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Chances are, most senior citizens have spent much of their lives taking care of others. From raising children to caring for their spouses to eventually helping their own parents, caregiver has probably been one of the big titles theyve held. But what about caring for themselves? In the past several years, the phrase self-care has become a part of the English lexicon. While it might seem self-explanatory - caring for oneself, it can go a little deeper than that. Self-care is not only doing things such as caring for your body; it also means caring for your own mental health and taking care of your overall well-being. Some seniors, whove spent their lives working to help others, might view it as selfish. But it is the opposite. It is important for the enjoyment and health of their lives. For example, for seniors, it can mean making decisions that improve the overall quality of their lives, their health care and their living situation. Prioritizing this can be especially important for seniors who are facing many changes in their lives, many highs and many lows along their aging journey.Here are some ideas for self-care for senior citizens.Relieve StressWhether it is a walk through nature or a steaming hot cup of tea, finding something that helps relieve stress is important for senior citizens. Maybe your stress relief is watching a funny television show. Take an afternoon to binge-watch one of your favorites and help relieve some of your stress as you laugh it away. Dont feel selfish for taking time for yourself that will make you feel better.Saying No When NeededWhile many seniors jump at the chance to have some fun with family or friends, sometimes they just dont feel like it. While they might love Fishermens Village on a normal day, sometimes the thought of leaving the house and all of that activity might be too overwhelming. It is okay to say no once in a while. If the idea is overwhelming, you can skip some events or tasks. Maybe your grandchildren are asking you to help sew their Halloween costumes, but you just cant do it because of your painful arthritis this year. It is ok to ask for some help with the task if you arent feeling up to it or if it will stress you out too much. Instead, maybe suggest doing it together and teaching someone else in the family to do the task and the parts that might be hardest for you to do.ExercisingA wonderful form of self-care is exercising your body. It makes you feel better afterward when you do it both physically and mentally. Take time out of your day for a leisurely walk or to splash in the pool. Getting your body moving is self-care.Hobbies for FunMaybe there is a hobby youve always wanted to try, such as photography. For you, picking up a camera and shooting beautiful pictures is a way to soothe your artistic soul and a form of self-care. Or maybe there is a hobby youve always loved but never had the time for while the kids were growing up. Take it up again to make your soul happy. Go fishing and spend hours on the water. Or start making mosaics again like you used to. Do something that you enjoy doing.Time OutsideTake some time to feel the sun and warmth on your skin. Feel the breeze in your hair. Maybe even slip off your shoes and ground yourself in the sand or on the grass. Getting outside is a form of self-care. Put the tasks you feel you need to complete that day aside for a bit, and take some time to enjoy the outdoors and the scenery of beautiful Southwest Florida.We Can HelpAt Visiting Angels, our professional and compassionate caregivers can help the seniors in your life focus on self-care, and anything else they might need help with. If you are looking for help caring for your senior Visiting Angels Punta Gorda is here to help. Our in-home caregivers provide a variety of home care services, including helping seniors get ready each morning, helping them do the things they enjoy each day, and helping with specialty care, including fall prevention and dementia care.Our highly-regarded team of caregivers serves clients in Punta Gorda, North Fort Myers, Boca Granda, Cape Coral, Sanibel, Captiva, Arcadia and surrounding areas. To use our services or to learn more, call us at 941-347-8288, or fill out an online form here.
The holidays are quickly approaching, and no matter your age, the excitement and anticipation often build around this time of the year. It is a great time of the year to plan fun and special events with your aging loved ones. From tried and true family traditions to trying out the new, there are many ways to have holiday fun with your senior loved one. Here are some suggestions.Warm From the InsideNothing says the holiday season like a cup of hot cocoa or a specialty holiday coffee drink, even in warm Florida. There is just something about a warm drink that exudes comfort. Taste test some of the fun holiday concoctions, such as a gingerbread latte or a black and white peppermint mocha, with your senior loved one. If tea is more your thing, you can try a Holly tea, with tea harvested right in Florida by Youpon Brothers at Downtown Kava. The cafe, which, of course, also serves coffee, is right in the heart of Punta Gorda. You can even sip your hot drink on the outdoor covered patio Florida style and look at the holiday decorations adorning the nearby palm trees. If your senior loved one would prefer to sit on the patio full of poinsettias at home, you can make your own creations there, too. From hot cocoa infused with candy cane pieces to eggnog-spiked coffee, the choices to put in your mug are endless.Hit the TownFor some holiday fun, there are plenty of things to do with your senior loved one in the area. Many of the activities can even be done within the comfort of your car if your favorite senior is having mobility issues. For example, you can simply head out when its dark outside and drive through the neighborhoods looking for Christmas lights. Make your own contest among the passengers in the car, voting for your favorite, the brightest and most gaudy.For a more intense light show all in one spot, head to the Charlotte County Fairground this year for the debut of The Wonderland of Lights. There will be hundreds of dazzling light displays shining brightly from December 1 to 30. It will be open each night from 6 to 9 p.m., and the cost to enter is per vehicle.Other ways to have fun with your senior loved one on the town are to hit the local shops or special holiday fairs, including the Thanksgiving weekend craft festival in Punta Gorda, where you can start or try to get all of your shopping done in one outing.Cozy at HomeOne of the best holiday feelings is being at home surrounded by your loved ones in a house decorated for the season. Plan some cozy fun at home for your senior loved one this year, especially if they are having mobility issues and feel safer in the comfort of their own home. You can decorate their space with lights and ribbons to make it more festive, and then enjoy the atmosphere snuggled under a cozy blanket watching a holiday film. Ask them about their favorite holiday film growing up, and then watch that classic. Maybe youll want to introduce them to a more modern favorite of yours. Even if the weather is fairly warm outside, you still can hibernate indoors in a cozy atmosphere with candles and lights.You and your senior loved one can do holiday crafting at home. Making decorations for the tree is fun, whether it is construction paper chains of red and green or pipe cleaners twisted to make stars or antlers on a reindeer.Baking up holiday favorites is a great way to enjoy the season with your aging loved ones. You can bake favorite Christmas cookie recipes that are a tradition in your home, or you can try some new recipes youve found while flipping through magazines or browsing the internet. Find out if theyd really like to make the fruit cake again that no one likes, or maybe theyd like to try to bake a homemade pot pie. Have fun and taste-test the results together.We Can HelpIf youre looking for help with your senior loved one this holiday season, we can help. Our professionals at Visiting Angels Punta Gorda provide a variety of home care services, including companionship during the holiday season, which can often be lonely for seniors. We also can help with personal care to get your loved ones bathed and dressed for holiday events. Visiting Angels also has specialty services, including respite care, safe and steady fall prevention and dementia care.Our professionally trained caregivers serve clients in Punta Gorda, North Fort Myers, Boca Grande, Cape Coral, Sanibel, Captiva, Arcadia and surrounding areas. To learn more about our services at Visiting Angels, call us at 941-347-8288 or fill out an online form here.
Pneumonia is a Serious IllnessDid you know that adults over 65 are much more susceptible to pneumonia than those who are younger? It is important for people with elderly loved ones to know how to lower their risk in developing serious illness by helping them get the right kind of care. Pneumonia can be very serious and, in fact, is the most common cause of death in developing countries(Opens in a new window). It is ranked by the American Lung Association as the eighth leading cause of death in the United States. Each year, about 1.5 million people(Opens in a new window) in the US have to go to the emergency room with pneumonia, and about 55,000 people die from this illness.What is Pneumonia?An infection of the lungs, pneumonia can be viral, bacterial or fungal. Pneumonia happens when your lung tissue becomes inflamed and the air sacs fill with fluid or pus.When someone has a mild case, with less severe symptoms, it is known as walking pneumonia. However, some more serious cases of pneumonia may require hospitalization for treatment and symptom management. There are four subtypes of pneumonia:Bacterial pneumonia is most often caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae. This type of pneumonia can affect anyone and in severe cases can lead to hospitalization(Opens in a new window). Doctors treat bacterial pneumonia with antibiotics.Viral pneumonia is caused by a virus. Common viruses that can lead to viral pneumonia include cold and flu viruses, RSV, and COVID-19. (Opens in a new window)This kind of pneumonia comes on more slowly than bacterial pneumonia, and involves sneezing, congestion, and wheezing. It does not usually require any specific treatment except symptom management, and often resolves on its own.Mycoplasma pneumonia is also called atypical pneumonia, or walking pneumonia. Caused by a specific bacteria called Mycoplasma pneumoniae, this type of pneumonia does not typically cause severe symptoms.Fungal pneumonia is caused by fungal spores. It is not contagious, but occurs when spores mix with the air and are inhaled(Opens in a new window). It can also happen when dormant fungal infection becomes active again. It primarily affects people with weaker immune systems, including adults over the age of 65. Fungal pneumonia can be treated successfully with anti-fungal medications, but if it is left untreated, it can become serious or even fatal.What are some symptoms of pneumonia in the elderly?Pneumonia symptoms(Opens in a new window) vary depending on the cause and severity of the pneumonia, as well as the age of the patient. In adults, bacterial pneumonia can cause a high fever, cough with yellow, green, or bloody mucus, fatigue, shortness of breath, rapid breathing, sweating or chills, rapid heart rate, chest or abdominal pain, diminished appetite, bluish skin, lips, and nails, and confusion or an altered mental state. Viral pneumonia can cause the same symptoms as bacterial pneumonia, but it also frequently has symptoms like a dry cough, headache, muscle pain, or extreme fatigue or weakness. However, people over the age of 65 may have less noticeable symptoms of pneumonia(Opens in a new window), but it may cause symptoms of ongoing health conditions to worsen. Older people may also experience low appetite, fatigue, and a sudden change in mental state.Is pneumonia contagious?This is a trickier question than you might think. Pneumonia itself is not contagious, but some of the causes of pneumonia(Opens in a new window) are. For example, Streptococcus pneumoniae is very contagious and can be spread by touching infected surfaces or through coughing and sneezing. Often, people in hospitals or long-term care facilities contract pneumonia through the spread of bacteria. This is called hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) or healthcare-associated pneumonia (HCAP).Who has the highest risk of pneumonia?While anyone can contract pneumonia, some are at higher risk than others. People with high risk factors(Opens in a new window) for pneumonia include:People over age 65 and under the age of twoThose with a lung or heart conditionPeople with a neurological condition that makes it hard to swallowSmokersPregnant womenThose with a weakened immune systemPeople in the hospital or who live in a long-term care facilityWhy are older people more likely to contract pneumonia?There are several factors that make older people more susceptible to pneumonia(Opens in a new window) than younger people. First, they often have weak immune systems, and may not even notice signs of pneumonia like chills, shortness of breath and chest pain. Whats more, as we age, our lung capacity diminishes, which makes it harder to cough out mucus and clear infections. Older people who live in an assisted living facility or nursing home are at risk of community acquired pneumonia, because they are exposed to potentially infected residents, visitors and workers. People with dementia or Alzheimers disease may not be able to communicate that they are not feeling well, allowing pneumonia to worsen because it goes unnoticed.What makes pneumonia dangerous for older people?As people age, they are more likely to develop chronic conditions such as heart disease or COPD. When a persons already weak immune system encounters even a mild case of pneumonia, underlying conditions can exacerbate and become life-threatening.Can pneumonia be treated at home?Mild cases of pneumonia can be treated at home, without medication, but severe cases need medical attention and, sometimes, hospitalization. Viral pneumonia is generally treated with rest and symptom management, however antiviral medication may be prescribed in certain cases. While antibiotics are typically necessary to treat bacterial pneumonia, there are some things you can do at home to make a person with pneumonia feel more comfortable and to help with their recovery.Over the counter medicines can help, but caution should be taken when using cough suppressants, because coughing actually helps expel mucus from the lungs. Its not advisable to completely suppress coughing, then, though it can be helpful to use a cough suppressant to help the person with pneumonia get some sleep. Before taking any over the counter medications or herbal supplements, talk to your healthcare provider to make sure these remedies will not interact with any of your prescribed medications.There are also some natural remedies(Opens in a new window) that can ease pneumonia symptoms, including:Peppermint or eucalyptus tea can help with a sore throat, coughing and hoarseness, and ginger tea reduces nausea.Staying cool, using a cool, damp cloth, a fan and light bedding can reduce discomfort.Using a humidifier may make it easier to breathe.Staying hydrated helps replenish fluids that have been lost through sweating or vomiting. Additionally, drinking plenty of fluids can help thin and loosen mucus and phlegm.Propping a person up with pillows can improve his or her breathing.Eating certain foods can help a person with pneumonia to regain his or her strength, like chicken or lentil soup.If you are caring for someone with pneumonia, make sure to use good hygiene practices. Always wash your hands before preparing food or touching the person who has pneumonia. Additionally, do not allow any visitors who have colds or coughs. Look for signs that pneumonia is improving, like a return to a normal temperature, less coughing or feeling like returning to normal activities. If the pneumonia does not seem to be improving, though, do not wait to seek medical attention.What are the complications of pneumonia?There are several different complications that can occur with pneumonia(Opens in a new window), which is why it is so important to monitor worsening symptoms and seek the care of a doctor when necessary.Bacteraemia happens when a bacterial infection enters the blood stream sometimes spreading to other organs.A lung abscess, a cavity filled with fluid, can develop in the lungs.Pleurisy occurs when the membrane protecting the lungs becomes inflamed and swollen. The fluid from this inflammation can become infected, which is called empyema.Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome is a type of respiratory failure resulting from lung injury and requiring a mechanical ventilator and supplemental oxygen.Fortunately, with the proper medical attention, pneumonia can be successfully treated, and these complications can be avoided. Taking preventive measures is also a good way to remain healthy and avoid pneumonia.Can pneumonia be prevented?While you cannot completely eliminate the risk of pneumonia for an older person, there are some things that can be done to help prevent it(Opens in a new window).Recognize the symptoms. Because older people often do not have the classic fever, chills, and cough of pneumonia, it is important to notice symptoms like weakness, confusion, delirium, or dizziness. Because it may be difficult to recognize symptoms of pneumonia in an older adult with pre-existing conditions, be vigilant about noticing changes in your loved ones health, so that youll know when to see a doctor.Maintain good hygiene. Wash your hands frequently and encourage your loved one to do the same. If hand washing is not possible, use hand sanitizer to help prevent the spread of illness. Make sure your loved one is maintaining good dental hygiene, because oral and dental infections can sometimes lead to pneumonia. Be extremely cautious with the people who visit your loved one and help keep sick people from visiting. Routine illnesses like colds, flu and respiratory infections, along with more serious illnesses like measles and chickenpox, can all lead to pneumonia for an older person.Encourage your older loved ones to be immunized. It is advised that people at increased risk for pneumonia get the pneumonia vaccine(Opens in a new window), but it is also important to be vaccinated against other illnesses that can lead to pneumonia, like the flu and COVID-19.Avoid smoking. Encourage your loved one to quit smoking if that is an issue, and do not smoke around older people.Promote a healthy lifestyle. All people, but especially older people, need plenty of rest, a nutritious diet, and regular exercise to help keep the immune system strong.How can in-home care services help when your older loved one has pneumonia?About 20 percent of people with pneumonia(Opens in a new window) end up having to go back to the hospital within 30 days of being diagnosed. A person with pneumonia is also at a higher risk of additional conditions(Opens in a new window) that can make it more difficult to get well without help. However, having proactive, team-based home healthcare can help older people avoid rehospitalization and recover from pneumonia successfully. Home care, like the care provided by BrightStar Care, involves educating patients and their families about pneumonia and how to monitor symptoms, follow a care plan, take medication, improve wellness, and stay healthy. A team of specially trained home healthcare professionals can ensure that the patient understands the plan of care, the family feels comfortable with the patients self-management of the illness and the physician is kept in the loop. Because home healthcare professionals know how to look for and communicate changes in symptoms, they are able to stay ahead of the pneumonia and help prevent it from worsening.Find a BrightStar CareLocation Near YouLooking forin-home care servicesorassisted livingfor your loved one or areliable medical staffing partnerfor your organization? Our experienced local care team members are ready to help.Find a locationnear you,contact usonline, or call 866.618.7827 to speak with a local care expert and learn more about how BrightStar Care offers A Higher Standard.
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