Thursday, December 29, 2016


YOUR BRAIN ON STORIES      


Prevention Magazine – September 2016

What engages more of your brain than music or math?  University of California, Berkeley, researchers have discovered that it’s storytelling.  Their studies show that listening to story podcasts activated sensations, emotions and memories not on just one side but across the entire brain, thereby upending right brain/left brain theory.

“Understanding a story requires access to all kinds of cognitive processes – social reasoning,  spatial reasoning, emotional responses, visual imagery, and more,” says study author Alex Huth.  The findings may one day help scientists “read” the brains of people who can’t speak due to stroke or disease.

The general stages of Alzheimer’s disease

Written by Mary Ellen Ellis and Valencia Higuera
Medically Reviewed by
Timothy J. Legg, PhD, CRNP on November 21, 2016

The typical progression of Alzheimer’s disease is:

Stage
Average time frame
mild, or early stage
2 to 4 years
moderate, or middle stage
2 to 10 years
severe, or late stage
1 to 3 years


 

Doctors also use Dr. Barry Resiberg’s seven major clinical stages from the “Global Deterioration Scale” to help with diagnosis. There is no universally agreed upon staging system, so healthcare providers may use the one that they are most familiar with.

 

Mild impairment or decline

The symptoms of Alzheimer’s are less clear during stage 3. While the entire stage lasts about seven years, the symptoms will slowly become clearer over a period of two to four years. Only people close to someone in this stage may notice the signs. Work quality will decline, and they may have trouble learning new skills.

Other examples of stage 3 signs include:

·         getting lost even when traveling a familiar route

·         finding it hard to remember the right words or names

·         being unable to remember what you just read

·         not remembering new names or people

·         misplacing or losing a valuable object

·         decreasing concentration during testing

MAXIMIZE YOUR MEMORY WITH BERRIES

Prevention Magazine Insert

 

Finding your memory a bit fuzzier than it used to be?

The first word to remember to sharpen your memory is flavonoids.  These are the amazing healing compounds found in fruits and vegetables.  Berries and some vegetables are particularly rich in a type of flavonoid called anthocyanins, which directly affect the area of the brain associated with learning and memory.

 

Berries and some vegetables (see list below) have been shown to naturally block an inflammatory enzyme called COX-2, which is the main promoter of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.  No wonder studies show that frequent consumption of these delicious berries and  vegetables delay cognitive aging by as many as 2.5 years.

 

Plants rich in anthocyanins are Vaccinium species, such as blueberry, cranberry, and bilberry; Rubus berries, including black raspberry, red raspberry, and blackberry; blackcurrant, cherry, eggplant (aubergine) peel, black rice, Concord grape, muscadine grape, red cabbage, and violet petals.

Eat This Way and Avoid Alzheimer’s

Prevention Magazine, July 2015

                                                    

People who tried the new scientist-designed MIND diet lowered their risk of Alzheimer’s by 53%.  Eat this many weekly servings of the following nine foods.

Whole Grains (21)

Packed with fiber to fuel a productive brain.  Aim for 3 servings a day.

Berries (2)

Thanks to their flavonols, they’re the only fruit that can slow brain decline.

Beans (3)

Plenty of fiber, plus low-fat protein for growing brain cells.

Leafy Greens (6)

Full of antioxidants and carotenoids to protect gray matter.

Poultry (2)

Delivering dementia-preventing B vitamins and low-fat protein.

Nuts (5)

Rich in vitamin E, which has been shown to lower risk of Alzheimer’s.

Other Vegetables (7)

Packed with plant-based antioxidant power.

Fish (1)

Rich in brain-cell-fortifying omega-3 fatty acids.

Wine (7)

Alcohol reduces dementia risk. Stick to 1 glass a day.

·         And use olive oil for cooking and dressings, for its memory-protecting polyphenols.

Red meat:                                                           4 times a week or less

Fast food, fried food, and cheese:            less than once a week

Butter or margarine:                                      less than 5 times a week

 

Monday, October 3, 2016


Time for your fall checkup!
~ Kyla Kelim, Aging in Alabama, Elder Attorney
 

We are pretty good about checkups. On your calendar, no doubt, you have appointments for physical checkups, eye checkups, dental checkups, HVAC checkups and even vehicular checkups. The one thing you may not have is your Medicare checkup, available for the next 9 weeks only.

Open enrollment for Medicare recipients occurs from October 15 to December 7 annually. This is the only time you can check your coverage for the next calendar year and, if appropriate, change to another program. For Alabama Medicare recipients, this is also the only time you can change your coverage under Blue Cross' supplemental plans.

Free counseling is available through the State Health Insurance Program (SHIP), to help seniors navigate through this quagmire of regulations and confusing information. This can save you thousands so do yourself and your loved ones a favor and put this checkup on your calendar. Call 1-800-AGELINE to make an appointment today.

In this silly season leading up to the election, we are hard pressed to find reasons to celebrate our government. The SHIP program is one of those rare reasons, so call and schedule your checkup today!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Hit the Beach


Your Body on the Ocean

Few things are more relaxing than a dose of sun, sand and sea air—and there is plenty of research to prove it.  Here’s how a day at the beach soothes your body and mind.

©     Lungs—Salty air has been shown to reduce lung inflammation, helping relieve asthma symptoms.  Many patients with lung diseases have also reported less coughing and sinus pressure when exposed to sea air.

©     Skin—Sea salt helps restore skin’s protective barrier, which seals in hydration longer, keeping skin smooth and softer.

©     Brain—A view of the ocean lowers stress, according to researchers who found that the more “blue space” you see, the calmer you feel.

©     Heart—If the water is a little chilly, take a dip anyway.  Plunging into cold ocean water improves circulation.

©     Joints—Swimming in the sea can ease pain of conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, possibly due in part to the inflammation taming effects of soaking in salt water.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Check Up for Your Medicine Cabinet


Checkup for Your Medicine Cabinet

1.       Check your expiration dates—Prescription medications have expiration dates on their original containers, but your pharmacist is required only to put a “Discard by” date on the bottle.  This date is usually 1 year from the date the Rx is filled.  Certain meds should never be used beyond their expiration dates: oral nitroglycerin, insulin inhalers and Epipens. 

2.      Know the dangers of common painkillers—Some analgesics including Advil and Aleve can trigger a heart attack or stroke.  Ibuprofen and naproxen can also increase bleeding risk and bump up blood pressure.  Studies show that acetaminophen can cause liver damage, especially when taken with alcohol.  If your physician has prescribed powerful opioid medications, such as OxyContin or Percocet, follow their orders strictly on dosage and frequency.

3.      Beware risky herbals—Herbal supplements can interact with certain prescription medications, causing dangerous side effects.  St. John’s wort can interfere with statins and high blood pressure medications.  Ginkgo and ginseng can interact with blood thinning meds and increase risk of bleeding.  Kava has been shown to cause liver damage.

4.      Don’t overdose on everyday vitamins—Watch daily limits on Vitamin B6, Vitamin A, Vitamin D and Vitamin C.  Taking too much of these everyday vitamins can have different adverse side effects.

5.      Cut back on Allergy and Sleeping Pills—Studies have shown that those who take certain insomnia and allergy medications long term—including such products as Benadryl and Nytol—are more likely to have problems with memory and decision making, plus have a higher risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Touching Hearts Senior Care is the gold standard when you consider selecting a home care provider.  Call us today at 251-445-4204 to schedule your free assessment.  Or visit us online at www.touchingheartsseniorcare.com.

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Future is Coming...Are You Ready?


Preparing for the Future
I met with a prospective client recently.  She is a widow who had spent 20 years collectively being a caregiver for her mother, her husband and her sister.  She is an independent woman who manages her own home and is a member of a women’s group that meets monthly.  Typically, this is not the type of person who needs caregiver services.

After talking with her, she expressed to me that she might need our services in the future with an upcoming eye surgery and possible knee replacement.  I was extremely impressed that this person has the forward thinking of what she might need for the future.  I speak with many people regarding our services and the many programs we have available.  These include caregiver services, case management services and dementia education.  So many people after hearing my presentation reply to me, “We don’t need that right now.”  As I fully understand and agree with this reply, I continue to think about how many prospective clients contact me when they are in a crisis.  They are overwhelmed by the amount of information and the decisions they have to make, all the while dealing with crisis at hand. 

I know we all hear about the importance of planning for our future.  Financial planning, insurance policies, and healthcare are all important areas to consider when we consider our quality of life in our later years.  I believe that those who address these issues before they are upon them, have a more seamless transition than those that do not.  Just some food for thought!

Tracey Eldridge is the Community Liaison for Touching Hearts Senior Care.  To contact Tracey, email tracey@touchingheartsseniorcare.com.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Hurricane Preparedness...Are You Ready?


As the summer continues to heat up in August and September, hurricane season enters into it's more volatile months.  Are you and your family prepared if a major storm heads our way?  Do you have an evacuation plan? If not evacuating, are you prepared to spend several days without electricity or water?  We all need to prepare, especially when there is no storm in the Gulf.  Follow these steps to prepare you and your family for a hurricane.

1.    Determine your risk—Do you live in a low lying area for flooding?

2.   Develop an evacuation plan—When to leave and where to go.

3.   Secure an insurance check up—Are you covered?

4.   Assemble disaster supplies—If not evacuating, gather supplies to remain safely in your home.

5.   Prepare your home—Secure patio furniture and outdoor tools.

Please visit https://www.ready.gov/hurricane-toolkit for tips on how to prepare you and your family for hurricane season.

Touching Hearts Senior Care updates and reviews our Emergency Preparedness Procedures every year and our goal is to ensure our clients and their families are prepared and safe in the event of a disaster.  Visit our website www.touchingheartsseniorcare.com for more information about our services.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Awesome Healthy Snacks that Aren't Veggies


The Best Weight Loss Snacks That Aren’t Veggies

1.      Dark Chocolate—Studies show intense flavors like cocoa can tire out taste buds so you feel satisfied faster.

2.     Black or Green Olives—Chewy, briny olives are deeply flavorful and 5 set you back only 20 calories.

3.     Roasted Chickpeas—They deliver all the salty crunch of potato chips but with more protein and fiber.

4.     Avocado withSalsa—Researchers say the monosaturated fat in this fruit may keep you full for up to 5 hours.

5.     In Shell Pistachios—Packed with protein and healthy fat, this snack last longer, thanks to time spent shucking shells.

6.     Low fat cottage cheese with cinnamon—One cup at 28g of protein; adding cinnamon enhances dairy’s sweetness.


Touching Hearts Senior Care is dedicated to promoting health and wellness for people of any age.  Visit our website www.touchingheartsseniorcare.com and follow us on Facebook at Touching Hearts Senior Care #1.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Favorite Foods for Healthier Living


If you are anything like me, you are often tempted to over eat and feel that satisfaction of feeling gloriously full.  While this full feeling is gratifying, it is also fleeting until the next time we are hungry.  You know the old saying, “a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips”.  So I am here to give you a list of 10 favorite foods to eat when you are tempted to gobble down that combo meal from your favorite fast food restaurant.

1.      Watermelon—A go to food when you are craving a sweet snack.

2.     Turkey—Great for wraps and salads and a great source of lean animal protein.

3.     Eggs—Great source of protein for breakfast or any time.

4.     Greek Yogurt—This thicker higher-protein yogurt is perfect for a snack or to add tangy richness to sweet and savory recipes.

5.     Lentils—These protein and fiber packed pulses may be the most filling food you can eat.  Use them in salads, soups and wraps.

6.     Feta Cheese—While higher in calories than most foods on this list, the traditional Greek cheese has a strong flavor, which means you can use a lot less and still get a satisfying punch.

7.     Kale—Want more nutrition?  Add Kale to salads, smoothies, saut├ęs, soups and even pizza.

8.     Almonds—Keep a stash of this nuts in your car and desk.

9.     Potato Skins—Bake potatoes, scoop out their insides, then roast only the skins with olive oil and spices.  Delicious.

10.                        Chocolate Chip Cookies—A forever fun food.  Do not deny yourself chocolate. Ever.

So I am vowing to use this list and these foods to stay on track for a healthier diet and a healthier me.

Tracey Eldridge is the Community Liaison for Touching Hearts Senior Care.  For more information about Tracey, visit our website www.touchingheartsseniorcare.com.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

3 Signs You Might Be Low in Potassium

You should know when you are low, since getting enough may protect you against heart and kidney disease.

1.  You are sluggish--If you still feel blah after plenty of shut eye, more potassium-rich foods may bring you back to life.

2.  You are prone to charley horses--All too familiar with those painful muscle spasms after tough workouts?  Excessive sweating can throw your potassium balance out of whack.

3.  Your sad desk lunch is lacking color--The broader the spectrum of the fruits and veggies in your typical meal, the more potassium you are eating without even thinking about it.

Curb cramps with potassium rich bananas and baked potatoes with the skin on.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

June is Elder Abuse Awareness Month


June is Elder Abuse Awareness Month.  I have included some statistics below so you can better understand what elder abuse is and the different types of elder abuse.


·         Elder Abuse is an intentional or negligent action that causes harm or creates a serious risk of harm to an older adult. 

·         Accurate estimates of the prevalence of this problem are difficult to obtain, as many older people do not report being abused.

·         The most common form of elder abuse is neglect, followed by physical abuse and financial exploitation. 

·         Other forms of elder abuse include emotional abuse, sexual abuse and abandonment.

·         Most elder abuse victims are female and adult children are the most frequent abusers of older persons.

·         Risk factors for elder abuse include social isolation, dementia in the victim, mental illness of the abuser, alcohol or drug abuse, and mutual dependence between the abuser and the victim.


Different types of Elder Abuse
  • Physical Abuse—Inflicting, or threatening to inflict, physical pain or injury on a vulnerable elder, or depriving them of a basic need.
  • Emotional Abuse—Inflicting mental pain, anguish, or distress on an elder person through verbal or nonverbal acts.
  • Sexual Abuse—Non-consensual sexual contact of any kind, coercing an elder to witness sexual behaviors.
  • Exploitation—Illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or assets of a vulnerable elder.
  • Neglect—Refusal or failure by those responsible to provide food, shelter, health care or protection for a vulnerable elder.
  • Abandonment—The desertion of a vulnerable elder by anyone who has assumed the responsibility for care or custody of that person.
 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Heaven Just Got the Best Caregiver


Touching Hearts Senior Care prides itself on employing “Cream of the Crop” caregivers.  We are sad to say that Valerie Jones, a nine year caregiver for Touching Hearts passed away suddenly on June 2, 2016.  Valerie was the first caregiver hired by Touching Hearts Senior Care when we opened our doors in 2007.  She was loyal, dependable and trustworthy.  Valerie was not only a great caregiver to the clients she served, but she was a kind, true friend to those around her.  She lifted the spirits of those who were down, and encouraged other caregivers with words of experience and wisdom.

Valerie had an incredibly infectious laugh and we all enjoyed her company when she was around.  We will miss Valerie very much.  It’s not every day you come across someone like Valerie.  I guess heaven needed a caregiver and they picked the best one.  God bless you Valerie and your family.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

When it comes to doctors, do you need a specialist in aging?


 
You do not need to see a geriatrician just because you reach a certain age, even if it’s 100.  But some problems that become more common when you get older may make it a good idea.  What signs suggest you might benefit from a geriatrician?

Multiple, chronic health problems—People with more than one condition may be dealing with several doctors.  Geriatricians can determine whether drugs are interacting improperly and help individuals navigate the health care system.

A decline in strength, balance or memory—Geriatricians are trained to look at your overall health.  When undiagnosed problems affect an aging patient, geriatric training may provide insights that other doctors sometimes miss.

Certain problems that can be considered geriatric syndromes—Such problems may have more than one cause and may emerge in times of illness or stress, such as during a hospital stay.  Geriatric syndromes may include falls, unexplained weight loss, delirium, sleep problems and bladder incontinence.  Even if the symptoms vanish, a geriatric assessment may be appropriate to look for underlying causes.

You are a caregiver and are feeling overwhelmed—Geriatricians recognize the importance of family caregivers and the impact of their patient’s home environment.  A geriatrician might recommend some local services that could ease your burden, and talk you through a sensible approach to your caregiving responsibilities.

Geriatric expertise can help in different stages of care.  Some offer primary care; others specialize in specific medical fields, such as cardiology, neurology or oncology as well as geriatrics.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Top 10 Health Food Fakes


Toss these 10 Health Food Fakes

You might think these foods are healthy and helpful, but trust me; they are not doing your waistline any favors.  Here are 10 imposters to throw out or donate today:

1.        Baked potato chips—They are lower in fat but are empty calories with little protein and fiber.

2.       Diet Soda—Each daily 12-ounce can is associated with a 41% climb in obesity risk.

3.       Dried Cranberries—Thanks to added sugars, ¼ cup packs an astonishing 30g of sweet stuff.

4.       Green Juice—Some bottles have 50g of sugar and zero fiber.  Hello weight gain.

5.       Yogurt covered pretzels—That “yogurt” coating is mostly sugar.

6.       Veggie Chips—These are usually made of potato starch with a tint of color from vegetable powders.

7.       Twig and Flake Cereals—Even “organic” and “natural” cereals can have up to 20g of sugar per serving.

8.       Light Ice Cream—Some brands have as many calories as regular ice cream but aren’t as filling.

9.       Spinach Wraps—You get a tiny bit of spinach, a lot of refined flour and up to 310 calories.

10.   Rice Cakes—They may be low in calories, but they contain little fiber, protein, and other nutrients.  Flavored versions can also have lots of artificial additives.

I know I have been fooled by so called “healthy food”.  This list is a good indicator that foods that are marketed as healthy are not always what they seem.  Read the labels and do your own research and continue to pursue your own healthy lifestyle.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Touching Hearts Senior Care is the Gold Standard


Why Touching Hearts Senior Care is the “Gold Standard”

There are many factors to consider when choosing a home care company.  Touching Hearts Senior Care is committed to providing the highest quality of care services.  Below is a list of reasons why you should choose Touching Hearts Senior Care as your home care provider.

©      THSC is locally owned and operated and has been in business for almost 9 years serving families of south Alabama.

©      THSC has two Certified Senior Advisors on staff who are knowledgeable about important health, social and financial issues that affect the majority of seniors.

©      THSC is the only home care company in the state of Alabama to have Certified Dementia Caregivers.  In addition to their previous experience and studies in healthcare, our caregivers receive extensive and continuous training with a 12 part series on caring for someone with dementia.

©      The dementia training is provided by the owner, Gina Germany, who is also a Certified Senior Advisor, a Certified Dementia Practitioner and Certified PAC trainer.  (Positive Approach to Care).

©      THSC provides personalized care and service.  When you call the THSC office, you will speak with either the office manager or client care coordinator, both of whom are familiar with your families’ specific plan of care.

©      THSC offers specialized Case Management services.  When you and your family need answers to difficult questions regarding hospital stays, future plans or goals, social services and patient navigation, our Certified Senior Advisors can guide you by providing professional advice and referrals.

©      THSC has a “Safe Discharge Program”.  This service helps avoid readmission to hospitals and rehabilitation centers after discharging from these facilities.

©       THSC offers “POP IN” visits.  Pop In services are scheduled visits in increments of 1, 2, or 3 hours. 

©      THSC offers a “Deep Cleaning Service”.  Many of our clients have benefitted from a one-time or recurring deep cleaning visit.  Our rates for this service are well below the industry average for house cleaning.  We also provide “hoarding assessments.”

©      We serve our Veterans.  We assist veterans and their families by identifying individual qualifications for the Aid and Attendance Benefit from the Veterans Administration.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Caregivers


Definition of a caregiver—A person who provides direct care and gives help and protection to someone.

Some of us don’t really know what it really means to be a caregiver.  To put the needs of someone else before our own.  To be kind, caring and compassionate when our loved ones are in pain and unable to care for themselves.

I believe some people are called to do this kind of work.  Caregivers that are called step forward to provide care and compassion with a generous spirit and a selfless attitude. 

I am fortunate to know many of these talented caregivers who work for Touching Hearts Senior Care and they inspire me everyday knowing that they are out there caring for those in our community who need it most.

Thank a caregiver today.  None of us can know if we might need one tomorrow.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Thoughts on the 2016 Dementia Conference

Last week, Gulf Coast Senior Services, a non-profit, held it's 2nd Annual Dementia Conference.  It was titled "Preparing for the Dementia Tsunami".  The conference was very well attended and those who participated took with them some great information about dementia and the effect it is having on our local families and communities.

Speaker topics include:

Evacuation Measures--Alabama Care Options for the Dementia Stricken
Giving Out the Life Rafts--Protecting Adults When They Can No Longer Protect Themselves
Buried Treasure Under the Rough Seas--Care Specialties per Different Stages of Dementia
When the Lights Go Out--Sleep to Prevent Dementia
Whether-ing the Storm--Alternative Medicine for Dementia
Joining the Emergency Response Team--Careers in Gerontology
Inflate Your Lifeboat--Dealing with Family Chaos
Rolling with the Tide--Therapy for Demented Seniors

The Dementia Conference is important for several reasons.  First, it provides education to healthcare professionals and caregivers who need to learn more about this devastating disease.  Secondly, it brings the experts together to discuss different strategies for providing support for those who are caring for their loved ones.  Thirdly, it gives us hope.  Learning new ways to care for loved one with dementia to improve their quality of life and ours is imperative for our survival.

I am proud and honored to be a part of this organization.  I believe the work they do is important.  Thank you for reading my blog. 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Thanks to our First Responders


I was fortunate this week to be a part of a celebratory breakfast honoring first responders.  The definition of a first responder is someone designated or trained to respond to an emergency.  Let’s think about that for a minute.  There are many different types of people in this world and we all would react differently in the event of an emergency.  Some of us will be frozen in where we stand, some of us will turn away, some of us will ignore it and hope someone else will step up to help.  Then there are the chosen few who are called to run in help those in danger or crisis. 

They run into burning buildings when everyone else is running out.  They assist those trapped in burning or wrecked cars without the thought of the imminent danger to themselves.  They comfort the badly injured and those who are traumatized.  They even play mediator and counselor for domestic issues in families and tend to some of our frail and lonely elderly. It takes a special kind of person to perform these actions under enormous amounts of pressure.

These men and women are members of our fire departments, police departments, sheriff’s departments, and paramedic teams.  They work all hours of the day and night.  They help all kinds of people from the very wealthy, the middle class and the poorest of the poor.  All the while, they think not of themselves but of only helping others.

Maybe it’s a certain type of person who does this job, maybe it’s a calling.  Either way, I am glad they are here.  Take some time to reflect on what these first responders do for our lives.  Even if you have never had the misfortune to need one, you will be glad to know they are there if you do.  If you see a first responder while going about your day, thank them for the service they provide. 
Touching Hearts Senior Care has provided Dementia Training for our first responders.  The training helps them understand the disease, recognize the symptoms and how to respond appropriately.  For more information about Touching Hearts Senior Care, visit our website www.touchingheartsseniorcare.com