On National Senior Citizens Day we celebrate the people who are part of the fastest-growing demographic in the world. According to the traditional definition, a senior citizen is anyone older than 60 years of age, but this seems relatively young in today’s society! This day was declared to celebrate, honor, and give thanks to all the contributions that generations of individuals have given to their families and communities. Whether it is showing gratitude for a loved one, friend, elder you care for, or close member of your community, take time on August 21st to reach out and show your appreciation.
On August 19th, 1988 President Ronald Reagan declared August 21st National Senior Citizens Day. Here is what he had to say: “For all they have achieved throughout life and for all they continue to accomplish, we owe older citizens our thanks and a heartfelt salute. We can best demonstrate our gratitude and esteem by making sure that our communities are good places in which to mature and grow older.” – President Ronald Reagan
Some great ways to do this could be:
- Taking your loved one out to the movies – everyone can appreciate a nice matinee!
- Creating a video of different family members discussing their favorite memories with the individual.
- Want to get your kids involved? Many local assisted living and nursing homes offer “adopt-a-grandparent” programs, linking up young children with seniors. This is a great way to not only get your kids involved with the community, but also inform them about the significance of Senior Citizens Day.
- Creating a personalized picnic with all their favorite foods.
- Treating your loved one to a nice meal out.
- Offering a helping hand with any small things they need done around the house.
- Something as simple as making a phone call to show how much you love and support them.
- Don’t have someone specifically in mind to celebrate? Volunteer at local assisted living homes or veterans homes.
If you are a senior citizen yourself, well, Senior Citizens Day is all about you. Live a little! Spend time with your favorite people. Treat yourself to an ice cream sundae. Knock something off your bucket list. Or just relax with friends and family. Do whatever floats your boat, because the day is dedicated to you! You’ve earned it!
Happy Senior Citizens Day!
Up to 75 percent of Americans may be functioning in a chronic state of dehydration. This lack of hydration also leads to many other health issues. Every cell in your body needs water to function, but often people don’t realize they’re dehydrated. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Thirst isn’t always a reliable early indicator of the body’s need for water. Many people, particularly older adults, don’t feel thirsty until they’re already dehydrated.”
Most people learn that water exists in three forms – liquid, gas and solid. But there is a fourth form of water called “gel water” that’s the most hydrating. It’s found in plant cells and contains glucose and/or sodium, which helps your body absorb it in the small intestine. This is critical because the small intestine is where 95 percent of water is absorbed into your body.
Gel water can be found in high concentrations in fruits and vegetables like cucumber, celery, watermelon and cantaloupe. One great way to stay well-hydrated is to drink smoothies. Blend fruits and vegetables in a smoothie and add coconut water to provide electrolytes. Drink this hydration-booster every morning, along with 3.5 liters of fluid water throughout the day.
Your body uses water in all its cells, organs, and tissues to help regulate its temperature and maintain other bodily functions. Because your body loses water through breathing, sweating, and digestion, it’s important to rehydrate by drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water.
Fruits and vegetables with the highest amount of water include:
Other foods that contain a high amount of water include:
- cottage cheese
- chicken breast
Consuming foods high in water will help prevent dehydration. However, food alone isn’t likely to provide an adequate amount of water to sustain you in the long term.
Here’s a final hydration boosting tip: Add a handful of ground chia seeds to your smoothie or beverage. Ground chia seeds absorb 30 times their weight in water and turn fluid water into gel water. They also slow the passage of water through your digestive tract, giving the body more time to absorb it.
Water is important to your overall health.
Seniors, family members and homeowners are looking to Age Safe America for trusted information on home safety and aging-in-place solutions.
Age Safe America, LLC and Home Care Association of America (HCAOA) have negotiated an opportunity for all HCAOA Members to be preferred home care providers on the nationwide Age Safe® Services Registry. The Registry refers vetted professionals to aging Americans and their families. Members of the Age Safe Services Registry undergo a “best practices” background screening by their US based partner and/or belong to a reputable industry association and/or carry recognized professional credentials.
The Age Safe Services Registry is the only national network of Senior Home Safety Specialists™ and Aging Services Providers with a focus on home safety and independent living. As a trusted source, Age Safe America receives inquiries from seniors and their adult children looking for a myriad of services, products, recommendations and solutions to successfully grow old in the place they choose; which for 9 out of 10 older Americans is their own home.
The Home Care Association of America is the leading trade association for the home care industry. Since its founding, HCAOA has made standards of care and patient safety central to its mission. Through its Standards and Ethics Committee, HCAOA has developed guidelines for the hiring, screening, training, and supervising of caregivers at all levels, often going beyond what is required by state regulations.
HCAOA membership eligibility requirements highlight the values and practices that separate HCAOA members from other providers in the home care market. For example, HCAOA members are required to hire their caregivers as W2 employees, rather than independent contractors. While families may be tempted to hire caregivers working as independent contractors because they generally work for a lower hourly rate, they often fail to understand that their liability exposure can be even greater as they essentially become their caregivers’ employer.
“Quality home care services is an essential part of a successful aging in place plan, and Age Safe America’s vision and core values align well with HCAOA,” said Phil Bongiorno, Executive Director of Home Care Association of America. “This partnership represents a leap forward in access to full-service care for the millions of seniors choosing to age at home. Our member providers will be able to forge new partnerships with other key service providers, and the Age Safe® Services Registry will benefit from a wider array of home care providers.”
Age Safe America was created in an effort to help reduce and prevent falls and their associated costs. They have positioned themselves as training and consulting leaders with their Senior Home Safety Specialist™ certification. Since 2015 Age Safe America has trained professionals throughout North America, Europe and the Middle East to meet the growing need for home safety assessments and aging in place home modifications. The company has trained healthcare professionals, home care providers, case managers, social workers, first responders, entrepreneurs, industry executives, assisted living communities, realtors, senior move managers, contractors, remodelers, home inspectors, handyman services, as well as staff and leadership of non-profit and Fortune 100 companies.
“We are very excited to initiate this partnership with the HCAOA and its quality membership. So far this year the Registry has seen considerable growth. Currently we are working with other leading industry associations and organizations with the same high level of standards to continue building the Registry nationwide,” said Steven Bailey, Managing Director of Age Safe America, LLC.
About Age Safe America, LLC
Age Safe® America is a national membership, training and advocacy organization. Since 2015 the company has been directed by recognized experts in fall prevention, senior home safety, aging- in-place, universal design, home modifications, environmental assessment, and marketing to seniors and aging boomers. They provide training, consulting, certifications, product reviews, tools, resources and support to businesses and organizations providing products and services to seniors and their adult children.
About Home Care Association of America
Founded in 2002, the Home Care Association of America (HCAOA) is the industry’s leading trade association – currently representing nearly 3,000 companies that employ more than 500,000 caregivers across the United States. HCAOA serves as the home care industry’s unified voice. Representing a diverse number of small, mid-level and large corporations, HCAOA unites the industry through speaking with one voice in Washington, D.C. and state capitals across the country. HCAOA protects industry interests, promotes industry values, tackles barriers to growth and takes on industry-wide issues.
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Are you a caregiver providing support for a spouse, friend, or relative? As we say in the Family Caregiver ESSENTIALS™ course, taking care of yourself is one of the most important things you can do as a caregiver. Even though it can be a challenge, take sure you are making time for yourself, eating healthy foods, and being active. Finding some time for regular exercise can be very important to your overall physical and mental well-being.
Physical activity can help reduce feelings of depression and stress and help you improve your health and prevent chronic diseases. Making a plan and getting exercise onto the schedule with all the other activities can help make it happen.
Here are some ways for caregivers to be physically active:
- Take exercise breaks throughout the day. Try three 10-minute “mini-workouts” instead of 30 minutes all at once, especially to get the reminder of its importance.
- Make an appointment with yourself to exercise. Set aside specific times and days of the week for physical activity.
- Exercise with a friend and get the added benefit of emotional support.
- Ask for help at home so you can exercise. Getting the respite for yourself is invaluable.
- If possible, find ways to be active with the person you’re caring for. Both of you can benefit from physical activity!
Time to move in the right direction this spring season! Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Now that spring is here, it’s a great time to get outside. Try these fun activities from Go4Life to get moving that won’t cost you a dime.
- Spring is a great time to get outdoors! Find new, safe, fun activities fromGo4Life.
If you have encountered a rehabilitation team during your life, whether it is for your loved one, or for yourself, you have experienced them issuing a walker or a cane to assist with balance during recovery of injury or illness. As we age, it may even become part of our everyday existence, first a cane for outside, then a rollator, then progress to a rolling walker even when inside. Heck, they even come in stylish designs and have all sorts of accessories for storage of personal items, or food trays. However, when a person is diagnosed with dementia, does this continue to be the safest option? After all, these mobility aids are meant to aid you in not falling.
Why does this become a dangerous idea for them? For an answer, I referenced Physical Therapy professor Susan Hunter. She believes that using mobility aids are a far more complex cognitive activity than we initially believed. Credit: University of Western Ontario
It seems counterintuitive that the using a mobility aid, such as a cane or a walker, can actually increase the risk of falls in older adults. Yet in individuals with dementia, that’s exactly the case. In fact, people with dementia are three times more likely to suffer a fall when using a mobility aid versus not using one at all. By using a mobility aid a person needs to have a lot more cognitive fitness and capacity. You now have one more object to maneuver around obstacles. This can be compared to texting while driving…how many things can you do at the same time to not cause an accident.
Professor Hunter has studied this question consistently in her academic career and she has found that using a device only increases the cognitive work slightly in healthy adults. The work load increases up to 40% for people with dementia. This is staggering. Does the extra brain work result in increases of instability? Does the patient actively use the walker without extensive cues? Do they forget to put it away, adding another tripping hazard in a hallway or kitchen?
It is important to assess for reasoning skills when a person is using an ambulation device. If a person with dementia is provided with a mobility aid to help physical support, but, this has become a new complex task, does it make them safer and less likely to fall? Can we do a better job of training our caregivers in the use of these aids?
Much of my practice involves safety strategies. I am passionate about fall prevention and accommodations to enable people to remain home. Sometimes this means adding items, grab bars, raised toilet seats, stair lifts, etc. Sometimes this means deleting items, throw rugs, movable obstacles, too many kitchen items for people to manage, etc. If a person is not able to successfully demonstrate reliable, consistent, proper use of a mobility aid, perhaps it is time to rethink the use of it for them.
Kristopher Rench, OT, OTD, OTR/L, CLVT, CMT II, CSHSS
CEO, SeniorSAFE, LLC
Age Safe America Advisory Team Member
Every May, the Administration for Community Living leads the nation’s observance of Older Americans Month (OAM). The 2019 theme, Connect, Create, Contribute, encourages older adults and their communities to:
- Connect with friends, family, and services that support participation.
- Create by engaging in activities that promote learning, health, and personal enrichment.
- Contribute time, talent, and life experience to benefit others.
When Older Americans Month was established in 1963, only 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthday. About a third of older Americans lived in poverty and there were few programs to meet their needs. Interest in older Americans and their concerns was growing. A meeting in April 1963 between President John F. Kennedy and members of the National Council of Senior Citizens led to designating May as “Senior Citizens Month,” the prelude to “Older Americans Month.”
Historically, Older Americans Month has been a time to acknowledge the contributions of past and current older persons to our country, in particular those who defended our country. Every President since Kennedy has issued a formal proclamation during or before the month of May asking that the entire nation pay tribute in some way to older persons in their communities. Older Americans Month is celebrated across the country through ceremonies, events, fairs, and other such activities.
Communities that encourage the contributions of older adults are stronger! By engaging and supporting all community members, we recognize that older adults play a key role in the vitality of our neighborhoods, networks, and lives.
Throughout the month of May 2019, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living (ACL) website https://acl.gov/oam/2019/older-americans-month-2019 will promote #OAM19 with materials to help you #ConnectCreateContribute.