We believe in sharing what we’ve learned about the home health care industry and all related topics to help and support you. Our variety of blogs feature insights, experience and news about aging, healthy lifestyle and overall well-being. We are continually expanding the blog posting, please expect new publishing’s every two weeks, enjoy the reading. The writer’s opinion doesn’t necessarily reflect Vitae Cares position. However, we encourage, appreciate, and try to stimulate a culture of discussion and even dispute.

Respect for Elders Is Simple, Convenient, and Rewarding

Vitae Care Social Media Team – Tuesday, September 05, 2017

As a culture, are we doing enough? Showing respect for the elderly is easy and something everyone should do.

Are you showing enough respect for the elderly?

“Respect your elders.” It’s something we’ve heard since childhood, but is it something we practice in our everyday lives? We all agree that having respect for elders is important, but do we actually show this respect in a clear, direct, and intentional way? Having respect for the elderly creates better connections with people who have plenty of life experience and wisdom to share. In our hurried lives, it can be easy to disregard the direct benefits of having respect for seniors, but you can learn much about life by being respectful, gaining respect, and simply listening. You can learn about important morals, values, and principles that seniors have developed over decades. You can learn about how to keep a job for fifty years or how to maintain a great marriage for seventy years. By actively showing respect, you, and the rest of our culture, have much to gain.

Respecting the elderly is easy, convenient, and free

So how can you show this respect? In addition to saying “yes, sir” and “yes, ma’am,” what can you do that demonstrates the respect that seniors deserve? You probably won’t be surprised to learn that it’s simple, easy, and of course, it doesn’t cost a penny; it’s just a matter of behavior. You can start by considering how you address people. Many seniors grew up in a generation for which “Mr.,” “Mrs.,” and “Miss” were the proper ways to address people, and they may view being called “Bill” or “Mary” as disrespectful. Shake hands with people you meet for the first time, make full eye contact, and avoid using slang they may not understand. If they served in the US Armed Forces, thank them for their service and sacrifice. They may share information about the period and branch in which they served, but don’t press them for details unless they first express their wish to share them with you. In many cases, simply listening to their life stories is a sign of respect. Given time, seniors may share fascinating tales from their childhoods or adult lives, giving you a glimpse into American or foreign history that you can’t experience from a book. Throughout it all, if you simply be authentic, attentive, and in the moment, you’ll show (and receive) plenty of respect.

Vitae Care understands the importance of respecting elders

Respect for elders is important to the entire team at Vitae Care. Not only do we have a respectful attitude, we take the time to actively treat all elderly people, regardless of their mental or physical condition, with the utmost respect. This is essential for delivering high-quality home care that produces the best results for all people. We address people with respectful terms and always make sure that everyone gets the attention and care they deserve. Respect is an essential part of our home care services and is part of what makes our team so exceptional. Vitae Care—More Than Just Care.

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Sleep and Aging: Getting Enough Sleep Makes a Big Difference

Vitae Care Social Media Team – Monday, September 04, 2017

Lack of sleep can lead to significant problems, but simple adjustments can create better sleep and superior health for the elderly.

The Harmful Effects of Reduced Sleep on the Elderly

All human beings require sleep, and the more we learn about the subject, the more it becomes clear that changes in sleep and aging are also connected. Like water, shelter, and food, the right amount of sleep can help people lead a healthy lifestyle, and not getting enough sleep can cause numerous problems. Lack of sleep can cause headaches, depression, forgetfulness, and impaired judgement. It’s even linked to irritability, making it a problem not just for people who lose sleep but also for their friends, coworkers, and loved ones. While we sleep, our bodies release hormones that repair skin and other tissues; apparently it’s not just a saying that sleep is a great medicine! Lack of sleep is also linked to obesity, diabetes, and even cancer. The more we learn about sleep, the more it becomes clear that it is a vital part of overall health and well-being.

Poor Sleep Among the Elderly

Unfortunately, seniors are likely to suffer from a lack of sleep. The National Institute on Aging looked at information from over nine thousand people aged sixty-five and older and found that a majority had at least one complaint about chronic sleep problems. The elderly commonly have difficulty falling asleep, as well as trouble with numerous waking throughout the night, awaking too early in the morning, and excessive daytime drowsiness. These sleep problems among the elderly can be caused by changes in lifestyles (such as losing a lifelong spouse or moving to a nursing home), medications, psychiatric disorders, and shifts in the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.

Facilitating Better Sleep for the Elderly

So how can we create better sleeping conditions for seniors? Like everyone else, an elderly person should consider three basic factors that affect sleep: diet, activity, and environment. Evidence shows that eating certain foods can help with sleep. The classic “sleepy foods,” such as turkey and eggs, contain specific amino acids that induce sleep. Carbohydrates from breads and pastas can have a similar effect. Most experts recommend avoiding caffeine later in the day, so if someone suffers from poor sleep, drinking coffee or soda after lunch is usually not recommended. Certain activities close to bedtime, such as watching television or using a computer, can also stimulate the mind and body, leading to poor sleep. However, plenty of healthy exercise well before bedtime can be extremely beneficial and improve sleep levels. Finally, someone should have a quiet, peaceful place to rest. Help elderly patients eliminate light in the bedroom, and reduce excessive noise and distractions when they are sleeping.

At Vitae Care, we understand sleep and aging and know how to create a healthy lifestyle that increases the chances of a good night’s sleep. With a caring, knowledgeable staff, we can help with activities, make recommendations for a healthy diet, and organize a household to create a better environment for sleeping.

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Five Senses: Our Understanding May Be Outdated and Inaccurate

Vitae Care Social Media Team – Monday, August 28, 2017

Neuroscientists are discovering that there are more than just the five senses, as classically thought. In fact, some believe there may be over thirty physical senses.

The senses: creating our relationship to the world around us

We all interact with the world around us through our senses. Through the primary five senses, which include sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch, we take in important information about the world. The interaction with both objects and other humans (and animals) also depend on sensory intelligence in these exchanges. The senses are vital to our understanding of the world and our own place within it, and sensory information can have a profound impact on our inner peace and happiness. Unfortunately, some people have limited or impaired senses. Due to accidents, disease, dementia, and other conditions, we can lose our senses. Impairment of the senses can make life more challenging, but modern technologies may provide solutions that enhance specific senses. However, no matter how advanced the technology, the fading or complete loss of senses remains a challenge, especially for the elderly. However, as we are learning, our senses may not be as simple as we once thought.

Do we have more than thirty senses?

We have used the traditional five senses as our guide for thousands of years, but new research, as well as new ways of thinking about senses, shows that we may have as many as thirty physical senses. The sense of balance, for example, is an important sense not acknowledged in the original five. Most people know if they are leaning backward, forward, or to a side and can adjust their bodies accordingly. When the sense of balance fades, obvious safety problems can arise. When you close your eyes, you still know where your hands and feet are; this sense is called “proprioception.” The sense of quality of motion (whether you are walking slowly or running swiftly, for example), called “kinesthesia,” is also often overlooked. Exactly how many senses we have is currently a topic of neuroscientific research and debate, but one thing remains certain: the sensory apparatus is not as simple as we once thought!

A melting pot of senses

The senses are also complicated by the fact that they often blend together and influence each other. A perfect example is the taste and feel of mint. If you chew mint gum, your tongue experiences a flavor as well as a cooling sensation. Why cooling? After all, the gum is at mouth temperature, yet a cooling sensation persists. Vision and hearing can often intermingle; your sight may influence what you think you hear, and vice versa. Sight can also be influenced by your sense of balance, which provides slight adjustments to how your brain perceives your surroundings and your place in them. We are learning that the senses do not come in neat separate packages. Instead, the senses comingle, blurring the line between one and the other.

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Disability Care – Older Adults Are Significantly More Likely to Have a Disability

Vitae Care Social Media Team – Friday, August 18, 2017

According to information from the Pew Research Center, roughly one in eight Americans has some form of disability.

A glance at the numbers

Being disabled can be a significant life challenge. When a physical condition such as difficulties with walking, limits someone’s ability to move, sense, or interact with the world around them, or just the struggle of self-care or independent living. All this can lead to limited social interaction, eventually lower earnings from their jobs, and may even affect someone’s self-esteem. The Pew Research Center, one of the most respected fact tanks in the country, analyzed information from the U.S. Census Bureau and found that roughly forty million Americans have a disability, showing a significant need for disability care across the nation. These numbers represent almost thirteen percent of the American population. Although people seventy-five years of age and older have the highest percentage of disability (roughly fifty percent), people from thirty-five to sixty-four accounted for sixteen million disabled individuals.

Understanding the challenge of living with disabilities

Disability takes many different forms. We often think of challenges with physical movements, such as the inability to go up and down stairs. These facts are reflected in the statistics, as more than 20 million American adults have serious challenges with walking or climbing stairs. However, disability can also take the form of hearing or vision loss, problems with cognition, or difficulties with basic self-care. In many cases, the disability is so challenging that the individual cannot live an entirely independent lifestyle. You may also find cases when an otherwise capable person has an injury and becomes unable to care for themselves or move independently. For example, someone who relies on a walker may fall and injure their arm, rendering them unable to use the walker. Until they can fully recover, the individual may need temporary assistance from an in-home care agency or else.

The support of in-home care can be important for both disabled and family members

While disabilities affect a significant portion of our population; there is support. In-home care agencies like Vitae Care provide support and assistance if family caregivers are not around. For obvious reasons, many disabled individuals, of all ages, want to stay in the home and maintain their private, independent life. However, family caregivers may not be able to provide the necessary services because of their own family, careers, vacation, exhaustion, or even their health. In-home disability care provides the support needed for disabled individuals, helping with virtually everything from transportation to bathing, running errands. Best of all, the services are tailored to the individual and designed to be efficient and affordable. With flexible schedules for both short and long-term care, in-home care agencies make life easier and more comfortable for patients and family.

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Social Interaction is Vital for Dementia Patients and the Elderly

Vitae Care Social Media Team – Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Having a strong social life is often taken for granted, but as we age, our connections can fade, leading to potential mental and physical problems.

How our sociable relationships can break down as we age

When we are younger, even after retirement, we often take social interaction for granted. We don’t think about the friends, co-workers, fellow church members, and mere acquaintances that create a vibrant, active liveliness. For many of us, these connections are like a heartbeat; they are always there, and we barely notice. But what happens when we get older, and our friendly relations start to fade?

As we age, friends inevitably pass away, people move to new areas, and we no longer have co-workers to provide daily conversations. Some people may feel that their spouse is enough communicative connection, but what happens when he or she passes? The loss of a buoyant life can be devastating to elderly and dementia patients.

Why the lack of a social life is a real medical problem

Social interaction is important for all people. We are, after all, expansive beings who thrive on interpersonal contact. Even the most independent and self-reliant person needs human interaction. For dementia patients, cheerful communication is of particular importance. Dementia patients, in some cases, actually withdraw from contact, as communicating becomes challenging and sometimes frustrating. Many dementia patients prefer to be alone and quietly retreat into their world. But contact remains important. Research has found that loneliness is more common in older adults and that social isolation can increase mortality rates.

There is joy in the emotional encounter with others. However, there are worries about the loss of independence and concerns for their well-being. Many elderly and especially dementia patients notice that things are changing, their companionable life is not what it once was. These circumstances can lead to loneliness, depression, and, over time, the loss of body function and strength. For these reasons and more, it’s important to maintain a consistent spirited life among elderly and dementia patients.

Finding quality connections through a professional care team

There are many steps that you can take to enhance the quality of life for a senior citizen or dementia patient. One of the most important measures you can take is to work with a senior care team to assist with various aspects of caregiving. We all want to be there for our parents and grandparents, but you may not have the time or resources to provide quality interactions on a regular basis.

For this reason, working with a professional care team is a wise decision. Vitae Care can help with many different services, such as transportation and companionship to community events. This can include bridge parties, friends’ birthdays, church services, visits to the cemetery, or trips to visit neighbors. We can talk about news on TV or give reminders to call friends and, if needed, set up the call. We’ll even view old photographs and talk about old times, respectfully find out what the person did for work and what hobbies they enjoyed. Essentially, we’ll be a good listener or just simply tell a story out of our own lives. A senior-care service like Vitae Care can provide sociable vibrancy, as well as home care services such as transportation, errands, and meal preparation.

Contact Vitae Care today to learn more about our companionship services, which includes life-enrichment activities, reading assistance, hobby support, and (perhaps most important) friendly conversation!

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Diet for Dementia Patients: Understanding the Challenge

Vitae Care Social Media Team – Saturday, July 15, 2017

A proper diet is vital to the health of a dementia patient, and with the assistance of knowledgeable staff, good nutrition can happen every day!

The problem with eating and diet

Adequate food intake is important for all people, but when it comes to diet for dementia patients, getting the right nutrition can be extremely difficult. The ultimate goal is to maintain the body weight. There are many factors at play when it comes to dementia and diet, including both mental and physical challenges. A dementia patient may be unable to recognize food, does not see the purpose of eating, has difficulty using utensils, or may be overwhelmed by too many food choices and might simply forget when we consume food. They can also have declining senses, such as taste and smell, a general decline with age, leading to a reduced appetite. As someone ages, they may also have weakened handgrip, which makes using forks and spoons more difficult. Swallowing can be difficult as well, and sometimes misplaced dentures can make chewing a meal more challenging. Dehydration is also an issue, as dementia patients usually have a reduced thirst sensation. All of these factors and more make nutrition and diet more difficult. But with the right steps and measures, quality, nutritious meals are far from impossible.

Getting to nutrition: Strategies for dementia patients

So what do professional caregivers to increase the chances of a quality diet for their patients? Using both the food and the eating environment, one can take certain steps to increase food intake and enhance nutrition. The first step is to focus on eating and concentrate on foods that the patient enjoys and can eat. Serving a calorie-rich diet is often required, as they will not eat large portions, but what counts is every bite they eat is valuable. It may be helpful and relevant to add flavor-enhancers such as honey, gravy, butter, or sauces, fats and protein. These often make food tastier and easier to eat. What is also is supportive is to serve fortified foods, such as ice cream, puddings, or oatmeal, and if someone has eating restrictions, pureed meals may be required. To provide adequate fluid is essential and will decrease the risk of dehydration which could cause difficulties in swallowing.

The setting: Create a space for eating

The food itself is essential, but it’s also important to create an environment where undistracted eating is a priority. A good setting to enhance the diet for dementia patients will have as few distractions as possible, with a simple place-setting and no center piece. Noises, such as televisions and radios, should be turned off, and people in the room should avoid loud conversations. There should also be a clear contrast in color between the plate and the food (such as white plates with dark food, and set the table with only the required utensils, usually just a fork or spoon. It’s also believed that terra cotta dishes will stimulate appetite, while blues and greens could be a barrier. Also, always make sure to have enough time for eating the meal. Because there are many steps, strategies, and measures to remember, it’s advisable to work with trained professionals like Vitae Care to enhance the diet and ensure the quality, long-term health and maintain the body weight.

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