Sit Back and Relax with Passive Stretching for Seniors

What is passive stretching?

When it comes to stretching, there are two important categories to know: active and passive.

Active stretching is when you target a specific joint or muscle and work to stretch it using only that same joint or muscle.

Passive stretching, on the other hand, is when you target a specific joint or muscle using external pressure to stretch it out.

For instance, if seniors were interested in stretching their fingers, here is what the two types of stretching might look like:

  • For active stretching, seniors would try to wiggle and move their fingers about, with no external help.
  • For passive stretching, seniors would use their other hand (or something else) to physically push the fingers back and forth.

What are the benefits of passive stretching?

If you try out the finger stretching example, you’ll see that passive stretching (moving your fingers with external pressure), allows you to stretch your finger much further and much faster than active stretching. Because, you can push your fingers further than they can bend on their own.

This means, that with passive stretching, seniors can get to their stretching end goal much faster than with active stretching.  Not only that, but passive stretching can give seniors an opportunity to sit back and relax while someone else does the hard work for them. Since the stretching is coming from an external pressure, seniors can get help from friends, family members, or caregivers. This makes passive stretching more enjoyable for many seniors, and makes it easier to psychologically maintain a steady schedule.

Note: If you’re still not sold on the benefits of passive stretching, here’s a fun fact that might just change your mind. According to research published in the Journal of Physiology, regular passive stretching done for a consecutive 12 weeks can help reduce stiffness in arteries, allowing for improved blood flow. This, in turn, can help prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and more.

How to successfully engage in passive stretching?

As with all types of stretching, passive stretching requires consistent work if you want to reap the benefits. Stretching a little bit every day is better than stretching a lot every few days.

Each day that you stretch, your body builds on what it could do the day before. Like steps on a ladder. The more rungs you move up, the higher the rungs you can reach.

However, when you skip a day (or days) of stretching, your body doesn’t just stay where it was before. It actually moves down a rung.

So, essentially, on days that you miss stretching, you’re not just not moving forward, you’re actually moving backward. Which is why, consistency is key when it comes to passive stretching. 

Passive stretching tips for caregivers.

As a caregiver, your job is two-fold for helping your senior successfully stretch.

First, you need to give your senior motivation and inspiration to keep stretching regularly. It can be difficult making a habit out of something new. And it’s all too easy to skip days or become lax with a new routine. However, for the best results, seniors need to passively stretch on the regular.

Second, you need to equip your senior with the tools to stretch whether you’re there or not. This might mean buying stretchy exercise bands so your senior can stretch on his or her own. Or, it might mean putting up signs around the house reminding your senior to stay on track.

And, just remember, stretching doesn’t have to be a chore. 

It can be a fun and relaxing activity too!

How to Care for Senior Parents Who Don’t Want Help

How to Care for Senior Parents Who Don’t Want Help

Refusing help is a classic defense mechanism.

In the case of home care – older adults often reject extra help and assistance out of fear and a sense of self-perseverance. 

Seniors fear the change in lifestyle that comes with admitting they need help. They also fear the loss of identity that comes with no longer being able to take care of oneself.

It’s completely understandable, but as the child of a parent who refuses help – it can be exasperating to deal with.

Here are 4 tips for taking care of senior parents who just don’t want help:

  1. Don’t walk away.

When your senior parents are refusing help, it can be frustrating to sit and watch them struggle. Frustrating because they won’t take your advice, but also because it pains you to have to see them suffer. And, because of this frustration, it’s easy to decide to leave it all behind and walk away.

But stay strong, and don’t just leave. Because that’s not truly helping anyone in the long run.

Instead, take a breather. Take a moment away and remind yourself that you can’t control everything your parent does. Sometimes you just have to let things go. 

When you’re feeling ready, come back to your parent with a fresh mindset.

  1. Ask at the right time.

As with many things in life, timing is often at the root of the situation. 

When you’re suggesting extra help or home care to your senior parents, it’s important to choose the right time to do so. Don’t throw the idea out there in the middle of a crisis or emotional circumstance. Rather, wait for a calm moment to talk. Bring it up slowly, and in a way, that’s easy for them to digest.

  1. Show, don’t tell.

This is a common tip for writers – show us what you mean, don’t tell us what you mean.

And, it holds true for all sorts of communication in life.

Which is why, it’s important not just to choose the right time to talk, but the right way to talk as well.

Instead of only mentioning facts and reasons, try giving examples and as much details as possible. With your words (and maybe some images online), paint a descriptive picture of what life could be like for your senior parents if they had the extra help around the house.

  1. Suggest a trial run.

Sometimes the thought of permanent change is what scares people off the most.

If this might be the case with your senior parents – remind them that this does not have to be permanent. Your seniors can try the extra help just for a time. And, if they like it – great! And, if they don’t – that’s okay, too.

A trial run allows your parents to feel more in control of the situation, as you are placing the final decision in their hands.

And, remember – take a breath, stay calm, and always be respectful. 

These are still your parents, after all.

9 Springtime Activities for Every Type of Senior

9 Springtime Activities for Every Type of Senior - AmeriBest Home Care

Welcome in the cheery spring weather with some new activities for your senior.

As spring is all about beginnings and renewals, what better way to enjoy the season than to explore some new hobbies.

Here’s a list of 9 springtime activities to help your loved seniors make the most of their time.

There is always something for everyone!

For active seniors:

Grow a vegetable garden.

Or flower, or fruit, or herb. It doesn’t matter what kind of garden your senior plants, as long as your senior is out in the fresh air and sunshine. This can be a great alone time activity. And, it can also be a great social activity if done with a gardening club.

Visit a nature reserve.

Nature walks are relaxing, alternative to hikes. Hiking can be strenuous for seniors, but walking around a nature reserve gives them the same amount of outdoor pleasure and exercise. Make it a trip and spend the day at a nearby nature reserve. Or, make it a quick activity and go for just an hour or two.

Start spring cleaning.

Like we mentioned before, spring is all about starting anew. And nothing says starting anew than a nice clean house. Kick off the springtime by throwing away old baggage and clearing a space for the new. Not to mention, a dust-free house makes for easier breathing.

For the meditative seniors:

Have a picnic.

If your senior is fond of simple relaxation, going for a picnic is a perfect way to get your senior soaking up the sun’s vitamin D and enjoying some crisp air. You can go to a nearby park. Or, you can stay in the comfort of your lawn.

Try outdoor yoga classes.

Outdoor yoga is another great way to get your senior outdoors. Yoga is perfect for seniors who love to meditate and unwind. And, it’s got plenty of health benefits to boot.

Go fishing.

If you’re looking for a quiet activity, away from others, fishing is a great escape. Your senior can enjoy buying a rod, trying new baits, and, best of all, catching some delicious dinner.

For the artsy seniors:

Take a walk along the beach.

Most people don’t go to the beach until the summer. Which makes going to the beach during springtime that much better, because you’ll have the whole beach to yourself. It may be too cold to actually swim, but walking along the shore, napping in the sun, and collecting seashells is always fun. And, the ocean air is great for healthy breathing.

Host a paint night.

Or even paint and sip. This could be a great night to bring the family together. Or, a time to bring over your senior’s friends. Whomever the company, it’s just important that your seniors socialize and have a good time.

For seniors at home:

Explore virtual reality.

Virtual reality headsets let you explore the world without going far. Your senior can fish, hike, walk, you name it. All from the comfort of their own home. Although slightly expensive, VR headsets are truly worthwhile experience for seniors stuck at home.

Senior Caregiver Health at Risk: Facts, Signs, and Solutions

Senior Caregiver Health at Risk - AmeriBest Home Care

When it comes to seniors and caregiving, attention is always placed on the seniors’ well-being.

Which makes sense.

However, there’s another important player in the caregiving cycle that deserves attention too. And, that another player is the one giving the care- the dutiful family member who spends the day in and day out helping to care for the loved senior, and who often gets overlooked or overworked.

In this article, we’ll go through the facts of caregiver health, the signs of an overworked caregiver, and some practical solutions.

The facts behind caregiver health.

As more and more baby boomers enter their senior age, more family members are being called upon to care for their parents, grandparents, uncles, and aunts.

While caregiving is amazing to work and truly exemplifies the meaning of family, it can also be quite a strenuous job. Especially, for those family members who also have their own spouses and children to take care of. Needless to say, the time commitment and workload of caregiving can be difficult to manage.

Unfortunately, this often leads to overworked or overwhelmed caregivers, which can result in poor health. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that of the 18 million Americans who are informal caregivers (meaning, they are not paid for their caregiving services), about 1 in 5 are in roughly moderate or bad health.

Essentially, while caregivers are working to keep their loved seniors in good health, they are letting their own health slip away. A sad consequence that we, at AmeriBest, aim to prevent.

The signs of an overworked caregiver.

When it comes to determining someone’s health, direct questions don’t always work.

Because it is not uncommon for caregivers to brush off questions with “I’m fine” or “I have it under control.” And the problem is that these caregivers really might really be fine at the moment. But burn out can happen in an instant. Informal caregivers are fine until they’re not fine. At which point their physical and mental health may be at serious risk.

So, while open and honest communication is usually the best option, sometimes a little something else is required. Something called tactful observation. 

If you’re worried about a caregiver you love, look out for these tell-tale signs of burnout:

  1. Persistent tiredness
  2. Anxiety or sadness
  3. Forgetfulness
  4. Weak immune system (I.e. getting sick easily and often)
  5. Loss of weight

Obviously, everyone exhibits signs of burnout differently. But, if you notice any of these signs within yourself or a caregiver you love, consider that it might be time to intervene and help.

The option for help.

Whether it’s for you, a friend, or a loved one- don’t be afraid to call a home care agency for a bit of extra help.

Caregivers often avoid calling for help because they see it as a lack of responsibility on their part. They worry that by calling in someone else to do the job, they are casting off their beloved seniors.

But if you know what home care really is, you know that’s not the case.

With at-home care, family caregivers can come in and out as they please. There are no visiting times and no need to call in advance. Family caregivers can help monitor their seniors’ schedules and care, while also having a professional home care aide to lean on for support and advice.

With at-home care, seniors never feel alone and caregivers never feel overwhelmed.

Learn More American Heart Month This February

Learn More American Heart Month This February - AmeriBest Home Care

Humans are constantly worrying about dangers across the world, deep at sea, or high in the sky. We indulge our fantasies with far off worries, forgetting to look at what is actually nearby.

And in doing so, we miss the dangers lurking right outside our own doorsteps. Dangers that could otherwise be avoided. Dangers that need our full attention.

Which leads us to the topic of heart disease, one of the leading causes of death.

So this February, focus on the here and now, and help us honor American Heart Month.

What is American Heart Month?

Thousands of Americans suffer from heart diseases, heart attacks, and heart failures. Unfortunately, seniors and those around them often don’t recognize the symptoms of heart disease. This lets the problem sit unattended to and grow until it’s almost too late.

That’s why February’s American Hearth Month is so important. This is the time of year that Americans all over the country dedicate time and energy to bringing valuable, life-saving information to the attention of all.

Learn more about heart disease and help raise awareness.

Your knowledge just might save your loved one’s life.

What are some signs of heart disease?

There are many known types of heart disease. But what most of them have in common is that they are essentially a buildup of plaque around the arteries. The problem with this is that the plaque then takes up room in the arteries, narrowing the amount of space that the blood can move through. This means, that the heart has to work that much harder to pump blood through the body.

Because the heart is over worked and for less blood circulation, heart disease can often lead to heart attacks, strokes, or heart failure.

Of course, different heart diseases exhibit different symptoms.

However, here are some to be aware of:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Skin discoloration
  • Irregular heartbeat

What are ways to prevent heart disease?

Eat healthy.

Foods like fish, oatmeal, olive oil, and flaxseed are considered to be great foods for the heart.

Exercise regularly.

Getting in regular exercise is essential to having a healthy heart. It doesn’t have to be an intense workout, but walks and cardio workouts are great for getting the blood pumping and the oxygen in your body moving.

Avoid stress.

Too much stress, and for too long, can actually have physical ramifications for one’s heart. So take things step by step, avoiding too much stress.

What to do if you see someone having a heart attack?

If you notice your senior experiencing any symptoms of a heart attack, don’t panic. Call 911 immediately, even if you’re unsure. For the sake of your loved one, it’s better to make a mistake calling than not to call at all. And, trust us, the police will be forgiving.

If your senior is unconscious and help has not arrived yet, start CPR. A dispatcher from the police station should talk you through the motions. Or at least how to do basic chest compressions.

Stay alert and educated for American Heart Month.

Keeping Up with New Year’s Resolutions for Seniors

Keeping Up with New Year’s Resolutions for Seniors - AmeriBest Home Care

They may seem like nonsense, but New Year’s resolutions actually hold a lot of power.
Especially, for seniors.

New Year’s resolutions are important because they set your sights on the future. They keep you moving forward and focused on a better life- even if the past has been a difficult one.

As seniors get older, they often get lost in regrets and “what ifs.”
When that happens, they can easily find themselves stuck in a spiral that takes them deeper and deeper into the angst of past events.

And, that’s where New Year’s resolutions come in.

New Year’s resolutions give seniors hope. They can pull seniors out of the deepest of spirals by shifting their perspectives from a lost past to an attainable future.

So, this bright 2020, help your senior make a powerful New Year’s resolution that will last.

Easy New Year’s Resolutions for You and Your Senior

On the other hand, choosing a resolution that’s too easy will make you feel bored and unfulfilled.

That’s why the best tip for keeping new year’s resolutions is choosing the right resolution from the get-go.

Some good new year’s resolutions for you and your senior to try are:

  1. Exercise 1.5 hours a week
  2. Volunteer once a month
  3. Read 13 books
  4. Host family night every 2 weeks
  5. Start and finish 50% of a project you’ve been pushing off
  6. Smile when you see a stranger

Making New Year’s Resolutions Last Longer

It’s easy to make New Year’s resolutions. It’s harder to keep them and make them last longer than January.

However, there are a few tips and tricks that can really help you stick to your guns, and fulfill your resolution. The best one we can tell you today is: Schedule a time.

Telling ourselves “I’ll do it later,” is one of the biggest traps we fall for, because, we all know that later all too easily turns into never.

The best way to dodge this fall is by scheduling a specific time to do your resolution. If it’s a broader resolution, you can plan one day a week that you’ll be more cognizant of it. If it’s a specific resolution, you can plan a more specific time.

You wouldn’t miss an appointment you make with others, so don’t miss an appointment you make with yourself.

Helping Your Seniors Stick to Their Resolutions

If you notice that your senior is having trouble sticking to his or her New Year’s resolution, there are a few ways in which you can help.

First, check-in on your senior’s progress. We all need reminders every now and then, and we all need a little peer pressure – the good kind. Call up your senior and politely ask, “how’s the resolution going?” It might be enough to get them going again.

If that doesn’t work, the second thing you can do is offer to join them in their resolution. You don’t have to join in every time, but once and a while could really help your senior stay motivated.

And lastly, give encouraging words. If your senior is falling behind, remind them why they chose that resolution in the first place. Stress the fact that it’s never too late to get back on track.

Healthy Springtime Activities for Seniors

Healthy Springtime Activities for Seniors - AmeriBest Home Care

Start saying your goodbyes to freezing temperatures and icy winds because spring is on its way!
Which means, it’s time to start planning those springtime outings and activities.

As we get older, it can be harder to push ourselves to make time for meetups with others. But it’s extremely important for seniors to connect and socialize. Because, we humans are not meant to be alone. Connecting with others keeps us emotionally healthy, and keeps our brains working on optimal levels.

So, this spring, plan activities that will get you up, moving, and making some new friends.

  • Chess in the park

As cliché as it may sound, playing chess in the park is a great way to get outdoors and meet new people. Not only that, but it’s also a great way to keep your mind sharp.

You don’t need to be an expert in the game, just sit down and have some fun. You can bring your own chessboard to the park, or find a park near you where they’ve already got springtime chess events happening. It’s simple and easy.

Active retired seniors, two old men playing chess at park

 

  • Gardening club

Most people think of gardening as a lone activity. But it doesn’t have to be! If you love gardening and want to share the experience with others, join a gardening club. This will give you the opportunity to talk about something you love with others who love it too. Some gardening clubs have their own gardens that they grow communally. Others might have just a few communal plants or so.

  • Walking club

Exercising is something we all have to do if we want to stay happy and healthy. So, why not do it with others? Joining a walking club can be just the thing you need for some extra motivation and a new friend or two.

Being part of a walking club, makes the tedious work of exercising into something fun and enjoyable. Plus, it gives you an added layer of safety, because if anything happens to you on the walk, someone else will be there to pick you up and get you back on your feet.

  • Water aerobics i.e. Swimming!

Going to a public pool is another great way to turn exercising into a social activity. Indoors or outdoors, swimming is an extremely healthy form of exercise. And, when you do it at a public pool, you have the opportunity to connect with others who are also there for a healthy sport.

Elderly woman in pool

Don’t Forget to Ask for Help

Some of these springtime activities can be difficult to do or arrange all on your own. If that’s the case, ask for a little help! Never be afraid to ask for help- especially, when it comes to your health and happiness.

At AmeriBest, we’re here to help you with all your needs and concerns! Which includes helping you arrange springtime social activities. We’ll get you to where and when you need to be in a safe, convenient, and reliable manner.

Happy spring!