness affects many people, and unfortunately it’s an illness that people seldom discuss openly. Cloaked in shame and embarrassment, many people fear seeking help because they may not want to be thought of as “different” from others. WHAT IS MENTAL ILLNESS?

    Mental illness covers a broad spectrum of conditions related to mental and emotional health. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) defines mental illness as, “a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feelings or mood.” The most common conditions are anxiety, depression, bipolar, and schizophrenia.

COMMON MALADY

    If you do not have a mental illness, chances are you have had a mental illness in the past or you know someone struggling with a mental illness. In fact, 43.8 million adults experience a mental illness each year. That’s a lot of people. When you add friends, family members, and caretakers, the number of people impacted by mental illness is staggering.

REMOVING THE SHROUD OF SHAME

    Many people with a mental illness suffer in silence and do not seek help. Unfortunately, approximately 60% of adults and 50% of youth (ages 8-15) do not get the care they need. Many times, the reason people don’t get help is because there is a stigma surrounding mental illness and they don’t want to be labeled in a negative manner. However, because mental illness is exceedingly common, it is becoming a more mainstream topic of discussion. As a society, we can continue to work toward eliminating the stigma of mental illness by talking about our personal experiences with mental illness, not judging others, or making them feel inferior or inadequate because they have a mental illness. Most importantly, we must recognize that mental illness is just that – an illness.

RESOURCES – HELP IS AVAILABLE

    If you or someone you know is suicidal, call 911 immediately or go to the nearest emergency room. Know that help and hope is available, even though that’s very difficult to see in the midst of a crisis. If the situation is not critical, make an appointment with a physician or a mental health therapist, to get the help needed. Either way, know that mental illness is manageable and, with proper treatment, most people can mitigate their symptoms and regain a sense of hope, dignity, and normalcy in their daily lives.

Recover Health, a regional full-service home health care provider, works in collaboration with health care providers by providing in-home assessments of a client’s unique needs, monitoring compliance with prescribed medications, and alerting health care providers of changes observed in the client’s condition.

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2nd Quarter ICARE Winners!

We would like to thank all of our ICARE Winners for promoting our mission statement in the work that they do. Our mission is to create relationships that make a meaningful difference in people’s lives. Each of our quarterly winners has demonstrated that they are living out our mission and we thank them for that!

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Spotlight Q & A: Recover Health’s ICARE Culture

Spotlight Q & A: Recover Health’s ICARE Culture

Recover Health is a mission driven organization dedicated to activating its philosophy and guiding principles every day. Marketing Director, Recover Health, and Business Development Director, Kristen Akervik, discuss how Recover Health’s staff live this mission every day.

Q: Tell us about Recover Health’s mission. What drives staff to show up and truly make a difference every day?

A: Our mission is to create relationships that make a meaningful difference in people’s lives. We take great pride in coordinating with our referral sources and collaborating with our business partners to provide exceptional service for our clients.

We work at recruiting and retaining individuals who are inspired by the same beliefs and values, and who intend to sustain relationships that truly make a difference in the lives of those we care for, work with, and encounter in our business activities.

Q: What is ICARE? How does Recover Health define ICARE and make it an initiative that is embraced by staff?

A: ICARE is a roadmap to live out our mission and values on a daily basis. We engage our employees with trainings, recognition programs, team building events, and on social media. Recover Health encourages involvement with fundraisers and volunteer opportunities, as well as other community events.

The 4 goals of the ICARE initiative are:

    Increase employee retention and recruitment opportunities
    Create an outstanding and meaningful experience every time, every day, for our clients and customers
    Improve client satisfaction and patient outcomes
    Create a company culture where client and customer experiences through ICARE becomes a market differentiator

Q: What does ICARE mean to staff?

A: Kathleen Cenac shared what ICARE means to her: “ICARE is a means to hold each of us accountable for our actions in and out of the office. It is more than an acronym; it stands as a reminder to treat others how we want to be treated, to live an authentic and positive life. I take ICARE with me everywhere I go, because I never want to go about a day without doing my best to make a difference in someone’s life.”

Q: How do employees bring the ICARE vision to life on a daily basis?

A: We consistently treat people with respect and kindness. We listen, and respond to, our customers and co-workers. Additionally, staff from our 20+ Recover Health offices volunteer at numerous functions within their communities.

Q: What comments have you received from clients that tells you ICARE is being embraced by staff?

A: We have received a lot of very positive feedback. Here are a just a few testimonials from our clients:

 

    “Both of my nurses are very friendly, thorough, and very likable. I am glad to see them when they come. They are also very helpful when I have questions.”
    “All the therapists and nurses were wonderful. They were kind and helpful.”
    “The nurse was very good. I appreciated his kindness and I was very comfortable with him. The follow-up calls to see how I was doing gave me the comfort that I needed.”
    “This healthcare agency is so wonderful. Thank you all!”
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Paraprofessional Appreciation Day at Recover Health

Recover Health dedicated today, July 13th, as Paraprofessional Appreciation Day! We would like to thank all of the Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), Home Health Aides (HHAs), Personal Care Workers (PCA & PCWs), as well as Homemakers for all the hard work provided to the communities we serve. We appreciate our Paraprofessional staff for carrying out our mission by creating relationships that make a meaningful difference in people’s lives.