Seniors See Health Benefit from Soccer

Oh FIFA, what have you done to me? USA vs. Belgium, Netherlands vs. Mexico—it seems I just can’t get enough of 2014 World Cup Brazil. Watching those men run up and down the soccer pitch had me wondering, is this just a young person’s sport?

Apparently not.

A recent Danish study shows that its never too late to start playing what the rest of the world calls football. Researchers from the Copenhagen Centre for Team Sport and Health at the University of Copenhagen recruited 27 inactive men, ages 63 to 70, and had them take part in either football training, strength training, or no training at all. After four months of twice-weekly one-hour workouts, tests showed quite a difference between groups regarding aerobic fitness and muscle strength.

For those who practiced and played soccer, maximum oxygen uptake increased by 15 percent, muscle function was improved by 30 percent and bone mineralization in the Femoral neck (of the thigh bone) increased by 2 percent.

senior soccer

Image courtesy of tungphoto / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Our study shows that intense training such as football can change the lives of elderly men,” said study leader Professor Peter Krustrup, in a press release.

And 70 is the new 30 if you’ve been playing soccer all your life. Krustrup added, “Our previous studies have shown that 70-year-old men with lifelong participation in football possess a postural balance and rapid muscle force that is comparable to that of 30-year-old untrained men.”

The benefits of soccer enhance life off the field as well. Playing soccer has been shown to reduce high blood pressure in the elderly and also reduces the risk of falls and bone fractures.

Caregiverlist® has always believed that senior fitness is a major component of healthy aging. Caregivers can learn about fitness and nutrition in order to help seniors live their best possible lives. Caregiverlist Basic Training, powered by Caregiver Training University, provides easy-to-access online caregiver training for professional and family caregivers.

Sun Safety Especially Important for Seniors

Ah, June! Finally, the cold, dreary days of winter are gone and the summer sun warms our bones. Last weekend, city pools were full to capacity. This is perfect weather — the recent numbing cold weather is a just a memory, and we well know that unbearable heat that will have us scrambling for air conditioning is right around the corner. But for right now, we will take advantage of these halcyon days and spend every available moment outdoors.

Before caregivers head outside with their seniors, it’s important to know that skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S. In fact, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the odds of developing skin cancer rise as you age; in fact, between 40 and 50 percent of Americans who live to age 65 will have at least one skin cancer.

Why is it that those over 70 years old have the highest incidence of skin cancer of any age group? I remember the days when baby oil was used as suntan lotion. A recent study conducted in Germany concluded that repeated sunburns during a lifetime increased the chances of melanoma later in life, writes Susan Evans, MD.

Tanning beds, introduced into the U.S. in 1979, were touted as the epitome of health and fitness. Tanning salons became hugely popular. However, we now know that using a tanning bed will increase your chances of getting skin cancer. The American Academy of Dermatology says studies have shown people who have been exposed to UV rays from indoor tanning have a 59% increase of developing melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. And just recently, the FDA reclassified them as "moderate-risk devices" instead of "low-risk". (The Skin Cancer Foundation, along with a host of other experts, feels that the reclassification doesn’t go far enough.)

But all is not lost. Damage can be mitigated and we can safeguard ourselves and our seniors from destroying any more precious skin cells. The following precautions can keep keep skin damage at a minimum and reduce the chance of future melanoma:

  • Wear waterproof sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
  • Cover up with broad brimmed hats, protective clothing, and UV-filtering sunglasses.
  • Seek shade instead of direct sunlight, especially during 10am and 4pm, when the sun is strongest.

In the meantime, seniors should arrange for regular skin cancer screenings with their doctors and educate themselves on what types of skin changes for which to be vigilant. Caregivers should also know the indicators of melanoma and be on the lookout for any skin anomalies.



Caregiverlist® invites you to learn more about helping seniors age well with Caregiverlist® Basic Training, powered by Caregiver Training University. The 8-hour training course provides easy-to-access online caregiver training for professional and family caregivers and meets senior caregiver orientation training requirements for many states.

Advanced Style: Celebrating Over-Sixty Chic

I’ll admit it — I’ve been known to occasionally fall down the rabbit hole of online fashion sites. I’ll start at LE CATCH, drift over to FashionIndie, then lose a few hours on The Sartorialist. But because the nature of my job is to acquaint myself with all things senior and elder-related, I’ve always held a very soft spot in my heart for Ari Seth Cohen and his amazing New York street-style blog, Advanced Style.

The Advanced Style blog documents older women (and men) who dare to express themselves in fashion. Mr. Cohen began the blog in 2008 after moving to New York City, where he roams the streets looking to document the fashionable over-60 set — both male and female. As he states on his site, “Respect your elders and let these ladies and gents teach you a thing or two about living life to the fullest."

The international popularity of the blog has translated into a book, and even a coloring book. Now Mr. Cohen brings seven stylish ladies, aged 63 to 95, to the big screen in his affectionate and inspiring documentary, Advanced Style. Advanced Style had its U.S. premier at the Montclair Film Festival in New Jersey on May 3. Below is the long trailer of this fantastic film featuring some of the world’s most stylish seniors. Directed by Lina Plioplyte and produced by Ari Seth Cohen, I’m hoping the documentary finds wider distribution here in the U.S.

 As the American Baby Boomer generation ages, coming into one’s own style is just one aspect of aging well. Since we’re all living longer, it just makes sense to do it on your own terms. Or as Jean, of Valerie & Jean, the duo behind Idiosyncratic Fashionistas puts it, “I dress for myself. If someone doesn’t like what I’m wearing, I don’t give a sh*t.”

Mother's Day Gift Ideas for the Senior Mom

The day my daughter was born — my firstborn — I held her in my arms, looked into her eyes and fell deeply and unbelievable in love. Then I picked up the phone, called my mother, and apologized for every rotten thing I had ever done to her (especially during my teenage years.)

You certainly don’t need to be a mother to celebrate your mother. If you are lucky enough to have mom or a grandmother around to honor, we have a few suggestions that go beyond Chanel No. 5 (not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

Peace of Mind
If you mother lives alone (over 80% of American women outlive their male spouses), making sure she’s safe can be a great gift. Senior-proof the home to help prevent falls. Buy her a Medical Alert system. Technology is a beautiful thing and some systems come equipped with GPS tracking if your mother is a senior on the go.

Stay in Touch
The best cell phones for seniors have have large buttons that are easy to read and a high contrast LED screen. Look for amplified sound and, in some cases, urgent care monitoring, similar to the response she’d receive through an alert system. Two of the most popular cell phones especially made for seniors are Snapfon and Jitterbug with 5Star Urgent Response (which is running a Mother’s Day promotion for $20 off.)

I’ve recently set my mother up to Skype her family halfway around the world. At 83, she believes her flying days are over, but she is always delighted to speak with her brother in Poland face-to-face.

Preserve Memories
Remember when photos were printed on paper? Most seniors have boxes and albums full of memories, but they may be difficult to get to. Scan those photos and present them to her on a digital photo frame. She can watch her favorite memories play on a continuous loop.

A Little Help Here?
Many times we find our schedules so hectic, we forget that the elderly mom might need a little help with day-to-day activities. Perhaps she could use help with shopping, light housekeeping, or simple companionship. You can hire a fully vetted and bonded companion caregiver for just a few hour per week through a quality home care agency.

Time
Let’s face it — the best present you can give is your presence. Stuff is just stuff. If you can, spend a little time with your mother this holiday and show her what she means to you.

Cargiverlist® wishes all the mothers and grandmothers out there a happy Mothers Day. If you have some special gift suggestions, we’d love to hear about them in the comments.

Keeping Seniors Heart-Healthy

Senior caregivers list heart disease as one of the major concerns for their senior clients and loved ones. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among the elderly, and it affects both men and women. Looking at the statistics, it’s easy to see why many of us know someone in our lives that has been affected by heart disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year about 715,000 Americans have a heart attack, and about 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.

February is, not surprisingly, American Heart Health Month. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) includes heart disease, strokes and high blood pressure. Although some factors can put you at higher risk, such as race and ethnicity, family medical history, and even geographical area, many CVD deaths could be prevented with lifestyle changes such as eating a healthier diet, exercising, and not smoking. Medication may also be necessary to manage conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.

Healthy habits and a healthy lifestyle can go a long way toward preventing heart disease. Here are some tips from the CDC:

Get a check-up once a year, even if you feel healthy. You know the adage: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Have your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers checked regularly. If you have diabetes, talk to your health-care team about how to best manage it. If you need medication, remember to take it.

Eat a healthy diet. Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Limit your fats and sodium. Whole foods are better than processed. Good nutrition is key.

Exercise regularly. Incorporate exercise into your everyday life. Shoot for 30 minutes of exercise every day.

Don't smoke. If you don't smoke, don't start. If you do smoke, quit as soon as possible.

Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for CVD. Know your body mass index (BMI) and maintain the optimal weight for your height.

Limit alcohol use. Alcohol can increase your blood pressure. Men should stick to no more than two drinks per day, and women to no more than one.

Seniors living even the healthiest of lifestyles can still fall victim to cardiovascular disease. The elderly and their caregivers should be aware of the following warning signs that necessitate immediate intervention (courtesy of the American Heart Association):

HEART ATTACK WARNING SIGNS

  • Chest discomfort
  • Discomfort in other parts of the upper body
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweat, nausea, lightheadedness

STROKE WARNING SIGNS Spot a stroke F.A.S.T.:

  • Face Drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
  • Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech Difficulty: Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like "the sky is blue." Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • Time to call 9-1-1: If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.

CARDIAC ARREST WARNING SIGNS

  • Sudden loss of responsiveness: no response to tapping on shoulders.
  • No normal breathing

If you think you or someone you know is experiencing any of the symptoms above, call 9-1-1 or your emergency response number immediately. Heart attack and stroke are life-and-death emergencies — every second counts. Senior caregivers can receive additional Caregiverlist Basic Training, powered by Caregiver Training University. The 8-hour training course meets senior caregiver orientation training requirements for many states and provides information on how to best care for your senior client or loved one.

Value of Vitamins Questioned in Recent Studies

Senior care shifts can be long and arduous. Taking care of others is hard work and sometimes comes at the expense of taking care of ourselves. Everyone would like to think that there is an easy path — a magic bullet — to self-care. I know I’ve said, “I don’t need to go to the gym, I move mom from her bed to her chair five times a day. I go up and down the stairs all day doing laundry.” But really, that’s no replacement for a good workout with weights and the elliptical.

It’s the same with nutrition. We assume that a good vitamin or supplement can take the place of a healthy diet. Our friends at Scrubs Magazine take a look at recent studies to see if relying on vitamins and supplements is a good idea.

With life and work always seeming to get more and more hectic, it can seem like an easy fix us to turn to multivitamins and supplements to help maintain proper nutrition. But a few new studies suggest that these may not be the best way to go.

In fact, the debate on the usefulness of multivitamins and other supplements has been ongoing for years, and there’s never been a definitive answer. One new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine makes its opinion clear:

“The message is simple: Most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not justified, and they should be avoided,” said an editorial that accompanied the study, according to USA Today. This statement was signed by two researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, a British researcher and one of the journal’s senior editors.

An unrelated study that was published in the same medical journal found that multivitamins taken by heart attack survivors had no effect on the progression of heart disease.

However, studies have also found no harm in standard multivitamins, either directly or indirectly (through causing those who take them to eat worse or otherwise neglect their health).

On a related note, an editorial in The New York Times warns of the risks of giving vitamins and supplements to children. The piece is written by Paul A. Offit, chief of the division of infectious disease at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and Sarah Erush, clinical manager in the pharmacy department at the same hospital.

The two point out that dietary supplements are not regulated as drugs by the FDA, and therefore not all of the reactions of specific drugs may be known. Additionally, the authors of the editorial point out that this presents even more of a problem when parents don’t reveal all the supplements their children are taking when they bring them to the hospital.

Of course, there are many on the other side who still endorse the use of vitamins and supplements, and it is unclear if the real benefit and/or risks of every supplement will ever be known.

Caregiverlist wants to know: do you take vitamins and supplements? Do you believe they can take the place of, or at least work in conjunction with healthy eating? Do you sometimes rely too much upon them for your daily nutrition?

Do you eat the same healthy meal you might serve to your senior charge? Let us know in the comments. Do you want to learn more about eldercare nutrition and exercise? Consider purchasing Caregiverlist’s online caregiver training and certification to give you the tools you need to be the best senior caregiver you can be.

November is National Caregiver Month

Senior caregivers, whether they be Certified Nursing Aides, Home Health Aides, professional and family caregivers, or the community at large, are vital to the care and keep of our aging American population.

November is National Caregiver Month, and is the perfect opportunity to thank those who have made it a priority to provide home and health related services to the elderly, including physical and emotional support and assistance with activities of daily living.

Family (or informal) caregivers provided services valued at $450 billion per year in 2012, according the the AARP Public Institute. In the United States, 65.7 million caregivers make up 29% of the adult population providing care to someone who is ill, disabled or aged, and 50% have full-time employment outside the home.

Family caregivers cannot always fulfill all the needs of their senior loved ones. Future numbers are staggering — the aging population 65+ will more than double between the years 2000 and 2030, increasing to 71.5 million from 35.1 million (in 2000). That explains the incredible surge of senior care industry and the need for qualified professional caregivers.

The number of Senior Home Care Agencies has grown by 40% since 2008, according to a recent Caregiverlist employment index infographic. Caregiver jobs are filled at a rate of three to six hires per week, making professional senior care one of the hottest employment sectors in the United States.

The Administration on Aging (AoA), an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, works to ensure that older Americans can stay independent in their communities. Here are some of their suggested action ideas to show your appreciation for the caregiver in your life, in November and throughout the year:

Action Ideas to Celebrate Caregivers in November

  • Recognize caregivers in your community, in your organization and in your family. Host a get-together to honor caregivers in your family and/or community.
  • Locate a community care center or community space and organize a Caregivers Count awareness event.
  • Attend local town hall meetings and ask your representative what s/he is going to do to promote legislation that will help businesses develop more family-friendly caregiver policies.
  • Send an e-card to a caregiver. AoA offers free e-cards for caregivers.

  • Post on Facebook that November is National Caregivers Month and encourage your network to acknowledge caregivers in their families and communities.
  • Tweet about the importance of caregivers and resources available to caregivers.

We depend on professional and family caregivers. Give a shout-out to the caregivers in your life in the comments below.

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 bouquet of pink tulips especially for caregivers. Thank you dear caregivers 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 Pink Tulips

"Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later."

Og Mandino

 

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 an artist painting a fountain in the park. Thank you caregivers for caring for our seniors and please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on www.Caregiverlist.com and visit our career center for additional career tools.

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo Painter in the Park

"Forgiveness is not an occasional act: it is an attitude."

Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Words With Friends Encourages Mental Engagement: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

Finding new and fun ways to keep your senior clients using their brains can be difficult. Mental engagement in day to day activity is crucial for preventing Alzheimer's disease as well as dementia. The Words With Friends app offers a simple way for caregivers and their senior clients to play a game to exercise their minds. 

Words With Friends reflects the board game Scrabble in that players are provided with letter tiles that they must combine to create words to place on the board. Each word placed on the board must connect with another previously played word by using at least one of the same letters. There are various point values assigned to the letters based on how difficult it is to place them in a word. The player with the most points when the letters run out at the end of the game wins. 

The app features many different play options, which makes it ideal for any situation. Users can find their real life friends on the app and challenge them to a game. The app notifies you of when your opponent has made a move so that you can view the outcome and make your next move. There is also an option to play a random opponent if none of your friends are interested in a game, or the option to "pass and play" which is perfect for senior caregivers and their clients to use and play against one another. The first player makes their move and then hands the device off to the second player to make their move, and this continues back and forth until the conclusion of the game. 

For seniors, unscrambling and rearranging the letters in the game to create the words engages the mind to help keep it sharp as they age. Try playing a game or two with your senior clients, either against one another or as a team coming up with words to play against an outside opponent. 

 

The Words With Friends app is available free for Apple and Android platforms. 

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 relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

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