Diana Nyad - 64 - Completes Historic Swim

Yesterday, American long-distance swimmer 64-year-old Diana Nyad became first person to swim from Cuba to Florida, 110 miles, without a shark cage.

With a shout-out of “Courage!” (pronounced in French), Diana Nyad jumped into the water to begin her fifth attempt at the swim from the shore a near Marina Hemingway in Cuba at 8:59:02 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013. She was 28 years old the first time she tried to swim the Florida Straits, when winds knocked her far off course.

During this, her epic 53-hour swim, the full bodysuit, mask and gloves she wore at night to protect against jellyfish stings slowed her pace from an average of 50 to 47 strokes per minute. Ms. Nyad stopped only to feed and never left the water. Her flotilla surrounded and monitored her, but never had to intervene. Massive cruise ships moved out of her way.

We first wrote about Diana Nyad in August 2012, during her fourth attempt at the swim. As we wrote then, Ms. Nyad spoke to AARP about her motivation. "When I walk up on that shore in Florida, I want millions of those AARP sisters and brothers to look at me and say, 'I'm going to go write that novel I thought it was too late to do. I'm going to go work in Africa on that farm that those people need help at. I'm going to adopt a child. It's not too late, I can still live my dreams.'"  That attempt was cut short after 40 hours because of life-threatening jellyfish stings.

However, the fifth time appeared to be the charm as her arrival in Florida was announced on her blog, Nyad Extreme Dream on 9/2 at 3:14PM EDT with a simple “She freaking made it.”

Watch as she makes her way onto the Florida shores.

Thanks, Diana, for inspiring us and proving that getting older is not viable excuse to give up, and that tenacity and and wisdom are the gifts of advancing age. As she herself put it, "You're never too old to live your dreams."

Brain Game App Keeps Mind Active for Alzheimer's Prevention: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

Exercising the mind contributes to healthy aging just as much as regular physical activity. Senior caregivers can help their clients keep their minds sharp by picking up a new habit or hobby that engages the mind. Something as simple as doing a crossword puzzle or playing a basic game helps keep the brain active. The smartphone app Binaural Brain Game combines brain exercise for Alzheimer's prevention with the need to relieve stress and relax. 

The games feature an icon that the user moves around the surface of the screen to collect crystals whilst avoiding spinning colored wheels. The motions in the game help keep the mind sharp whilst doing something seemingly almost mindless.  Once the user collects their first 1,000 crystals in the first game, they can unlock the second game in the app. There are five different games total that the user can unlock by gathering more crystals in a lower level. Mental stimulation is key in Alzheimer's prevention, along with physical diet, exercise and social connections, as outlined by the Alzheimer's Association

Senior caregivers can benefit from the app as well as it plays tranquil music during games to help calm and soothe the user. After a long day as a caregiver, come home and play the game for a few minutes to clear your head from the day and put you in a good headspace to relax for the rest of the night. 


The app is available for free for Apple users. There is also a paid version free of advertisements. 

Name: Binaural Brain Game: Relaxation Therapy for Stress, Insomnia & Alzheimer's 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help to relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week

Caregivers employed with senior care companies know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers and professional caregivers to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. This week's photo features reflections dancing in the calm waters of the lake Michigan. Thank you for caring for our seniors and please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on Caregiverlist.com and visit our career center for additional career tools.

Caregiverlist Stress Relief Photo of the Week Calm Waters

"Yesterday is a canceled check; tomorrow is a promissory note; today is ready cash, use it."

Kay Lyons

App Charts Day to Day Blood Pressure Readings: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

Blood pressure often indicates an individual's level of heart health and can be vital to monitor for all adults, especially as they age. Senior caregivers can help keep track of their own or their senior clients' blood pressure using the BP Monitor app. The top number in a blood pressure reading indicates the pressure in the arteries with each heart beat. The bottom number represents the pressure in the arteries between heart beats. This chart from the American Heart Association shows the various levels for normal readings and readings that may be cause for concern. 

The BP Monitor app allows caregivers to record blood pressure readings on a daily basis and then view detailed charts which make it easier to spot drastic changes or trends in the numbers. It also provides an average reading for all of the readings entered in a week or a month. Blood pressure cuffs are available for purchase at most stores with a pharmacy section for easy at home readings. If the charts show trends of high numbers for caregivers or their senior clients, then they should be sure to visit a doctor to get a professional opinion. The app features an option to export or e-mail data to share the information with outside sources easily. High blood pressure, or hypertension, can be treated if discovered to have continually high readings. 

The app is free for Apple platforms. 

"Blood Pressure Monitor - Family Lite turns your device into a personal blood pressure and weight health monitor. It comes with lifetime data visualization, statistics reporting, medication correlation, email import/export, built-in reminders and much more. This is an app with a lot of features. "

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help to relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

Tips for Deciding When 24-Hour Home Care is Necessary

This week we invited guest blogger Linda Bright to discuss the signs that a parent might need more help than you alone can provide.

When I was in my 20’s, the idea of nursing homes and assisted living centers for my parents was nowhere on my radar. Mom and dad were busy enjoying their retirement years, traveling and playing golf every chance they got. Unfortunately within a few years, fate decided to step in and change things up a bit. It started with a devastating diagnosis for our mother; early onset Alzheimer’s which quickly claimed mom’s razor-sharp memory and her quirky personality, leaving us lost and grieving for the mother who raised us.

Her prognosis was as grim as expected and within months, my father had to step in as full-time caregiver. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse; it did and one night I got a phone call from distraught father that my mother had suffered a catastrophic stroke. Within weeks, I watched as the mother (who used to knit my winter mittens, cook ten course meals and go skydiving with my brothers) fade into someone I hardly recognized. Gone was her mischievous smile, her biting humor and her commanding soprano voice. Like a wilted rose, she had lost her blush and bloom, holding on to life by the most tenuous of threads. We had hoped she would have made it until the next Christmas, but we lost her after celebrating what would be her very last Thanksgiving.

So years later when my father started showing signs of dementia, my heart sunk into my stomach. Our experience with our mother was traumatic enough, and the thought of now watching my father slip into some similar decline was too awful to contemplate. Yet, when I noticed some worrisome traits, I began my own criteria for determining if dad needed home-care as well.

If you too might be worried about an elderly person’s welfare, then here a few tips that we have implemented to determine our needs within our own family.

  • Unexplained Bruising: If you notice that either parent has significant injuries and yet, can’t recall how they occurred, this might be a red flag. Slips and falls are among the most dangerous threats facing the elderly, it has been cited that among those the elderly population, 70% of accidental deaths are caused by falls.
  • Unpaid Bills: Another sign you might notice that an elderly parent might be struggling are piles of unopened mail, past-due accounts and collection notices. If your once-organized parent doesn’t seem to have a handle on their finances, this should be taken with grave concern.
  • Clutter in home/unkempt appearance: Is your once-fastidiously groomed parent suddenly wearing the same clothes, day after day. Do they seem unconcerned with the piles of clutter that normally would have been organized, sorted and put away? A messy home or a house that is in disrepair can also indicate underlying care issues that might need further investigation.

We were fortunate to hire a caregiver who has been able to stop by my father’s house and check his blood sugar levels, in addition to his well-being. At the moment, my father is still living on his own, and that is important for him, but my brothers and I have a rotating weekly schedule to stop in and make sure he is doing well.

Removing dad from his home would truly be a worst-case scenario, so we are being extra-vigilant to make sure he is cared for and can remain independent.

After all, my parents tended to our every needs growing up, providing a warm and loving environment, security and protection. Wouldn’t any of us want to do the same?

Linda Bright is a staff writer and a public relations coordinator for MyNursingDegree.com.Given her experience as a former hospital administrator, she writes primarily about healthcare reform, patient rights and other issues related to the healthcare industry. In her free time, she enjoys Sudoku, spending time with her family, and playing with her poodle, Max.

App Developed by Florida Hospitals Promotes "Healthy 100 Habits" for Aging: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

Senior caregivers often work with clients to allow them to age in place with some outside support. Florida Hospitals developed a website and an accompanying smartphone app to support healthy aging among seniors by encouraging living to a "Healthy 100" years old. The website boasts 8 secrets to healthy aging, starting with making a choice to improve your health and including looking at how your environment, activity, nutrition, relationships, etc. affect health. A longevity calculator section asks basic questions about your health and family health history, nutritional habits, stress, etc. along with age, activity level and stress level to estimate how old you will live to be with your current habits. It provides personal recommendations to improve quality of life for healthy aging. 

The app is intended to be used in conjunction with the website to track new habits you decide to create based on the results of your longevity calculator test. Taking into consideration how stressful caregiving can be as a profession, one new habit for caregivers might be to "use stress relieving techniques 3 times per week." Stress relief takes various forms for different people, but some suggestions include stretching, going for a casual walk or focusing on relaxing images. The app contains 100 suggestions for new habits, but users can easily make up their own custom habits as well.

Caregivers can create new goals and log when they actively work towards completing existing goals in the app. As an added bonus, the Healthy 100 website offers the chance for Florida residents to get a free rewards card for special deals with local businesses to help support their health goals. 


The app is free for Apple and Android platforms. 

"Over 40% of the decisions we make each day are based on habit. Without a plan, it is difficult to create lasting change to live to a Healthy 100 years of age. The Healthy 100 Habits app provides the structure to hold yourself accountable so you can create the life you desire."

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help to relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko


Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week

Caregivers employed with senior care companies know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers and professional caregivers to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. This week's photo features vibrant, yet calming sunset from a tropical place. Thank you for caring for our seniors and please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on Caregiverlist.com and visit our career center for additional career tools.

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo Vibrant Sunset

"Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening."

Mohandus K. Ghandi

Look Up Symptoms, Diseases and Medications Using the iTriage App: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

Sometimes when seniors have a cough or other symptoms of a common cold, we fear that it may be an underlying factor of something more serious. Using the iTriage app, senior caregivers can search symptoms to figure out potential issues in health and schedule doctor's appointments appropriately. While searching symptoms and self-diagnosing doesn't replace the opinion of a healthcare professional, iTriage can help caregivers and their senior clients get an idea of what may be causing their symptoms so that they can approach their doctor's appointment with some background knowledge and have an informed conversation with their doctor. 

The app itself features a keyword search as well as a figure of the human body, allowing users to click on a problem area such as the stomach or the leg to search symptoms in that particular body part. Caregivers can click on "ankle pain," for example, and see common causes, such a "arthritis (joint swelling)." Once a cause is selected, the user sees a description of the condition, further symptoms, treatment options and the option to find medical help nearby. Medications are searchable in the same way, with lists of conditions that they treat and instructions on what to do in case of an overdose or a missed dose. 

The doctor search based on nearby locations allows caregivers to find medical attention most convenient for their senior clients and in the speciality area that they may need. 

The app is available for free for Android and Apple platforms.  

"Do you have symptom questions? Search for health answers with iTriage Health, Doctor, Symptom & Healthcare Search app. Find medications, diseases, and medical locations and instantly get answers to your questions on your iOS device. Created by two ER medical doctors, iTriage gives you quick access to a huge healthcare & medical database in your pocket."

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help to relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko


Living and Aging Well at Home

Caregiverlist welcomes Dr. Doris Bersing, PhD. as our new Home Care Expert. Dr. Bersing is the founder and president of Living Well Assisted Living at Home, Dr. Bersing discusses how to successfully age in place at home. If you have any questions regarding the elderly aging at home, especially those with Alzheimer's disease or dementia, feel free to post your questions here.

How to Have More Choices to Age Well at Home?

We all hope to age in a healthy way and most of us avoid thinking about frailty or problems before they arise. However, If we force ourselves to plan, we can make informed choices.

90% of people want to live in their own homes. This has been true for all of our history. Moving out of home to an “age segregated community” is a modern phenomenon. Maximize your choices by planning your estate, your home, your health, and your wellness.

To Maximize your Choices:

Do some planning: financial and legal

It’s no surprise that with age, seniors often experience increased limitations, the loss of certain abilities and require more assistance with the activities of daily living. It is equally unsurprising that one’s finances largely influence the types of services and long-term care available to that individual. An experienced financial planner and long term care specialist can provide you with invaluable advice on money issues and more, to help you find the appropriate solution to your particular situation.

Aging well at home usually involves not just healthcare but money and legal matters, as well. That might include estate planning, getting legal forms such as advance health care directives and power of attorney for finances in place, and understanding the coverage and policies -such as Medicare and Social Security benefits – available to you of the person in your care.

Look at your home

Is it safe? Can you make it more safe? Can you use new techologies to enhance your wellbeing. These technologies are improving everyday and offer real benefits. Look into Universal Design options. Can your home be made more suitable for your changing needs? Does it make sense to move to smaller home and use the extra money to pay for your support?

Be active

It matters less what you do, but that you do something that is meaningful to you and that uses your mind, spirit and body. No need to commit to one thing – change your mind as often as you want, and give any challenge a try!

Take charge of your health

Your Doctor may know best, but does she know and hear you. Do you have a system for understanding what you need to do to care for yourself and for learning about recommended procedures? Are your medical records and Powers of Attorney in a safe place? NOBODY should face serious medical decisions alone. We all need advocates. Medications are potent (that’s why they work). Learn about them and find ways to take them as prescribed.

Tackle your fears about memory changes

Learn about what things you need to worry about and what you can adapt to. Don’t panic! Don’t let others around you panic! – But don’t deny and pretend you are OK, if you are having problems. Changes to your environment and social support can make all the difference. Talk to your friends, doctors and family. Dementia is not a new problem – humans have been having memory loss for centuries – let’s learn from our predecessors.

Be open to smart technology

There are numerous studies, projects, and research aiming to use integrated information technology systems to support and enhance the health, safety and social connectedness of older people living in their own homes. Currently, there are many exciting technologies being developed to help seniors to stay independent and aging in place are many, some of these are: home-monitoring systems, telemedicine devices, tracking systems like GPS shoes and GPS watches, electronic walking aids, intelligent phones, and even robotic nurses.

Never give up your home without weighing all the choices

Is this the right time? Be curious about why you are making life changing decisions, weigh the consequences, think about your motivations, get input from trusted people. It’s rarely a good idea to make a life transition when grieving, adapting to a change in health status, or because you are appeasing anybody. It somebody tries to persuade you to make big changes during these times, question their motivation. The old choices of struggling alone at home or moving to an institution are being replaced by new ones. Stay on the cutting edge. Learn what the options are, participate in creating those options. Make your voice heard. 

Senior Games are the Olympics of the Older Set

The National Senior Games 2013 presented by Humana come to a close in Cleveland on August 1.

Over 10,000 athletes 50 years and older compete, although most of the competitors are between the ages of 65 and 80.  The athletes represent all 50 states as well as nine countries, including Angola, Germany, Latvia and Russia.

This year, legendary singer, actor and writer Pat Boone rocked the basketball court, helping to lead his team, the Virginia Creepers, to victory over rival team the South Carolina's Darlington Generals, with a final score of 38 to 25 at Saturday’s game.

The “Senior Olympics” are held every two years on a national level. The first games were held in 1987 in St. Louis, MO. At those games, 2,500 seniors competed in front of 100,000 spectators. State games are held throughout the year.

The Games, the largest multi-sport event in the world for seniors, are comprised of 19 core events including:

  • Archery
  • Badminton
  • Bowling
  • Cycling
  • Golf
  • Horseshoes
  • Pickleball
  • Shuffleboard
  • Tennis
  • Track & Field and more

and team sports:

  • Basketball
  • Softball
  • Volleyball

In 2011, Dorothy Fadiman, with her production company Fadiman Social Documentaries, produced SHATTERING the MYTH of AGING: Senior Games Celebrate Healthy Lifestyles, Competition and Community. The 8 minute film follows a 74 year old Louisville, Kentucky man as he and his fellow seniors compete in Olympic-level sports. The documentary celebrates the human spirit and agrees with Dylan Thomas that we “...not go gentle into that good night.

We at Caregiverlist champion Healthy Aging and believe that senior caregivers and their clients can work together to achieve stronger bodies, healthier minds and relieve stress with regular exercise. Who knows? Perhaps Senior Games 2015 is on your horizon.

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