Seniors often struggle to find the right type of exercise that’s easy on the joints and not too rigorous. Low-impact exercise is essential for seniors to stay in good health – as well as get other benefits. However, other low-impact options such as swimming have tricky logistics, such as paying for a membership and traveling to/from a club pool. Chair yoga is growing as a recommended activity for older adults.
For many seniors, exercising at home may be a more convenient and realistic option. In particular, chair yoga is an excellent choice for seniors who want to get low-impact exercise without the hassle. Let’s go over how to get started with chair yoga for seniors.
Benefits of chair yoga
Chair yoga is an adapted version of yoga that’s ideal for seniors and those with chronic pain conditions. Because all movement is done with the support of a chair, seniors won’t struggle to keep their balance or risk falling during movements.
In addition, chair yoga has plenty of health benefits, including:
- Improves flexibility
- Boosts strength
- Enhances coordination
- Prevents falls
- Lowers stress
- Reduces pain
- Improves sleep
These are just a handful of the benefits of chair yoga. The most important aspect is that it’s safe and effective for seniors.
What you need to start chair yoga
The beauty of chair yoga is that you only require a chair. You can do chair yoga anywhere, including at home, at a desk or during a flight.
In order to stay comfortable, you might also wear loose-fitting and stretchy clothing. You don’t have to get any yoga-specific gear: anything that’s comfortable and doesn’t restrict movement is fine.
To do chair yoga, you’ll also need to know the poses. You can read about key poses before practicing them, or you might consider downloading a yoga app or watching a YouTube channel for guided chair yoga classes. Often these materials are free and easy to follow.
Chair yoga poses to get started
When you start chair yoga, you’ll find that the poses are easy to understand. Most are variations of traditional yoga that require stretching your arms or back. Here are some popular chair yoga poses that you can try at home:
- Raised hands pose: Raise your hands towards the ceiling as you inhale. Keep your shoulders relaxed.
- Forward bend: Bend forward from the waist and let your arms and head hang. Rest your hands on the floor.
- Seated spinal twist: Sit facing forward and twist your torso towards the back of the chair. Hold the back of the chair for support, if needed. Repeat on both sides.
- Chair pigeon: Place your ankle on the opposite thigh. Your knee should stay aligned with your ankle. You can hold your foot and knee for support, if needed. Repeat on both sides.
- Chair cat-cow: Place your hands on your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor. Inhale and roll your shoulders to arch your back (cow). Exhale and round your spine, letting your head drop to your chest and your shoulders roll forward (cat).
- Star pose: Stretch your hands and feet into an X (like a star). Reach as far as you can without losing balance.
Remember to start these poses slowly and hold them for 5-10 seconds whenever possible. Chair yoga sessions don’t have to be long either. You can take as little as 10 minutes or as long as 45 minutes to do the poses of your choice.
More yoga resources
If you’re interested in getting more information, the Living Better YouTube channel also has a ton of guided chair yoga classes. Start your chair yoga journey today and get the health benefits in no time.
- Chair Yoga for Seniors, MyCaringPlan, https://www.mycaringplan.com/blog/chair-yoga-for-seniors
- 6 Benefits of Chair Yoga, Do You Yoga, https://www.doyou.com/6-benefits-of-chair-yoga-8-poses-to-get-you-started/
- Five Benefits of Chair Yoga, Allina Health, https://www.allinahealth.org/healthysetgo/move/five-benefits-of-chair-yoga-and-six-poses-to-get-started
Have you ever noticed how bland even spicy food can taste when your nose is stuffed up?
That’s because your senses of taste and smell are intertwined. Taste buds don’t only reside in your mouth and throat; they also line the passage leading from your mouth to your nose. When those taste buds become blocked or damaged, you can’t smell your food, and when you can’t smell your food, it’s harder to taste it, and you may lose your appetite. Losing your sense of smell can affect not only your quality of life, but your safety, as well. Taste, Smell and Safety go hand and hand.
Why do we lose our sense of smell?
As we age, our sense of smell becomes less sensitive, especially for people:
- With Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or kidney disease
- Who regularly and frequently smoke cigarettes
- Who regularly and frequently drink alcoholic beverages
Other events and conditions that can damage or otherwise interfere with our sense of smell include:
- Allergies, colds, and infections
- Nasal polyps (non-cancerous tumors in your nose or sinus cavities)
- Head or neck injury or other trauma
- Neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis
- Side effects of some antibiotics, blood pressure drugs, and other medications
- Certain medical treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy
How can losing our sense of smell affect our safety?
A keen sense of smell is crucial for keeping you safe in a variety of way, by:
- Preventing you from overusing sugar, salt, and other potentially harmful flavorings
- Stimulating your appetite, reminding you to eat and nourish your body
- Alerting you to rotting or curdled food
- Signaling hygienic needs and changes that can affect your health
- Warns you of environmental danger, as with:
- gas from an oven
- smoke from a fire
- potentially dangerous chemical hazards
Why else is our sense of smell important?
While our sense of smell performs the critical function of protecting our physical safety, it also plays a starring role in helping to preserve memory. Smell is our most primitive sense, and it is powerful. Certain fragrances:
- Perfume or cologne
- Motor oil
- Pipe tobacco
- Cinnamon buns
can be attached to vivid memories that you carry with you throughout your life, and which can frequently be evoked by a stray whiff of a similar smell years later.
If you’re not smelling like you used to
If your favorite foods don’t smell the same and no longer excite you, you can try jazzing up your diet by appealing to your other senses. You could add:
- Brightly-colored foods, such as:
- carrots, corn, sweet potatoes,
- grapes, mangos, berries,
- broccoli, spinach, asparagus
- Foods in different shapes and textures, such as:
- Wagon-wheel pasta
- Crunchy peanut butter
- Crispy apple chips
- Flavorful spices and condiments that won’t raise your blood sugar or sodium, such as:
- Sage, rosemary, thyme, mint
- Garlic, ginger, onion, pepper
- Mustard, vinegar, flavored oils
If familiar foods and household items (e.g. soaps, shampoos) don’t smell the same to you, or if people around you are noticing smells that you don’t, speak with your healthcare provider.
*Shmerling, R. H. (2019, June 18). A poor sense of smell might matter more than you thought. Harvard Health Blog. Updated August 16, 2019. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/a-poor-sense-of-smell-might-matter-more-than-you-thought-2019061816857
by Margalo Eden
The third Friday in February is observed annually as National Caregivers Day. This special day was founded in 2015 by the Providers Association for Home Health & Hospice Agencies (PAHHHA). It honors the men and women who provide vital services to individuals and families around the country. Not only are caregivers an important part of the healthcare system, especially for patients who are in long-term or hospice care, but day in and day out, these dedicated individuals commit their lives to care for someone else’s needs.
Across the nation dedicated health care professionals serve those who require long-term or hospice care. National Caregivers Day honors those men and women dedicated to providing these vital services. Caregivers deliver a variety of services from personal care to medical services with compassion and professionalism. Their days may be long and demanding, but they provide support to those who need it most.
Honoring those individuals who aid your loved ones, especially the elderly who often require long-term care, is something we should celebrate year-round. Caregivers have that special kindness gene that enables them to care for people every day, and there are many ways we can show them how important they are in the lives of your loved ones. National Caregivers Day is just one of many ways to show appreciation for these individuals. This year, take time to thank a caregiver for their dedication and care of your loved ones.
National Caregivers Day is the perfect time to acknowledge the dedicated, compassionate people who work as caregivers, but it shouldn’t end there. Simply showing your appreciation throughout the year, even with just a simple ‘thank you,’ can help boost the spirit of these individuals who work tirelessly to provide high-quality care to the loved ones in your life.
As an elderly loved one gets older, everyday life can become more and more challenging. Walking around can become tiresome. Missing a medication can become disastrous. At times, going to the bathroom and cleaning the dishes can become too much. Thankfully, there is an industry that’s entirely devoted to making lives easy for your elderly loved ones—home care for seniors. Hiring an in-home caregiver gives your elderly loved ones the luxury to remain as independent as possible while getting all the help they need.
However, with so many options available and several factors to take into account, finding the right in-home caregiver can become overwhelming. Get your search for the right in-home caregiver off to a great start by keeping in mind the following:
Caregiving is not a one-size-fits-all service
Determine the exact tasks your elderly loved ones need help with. Seniors have diverse needs. For instance, some only need help with household chores like cleaning, cooking, and doing the laundry. Others, on the other hand, might only need help with getting to appointments or running errands.
Is it also possible that your loved one may need assistance with ADLs (activities of daily living) like bathing, getting dressed, or getting in and out of bed. It is also possible that your loved one only needs someone qualified to provide therapies, care for wounds, or administer medications.
Talk to your loved ones about hiring an in-home caregiver
Understandably, many seniors are not comfortable with the idea of having a stranger in their homes. In line with this, it would be a good idea to talk to your loved ones about it. Talking to them can give them time to warm up to the idea of having a new person at home helping them out.
Another way to put your loved one at ease is by checking with the new caregiver now and then or until such time that the caregiver is accustomed to the role and your loved one is comfortable having someone new around. It would also help if you can educate the in-home caregiver about tasks your loved ones want done in a specific way.
Figure out how to pay for in-home care
The cost of in-home care can depend on the help your loved one needs. If your loved one has a life insurance policy or savings, it might be enough to help cover the cost. Ideally, your elderly loved one should have some kind of long-term care insurance. If not, check if Medicare, Medicaid, or other health insurance policies will cover the cost of in-home care.
It would also be a good idea to figure out ahead of time if you can contribute a specific amount to pay for their in-home care. You can also check with other family members if they can and would be willing to pitch in.
Determine the caregiving schedule your loved one will require
Before starting your actual search, it is recommended that you identify the kind of caregiving schedule your loved one needs. You also need to factor in other crucial elements like your budget. Additionally, you also need to identify which days you would need someone to provide care.
If you figure out your loved one will only need help a few hours each day, you can easily determine those times. For instance, if your loved one needs help with just bathing or dressing, you might find it ideal to have someone who’s available in the mornings.
You can hire an in-home caregiver on your own or through an agency
While hiring an in-home caregiver through an agency can be a bit costly, it is also more convenient as the agency takes care of the paperwork, payroll, and taxes. However, if you want to hire someone independently, you can start your search by asking for recommendations from medical staff, friends, or local senior organizations.
You also need to ensure that you hire someone with the proper license and insurance. Performing a background check and asking for references is also considered ideal. You also need to figure out ahead if you want to hire the caregiver as an employee or a contractor. To ensure you are covering all the financial and legal bases, it is recommended that you consult a lawyer or an accountant.
Staying involved is crucial
Ensuring there is excellent communication between you and the in-home caregiver can help warrant your loved one’s needs are satisfactorily met. It will also help if you schedule regular meetings so all the parties concerned will have a venue where everyone can voice out their questions or share their concerns.
It is also recommended that you keep the in-home caregiver informed about any changes in your loved one’s condition and if there are changes in their responsibilities so adjustments are made when necessary. In the same manner, it is also crucial to check with your loved one about the caregiver’s performance so you’ll know if everything is going well.
If your elderly loved one is no longer capable of living an independent and safe lifestyle, hiring an in-home caregiver is one of the best options you can look into. As long as you have all the crucial factors covered, you can rest assured your loved ones can live comfortably and get all the assistance they need.
About the Author:
Sarah Keller is the Content Marketing Strategist of A To Z Home Care, a team of professional home care providers based in Phoenix, Arizona that specializes in long-term care for your loved ones. She enjoys riding horses and camping with her friends and family in her spare time.
Anyone may become dehydrated, but the condition is especially dangerous for young children and older adults. Older adults naturally have a lower volume of water in their bodies, and may have conditions or take medications that increase the risk of dehydration. For seniors, being dehydrated could cause confusion and anxiety, as well as an increased risk of heart disease, infection and falls if not getting enough fluids.
Severe dehydration is serious, and even life threatening.
There are many reasons older adults do not drink enough water. One is that as we age we may lose our sense of thirst, so they may not seem thirsty. Also because of continence issues, frailty or forgetfulness. Below are tips for incorporating more liquids into your daily life for people of all ages.
Avoid soda, coffee, tea, and alcohol.
Your body needs fluids, but not all fluids are equally beneficial. Caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, and some sodas have a dehydrating effect. The same is true for alcohol.
Keep a water bottle handy at all times.
Because seniors can have a diminished capacity to recognize thirst, and some seniors might have difficulty moving around, keeping a full water bottle with you will remind you to drink up each time you look at it.
Drink a full glass of water with any non-mealtime medication.
If you take non-mealtime medication three times a day, this will automatically get you three glasses of water.
Replace water lost through environmental factors and exercise.
Since water is lost through perspiration, keep a water bottle with you when you exercise and when you’re outside in warm weather.
If you hate the taste of water, add a little natural flavor.
There’s no need to pay for fancy water. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon, lime, or orange to flavor your own water. For more variety, try putting some sliced melon or cucumber into a pitcher of water.
Eat foods with high water content.
Fresh fruits and veggies, along with broth, gelatin snacks, ice pops, and Italian ices contain lots of water — and they can help hydrate you.
If you start to feel sick, start sipping water immediately.
Vomiting and diarrhea can dehydrate you. If you can’t tolerate water, suck on crushed ice or an ice pop.
Use a straw or squeeze bottle.
Either method can help when you’re not up to sitting up and drinking directly from a glass.
Drink throughout the day.
Consistent hydration is better than flooding your system with a large quantity of water all at once. Independent seniors need to remind themselves about hydration, and setting alarms at intervals throughout the day can help. You can also leave sticky notes around your home to remind you to drink more water.
Age Safe® Live Well.
Aging. The five-letter word that scares us. Not just because of our physical appearance changing, but our health, especially our cognitive health, begins to deteriorate.
Thankfully there are signs to detect cognitive issues in seniors, as well as ways to prevent or slow down cognitive impairment, such as having a healthy planned lifestyle.
The Warning Signs
We all experience those moments when we walk into a room and forget why we went there in the first place. Or forgetting what you were going to tell someone. However, for seniors, these experiences can be a tell-tale sign of a decline in cognitive skills. Making decisions, concentration and even learning can become harder.
These symptoms may be natural side effects of aging, but sometimes they can be an indication of more serious conditions such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. Due to the severity of these illnesses, you should seek medical advice for you or your loved one immediately to determine what is causing the cognitive distress.
Signs of Cognitive Issues
- Mood Swings
- Trouble recalling people, places, or memories
- Repeating questions/stories
- Difficulty concentrating
- Poor decision making/ judgment choices
- Decline in vision
- Struggling to find the “right words”
- Misplace items on a regular basis
- Having trouble processing things
Remaining active as a senior is imperative not only to physical health but also to cognitive health.
Stress can wreak havoc on our mental health by debilitating learning and memory functioning. Exercising releases endorphins, which helps improve mood and release stress.
Along with physical activities, mental activities help strengthen our brain’s functionality. Reading, taking adult education courses, playing sudoku or crossword puzzles are great ways to keep one’s mind challenged and working in order to help in preventing Alzheimer’s.
Having a healthy diet is not only important all the time, but even more essential for seniors. Healthy breakfasts consisting of eggs, yogurt, fruit, and cereal are a great start to a senior’s day.
Along with a nutritional breakfast, there are other foods that are good for cognitive health.
We’ve all been told to grow up to eat our veggies and for good reason! According to Harvard Health Publishing greens such as kale, spinach, collards, and broccoli have vitamin k, lutein, folate, and beta carotene- all of which are nutrients that promote brain health, even helping slow cognitive decline.
Who knew fatty fish could help with Alzheimer’s?! Fatty fish such as sardines,
Salmon and tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which have been related to lowering the blood levels of a protein that forms clumps in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s: beta-amyloid.
The natural plant tint that helps give berries their color, flavonoids, can help improve one’s memory!
Tea and Coffee
Harvard Health Publishing notes that in a study, those who had a higher caffeine intake scored better on tests of mental functions! Get concentration and mental function from a daily dose of caffeine.
Nuts are a great source of protein and walnuts can be linked to the improvement of memory.
As humans, we need social interaction to promote healthy cognitive health. This becomes even more important as we age.
According to the National Institute on Aging being socially active can be linked to low levels of interleukin-6: “…an inflammatory factor implicated in age-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and some forms of cancer.”
There are many ways seniors can socialize. Visiting with family and friends is a great way to catch up and socialize with ones they love.
If your loved one is in an assisted living facility or nursing home, they can participate in group activities, such as game nights, classes and more. Sometimes these facilities may offer pet therapy which is a perfect way to socialize with four-legged companions.
Intergenerational programs are also a great source of socialization. Facilities or nursing homes may have partnerships with local schools and organizations, which allows seniors to bond with a younger group and learn from them and keep their minds active.
Cognitive issues are scary. But there are ways to prolong the severe effects. If you or your loved one are having trouble with memory or anything related, try some of the solutions above to help slow down cognitive decline.
About the Author
Melissa Andrews is the Content Marketing Strategist for Paradise Living Centers, an assisted living center for seniors with locations in Paradise Valley and Phoenix, Arizona. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and going on hiking trips with her siblings and cousins.