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WSJ: The Benefits of Pumping Iron in Later Life

24 March, 2015 0 comments Leave a comment

The Wall Street Journal recently reported on Tufts University's new research in to strength training for seniors. Contrary to conventional wisdom that Seniors were to frail to lift weights. More and more research has shown that strength training helps prevent age-related disability, preserve bone mass in women and even improve brain power. 

Wayne L. Westcott, instructor of exercise science at Quincy College provided a great quick overview for those hoping to start strength training over 50:

Set of DumbBells

 

Train: Two or three times a week, with a day of rest between 

Consult: A trainer to ensure you learn proper technique. Also, if you have pre-existing injuries, a trainer can help you modify exercises.

Consider: Using machines, at least in the beginning, to learn correct form. Free wights are effective after you have the basic form down. Free weights can also increase balance and coordination. 

Ingest:  Be sure to eat protein throughout the day, rather than at just one meal. Dr. Apovian, director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Center at Boston Medical Center, recommends ingesting 1.5 grams of protein per Kg of body weight, spread throughout the day. Or simply, take tow thirds of your weight in pounds, and the resulting number is roughly the number of grams of protein a day Dr. Apovian recommends). 

Starting an exercise and weight training routine can seem difficult and intimidating but remember Miram Nelson professor of nutrition at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Boston word's,  "It's way more dangerous to not be active as an an older adult". 

For further health advice please visit Live Oak's Resources section and our News section. 

Lifting Techniques for Home Caregivers

18 March, 2015 0 comments Leave a comment

Orthopedic Associates of Zanesville, Ohio recently shared a brief overview of proper lifting techniques for home caregivers to prevent back pain. 

They focus on the most dangerous activities:

-  Lifting or moving a person

-  Leaning above the patient for long periods of time

-  Positioning a patient in their bed up into a seated position

-  Transferring a person from a bed to a chair

While also recommending the proper lifting techniques:

-  Hold the proper alignment of your neck and head with your spine

-  Maintain the natural curve of your spine

-  Never bend at your waist

-  While carrying a person, avoid twisting your body

-  Keep the patient who is being lifted or moved close to your body

-  Spread your feet shoulder-width apart, which will help you keep your balance

-  Activate the muscles in your legs to lift, never your back

-  And, never be afraid to ask for help. 

These techniques are indeed useful to help prevent back injury while caregiving. 

But, with new no-lift procedures going into affect in many states, transferring or moving a patient without assistance has been considered to dangerous.

Live Oak's full line of Humane Lift transferring, positioning, and lifting solutions are available assist you in preserving both you and the patient's health and safety.  

8 Surprising Sleep Stealers

17 March, 2015 0 comments Leave a comment

Getting a great nights sleep is essential to reach your peak mental and physical condition. But fifty to seventy million U.S. adults report having trouble getting a good night's rest. Grandparents.com has compiled a list of 8 Surprising Stealers to help you avoid these thieves:

Man Unable to Sleep

- Screens

E-readers, Iphones, or mobile screen devices in general emit short-wave, blue light. We would have a difficult describing the difference between short-wave, blue light and long-wave, blue light. But, according to Dr. Michael Breus of the American Board of Sleep Medicine explains it simply "when the blue light hits the optic nerve, it tells the brain to stop producing melatonin" Dr. Breus describes Melatonin as "the key that starts the engine for sleep. This is especially problematic, since as you get older, the ability to produce melatonin becomes even more compromised."  

To avoid the blue light you can read a traditional book or magazine. If you are unable to put your screen down, LowBlueLights.com, offers a number of glasses and products to block these lights. 

- Being Overweight

Your weight can cause you to suffer from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is the condition that can cause your airway to become block or obstructed during sleep. Sleep apnea reportedly affects ninety percent of obese men. The worst part, it goes undiagnosed in as many as eighty percent are undiagnosed. Dr. Breus "Sleep apnea can mask itself as fatigue, trouble with concentration, dry mouth or even depression."

There are a number of treatments available for sleep apnea. There are continuos positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines, they deliver air pressure through a mask that rests over your mouth or nose through the night. Other treatments may also include, oral appliances and mouth guards, losing weight, and an implantable device known as an Inspire Upper Airway Simulation

- Medications

Many common over-the-counter paid relievers include caffeine. Caffeine allows the medication to get absorbed more quickly, but can easily cut into your coffee. Dr. Breus also recommends avoiding daytime cold or flue medicines which can contain pseudoephedrine. Instead look for the medications specifically designed for nighttime use. There are also prescribed medications like diuretic, heart disease, high blood pressure, and ADD medications that can severely disrupt your precious sleep. Talk to your doctor if your experiencing any medication caused sleep problems.

- A Warm Bath

Your body temperature will naturally drop before bedtime, preparing you for sleep. But a warm bath can relax and calm you, but taking a warm bath to close to your bed time will interrupt this temperature drop. The National Sleep Foundation recommends finishing up your warm bay at least an hour before bed time. Also to aid in this cooling process keep your room cool. 

The Mangar Bathing Cushion is an inflatable, affordable, and portable tool for those with difficulty in traditional bathtubs. One may experience the benefits of a traditional warm bath before bed safely and easily.  

- Choosing the Wrong Foods

Having a late night snacks full in salt or fat can stimulate brain waves, bringing on disruptive nightmares. Instead, the National Sleep Foundation recommends choosing foods that contain tryptophan, whole-grain carbs, calcium, and magnesium. Dr. Andrew J. Westwood of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, "Late meals are more likely to make it harder to sleep; snacking in the middle of the night can worsen insomnia. "

- Clutter

Organizing and cleaning your bedroom can easily create a space free of sleep distractions. The pile of dirty laundry can cause anxiety, and trigger you of all of your unfinished business, making it harder to fall and then remain asleep.

- Exercise

Exercising to close to bed time can cause sleep issues. Sleep specialist Dr. Rubin Naiman "Aerobic exercise can raise your core body temperature long after you've finished." Dr. Naiman recommends finishing your exercise at least 3 hours before bedtime. 

- Stress

Stress causes your body to create the hormone cortisol. Cortisol can disrupt he body's natural rhythm. Dr. Naiman, "Cortisol is naturally produced in the morning. It peaks at around 8 am, when it can be helpful to energize us." Dr. Naiman continues "But at the wrong time-like nighttime-it can make us hyper-aroused and disrupt our sleep.

There are a variety of different ways to reduce stress, yoga, meditation, even laughter.  

Medication Management at Home: All Too Common

16 March, 2015 0 comments Leave a comment

Thirdage.com's resourceful blog recently featured a discussion on the growing problem of medication management. With increasing numbers of Americans taking an increasing number of medications, improper medication management has become an all to common problem.

Every week, four out of five Americans take either an over the counter medicine, herbal supplement, or prescription drug.  Thirdage presents the example of Mr. Johnson:

"Mr. Johnson has type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and hypertension. He may take one or two prescription meds for each condition - and then on top of that, he may have other medicines to take occasionally if he has an infection or some other short-term health problem. That's easily five or more medicines at one time."

Thirdage listed a number of common medication errors to avoid:

- Dosage

Dosing mistakes can result from either giving to little or to much of a drug. 

- Chewing a non-chewable pill

When your accidentally break or chew medication that should not be broken. Many medications are designed to not be broken before ingestion. They have a special coating to prevent the pill's medicine from being absorbed too early.

-  Timing

Taking medication at the incorrect time. Many medications need to be taken with food, others with an empty stomach. If you take your medication at the incorrect time can cause serious irritation and problems for your stomach.

- Missing Does

Forgetting to take your medicine is a very common problem. Live Oak's of MedReady Automated Pill Dispensers, the Reminder Rosie, and LED Calendar Clocks will help remind you of your medication schedule. For more information on these and other solutions please visit our Caregiving Aids section. 

-  Misunderstanding Directions

Medication's instructions can become complicated and stressful very quickly. Misunderstanding medication's instructions is a much to common problems. 

For further information about your specific medication and its proper usage please contact your local pharmacist. For further solutions and resources be sure to visit our News section and our Caregiving Aids section

Long Distance Caregiving Tips

12 March, 2015 0 comments Leave a comment

34 million Americans care for older loved ones, 15 percent (roughly 340,000) of caregivers are long-distance. Long-distance caregivers are defined at least being an hour's drive from their loved ones. HealthinAging.org recently gathered some tips for the long-distance caregivers:

- Schedule a family meeting

Gather all of your family members to discuss what each of your responsibilities will entail. 

-  Choose primary caregiver

The designated primary caregiver can look at big picture and determine whether their loved ones is receiving enough care. 

-  Share responsibilities among family members, if possible

Everyone should take turns visiting and helping with chores.

-  Hire a geriatric care manager

Geriatric care managers are licensed social workers or nurses who specialize in the care of older people. They are able to evaluate your loved one's needs and manage their required services.

-  Look into house call services

If your loved one needs regular medical care, but is unable to visit their doctor's office, see if house call visits are available.

-  Ask your loved one to appoint a power of attorney

The power of attorney is the legally assigned person to make decisions on behalf of the older adult is she is unable to do so. The power of attorney ensures that their decisions on finances, legal needs, and health care are considered. 

-  Ask your loved on to report any changes

Any changes in managing daily activities, for example getting in and out of a chair or bed, should be reported to the caregivers and their healthcare provider. 

-  Ask others of help

Ask your loved one's neighbors, friends if they can keep an eye out for your relative. Also see if any local seniors groups are available at www.eldercare.gov or call 1-800-677-1116

-  Use an Emergency Call Button or a specialized phone

Use anything that your loved one can use to contact a caregiver in the event of an accident.

-  Have someone check food storage areas

The kitchen, refrigerator, freezer, and pantry should be double checked to ensure all the foods are not expired.

-  Remember to take care of yourself

Caregiving at times can be quite demanding. But, long distance caregiving can present increased caregivers.  

 For further caregiving resources please visit the American Geriatrics Society's Health in Aging Foundation's website www.healthinaging.org

 And up to date resources, articles, and product features our Live Oak 

Back Pain Exercises & Stretches

11 March, 2015 0 comments Leave a comment

Lower Back Pain Blue ShirtWhether you have strained your back exercising, gardening, lifting a loved one or sleeping the wrong way bak pain typically will go away on its own in a few weeks. But, during those weeks when your pain is not severe enough to visit a doctor, but would like some simple stretches and exercises to bring you back relief.

SpineUniverse.com has compiled an expert reviewed list of stretches and exercises to keep your back "strong, mobile, and flexible": 

 

 

- Pelvic Tilt Stretch

The pelvic tilt stretch strengthens your lower abdominal muscles and stretches your lower back. 

Begin on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor 

While exhaling, flex your abdominal muscles, pushing your belly button down towards the floor and flattening your lower back

Hold the position for 5 seconds

Repeat the pelvic tilt 10 times

-  Knee to Chest Stretch

This stretch can be used to stretch your lower back and hip muscles. This stretch should help reduce pressure on spinal nerves by creating more space for those nerves as they leave the spine. 

Start the stretch on your back

Slowly pull one of your knees towards your chest, use your hands to your leg in the stretch

Hold the position for 10 seconds. You should feel a stretch in your low back and hip. 

Change legs and pull the other knee to your chest, holding for 10 seconds again

Repeat 3 to 5 times with your right and left leg

- Lower Trunk Rotation

The lower trunk rotation stretch will increase flexibility in your lower back and hips. The increased flexibility will lead to greater rotation and mobility for your spine. 

Start the lower trunk rotation on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor

Put your knees together and bring them both to one side. While your feet should stay on the floor. 

Hold the Lower Trunk Rotation for 3 to 5 seconds

Contract your abdominal muscles while bringing your legs to the opposite side, hold for 3 to 5 seconds

Repeat the stretch 5 to 10 times on either side

- Hamstring Stretch

Tight hamstrings can lead to lower back pain. The hamstring stretch will decrease tension in your lower back and back of your leg. 

Start the hamstring stretch on your back

Keep your legs as straight as your can, pull them up until you feel a comfortable stretch. Using a towel now will help you pull. 

Hold the stretch for 10 to 20 seconds

Alternate the stretch to your other leg, hold the stretch for 10 to seconds

Repeat the stretch 3 times on each side

- Bridge Stretch

The bridge stretch strengthens your hip muscles and low back, helping to stabilize your spine. 

Start the bridge stretch laying on your back with your arms at your side. Bend your knees and lay your feel flat on the floor. 

Slowly raise your hips off of the floor. Stretch and contract your hamstrings and your glutes.

Hold the stretch for 3 to 5 seconds

Repeat the bridge 10 times

For more health and caregiver resources be sure to visit Live Oak's blog. 

Also visit our entire line of Humane Lift patient positioning, transferring, and lifting solutions to aid caregivers and their muscoskeletal health. 

 

How to Help a Senior Downsize

06 March, 2015 0 comments Leave a comment

Downsizing from a multi-story home to a condo or apartment can be a challenging transition. After spending decades gathering memories, records, photos, and "stuff," downsizing by a significant amount is a daunting task.  

Seniors Moving Cardboard BoxesMarni Jameson of Nola.com features an organization that can help, the National Association of Senior Move Managers. The Senior Move Managers Association can put you in contact with one of their 1,000 members  throughout North America. Lee Switz of Richmond, VA used the Association to find a loyal Move Manager Door to Door Solutions. "They were very, very helpful," she said "They helped us figure out what to get rid of and got rid of it. Our children wanted very little... You learn that no matter what you have, nobody wants it anymore." Mary Kay Buysse, executive director for the National Association of Senior Move Managers, has seen the association from 66 members in 2006.

Now with over 1,000 members, Buysse has extensive experience with Senior downsizing and offers these tips: 

-  Bring in an Outsider

Parents will always treat and see their children as their children. With the grown child managing the move, this relationship can become quickly strained. Having an unbiased third party can significantly reduce this strain.

-  It Gets Easier

First start with the home's easiest places. Whether this their basement, kid's bedrooms, or garage, downsizing will become easier and easier.

-  Attitude is Everything

Voluntary downsizing is of course less stressful than being forced. 

-  Find the Silver Lining

Buysee: " At first glance, moving into a smaller home or into assisted living may seem to seniors like their independence is shrinking, but it's actually expanding..... Going to the right level of care can expand independence and quality of life and extend life."

-  For A Fee

Senior move managers typically charge between $25 and $60 per hour. From a recent Association survey, 82 percent of managers spend between 17 and 33 hours per client.

-  Allow Time

For many it took decades to build a home. Just because they are moving does not mean you need to have everything gone within two weekends. "Give the process the dignity it deserves. But do keep moving".  

For more helpful tips, resources, and articles be sure to visit Live Oak's Blog here

Healthy Back Habits for Caregivers

05 March, 2015 0 comments Leave a comment

Caregiving full-time or part-time is a noble, unselfish and many times challenging role.

But what effect can this role have on the caregiver's long-term health?

Researchers in Thailand completed a study focusing on the health needs of caregivers. 

They found in their sample of full and part time caregivers, that the adult caregiver's health and well being went mostly unnoticed. Their 2012 study, continues to recommend ways to improve the physical and mental health of caregivers all around the world. 

After studying over 60,000 surveys from adult caregivers, researchers found high levels of lower back pain and psychological distress.

Male full-time and part-time caregivers had a higher chance of poor psychological health and lower back pain than men who were not caregivers. While women who were full or part-time caregivers, were also more likely to experience psychological distress and lower back pain. But, female caregivers suffered from poorer self-assessed health than women who were not caregivers. 

The researchers also found much more extensive training in the healthcare field's caregivers. Those professionals have gone through extensive training to protect their spine and back's health while lifting, working with patients, and moving the patients. 

But, at-home caregivers need to pay special attention to their back's while caregiving. Be sure to remember proper lift technique, gentle back exercises, and regular back stretches. Getting into these habits as soon as possible can prevent any long term lower back pain. 

Also, be sure to visit Live Oak's line of Humane Lift solutions.

Humane Lift offers a variety of positioning, transferring, and lifting tools to keep patients and caregivers safe and healthy. 

 

Fall Prevention: 7 Exercises for People With Arthritis

04 March, 2015 0 comments Leave a comment

EverydayHealth.com recently produced a detailed slideshow featuring 7 exercises for those suffering from Arthritis. With the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimating that as many as one in three adults over age 65 fall each year. 

Arthritis can increase one's chances of falling because it often will cause weakening of the muscles that control your stability and balance

Those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are especially at risk. Along with those suffering from joint pain, because you may change your gait to compensate from the discomfort. " The way you change your gait may cause you to lose your balance and fall" Sharon Kolanski, MD, head of rheumatology at Cooper University Hospital. 

Many of the below activities have been found to improve stability and mobility in people suffering from Arthritis. Hopefully one of these exercise will assist you with your condition. 

-  Tai Chi

    Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese martial art. It features very slow and steady movements aimed to increase your balance and strength. 

    A South Korean study of women with osteoarthritis found that the strength in their knees and their bone's density improved after six months of tai chi practice. The subjects were also less afraid of falling. “There is good evidence that tai chi can be good for fall prevention,” Dr. Kolasinski confirms. “It comes from the fact that it focuses on balance and strength.” 

    Here is a great example of a Tai Chi exercise workout tailored for fall prevention:

     

      

    -  Water Exercises

      Water exercises are a fantastic way for people suffering from arthritis to move and use these muscles without stressing or worsening the joint's pain. 

      A Canadian medical study found that those with osteoarthrits lowered their risk of falling with two water exercise classes a week. 

      Dr. Kolasinski adds the additional benefit of heated water on your aching joints.

      -  Balance Exercises

        Balance Exercises include standing on one foot, hip extensions, walking heel to toe, and back leg raises. These exercises do not need any special equipment and can be done in your bedroom. 

        For further reference and demonstration check out our feature on the 8 part Fall Prevention YouTube video series here. 

        -  Walking

          For older adults, walking one of the simples and best endurance exercises. 

          Walking will get your breathing and heart rate up for an extended period of time.

          It is low-impact and can help one increase their stability.  

          -  Weight Training

            Start small, as small as lifting an eight ounce soup can and slowly work your way to a ten ounce soup can. Gradually increasing your weight training regiment while specifically targeting those muscles surrounding the joints with osteoarthritis.  

            -  Yoga

              Temple University researchers found that women 65 and older after nine weeks of yoga were more stable on their feet. 

              A second study at Johns Hopkins University reported that after eight weeks of yoga their swelling and joint tenderness reduced in people with rheumatoid arthritis. “When you lower your pain, you reduce your risk for falls,” Dr. Kolasinski says. 

              -   Stretching

                  Stretching is a simple way to improve your flexibility and, from there stamina and balance for preventing falls. 

                  The Arthritis Foundation urges 15 minutes of stretching every day. 

                  Stretch your neck, upper arms, lower back, chest, shoulders, calves, hips, and thighs. 

                  With each stretch, start slowly and work to the desired position. Hold in the desired position, 10 to 30 seconds. Repeat and try to stretch the pose further each time. Three to five stretches per body region is recommended. 

                  For more Fall Prevention resources and articles please visit our blog

                  Eating Nuts May Lengthen Your Life

                  04 March, 2015 0 comments Leave a comment

                  Every week medical researchers are revealing new discoveries in our diet and its impact on our length and quality of life.  

                  This week researchers in both the United States and China evaluated the diets of more than 200,000 people. Their findings, published in the Jama Journal of Internal Medicine this month, found that nut consumption was related with a lower risk of premature death from heart disease and other causes. 

                  The March 2nd study, featured in US News and World Report, lends support to previous evidence of the immense heart health benefits of nuts. 

                  Researcher Dr. Xiao-Ou-Shu , associate director of global health and professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University, adds their findings are "based on an observational study".

                  The team of researchers cannot prove cause-and-effect with certainty. 

                  She continues: "That said, the totality of evidence from nutrition and health research  suggests that nut and peanut consumption can be considered a healthy lifestyle choice."The subjects who ate the most nuts, peanut butter and peanuts reduced their risk of early death from heart disease and all other causes by about 20 percent, compared to the subjects eating the least. 

                  "Because peanuts [which do not grow on trees] are much less expensive than tree nuts, as well as more widely available to people of all races and all socioeconomic backgrounds, our study finding suggests that increasing peanut consumption may provide a potentially cost-efficient approach to improving cardiovascular health," Dr. Shu said.

                  "Nuts are rich in nutrients, such as unsaturated fatty acids, fiber, vitamins, phenolic antioxidants, arginine and other phytochemicals," Shu said. Which are all known to help heart health, she said, by decreasing inflammation.

                  For further information about the study, click here for Jama's full study. 

                  And for the full US News World Report Article Click Here

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