Yoga for Seniors

The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics fast approach and I’m reminded of Caregiverlist’s ongoing mission to help seniors age well. Senior exercise and nutrition is key to healthy aging. While some members of the older set can perform at a higher level of intensity, many seniors and senior caregivers look for less strenuous, but still effective, ways to keep physically fit.

Senior fitness is an important aspect of healthy aging and yoga is an excellent way for older adults to maintain a healthy body and mind. It can help with special senior needs such as pain management, cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation. The benefits of yoga go well beyond simple exercise and is a practice that, with proper supervision, can be safe for individuals at all levels of fitness.

“Hatha, Restorative or Gentle yoga might be a great fit for seniors.” according to Beth Range Kiely, co-owner of Chicago’s Om on the Range. “We also have seniors in their 60's who come to our studio who love some strong Vinyasa Flow yoga!”

Why yoga is ideal for seniors:

Low impact
Stretching, strengthening and breathing are all at the core of yoga. Yoga can provide all the benefits found in more exerting exercise, like cardio or weight work, without the high-impact dangers on an aging body.

Increased flexibility
Yoga can certainly help with the all-important range-of-motion. It can help loosen tight muscles and and allow your joints to move more effectively.

Seniors can develop strength with yoga; it is an excellent way to develop the core muscles. By using the weight of one’s own body and holding certain yoga postures for a few breaths, muscle groups are more safely engaged than in weight training that uses momentum.

Body and mind work together, and meditation is an essential part of yoga. Taking some time out to concentrate on oneself can help develop concentration and relieve stress.

Thousands of elderly Americans fall at home every year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Even if those falls don’t result in broken bones or head trauma, activities of daily living could be greatly curtailed. Yoga can help seniors with balance and subsequently, help prevent falls.

Senior caregivers know that starting a new exercise regimen can be intimidating for their senior client, especially in a large class setting, surrounded by others with varying degrees of experience. Contact a local yoga studio to see if they offer a private session to get started, or see if there are special senior beginner classes available.

Seniors should also not let cost stand in their way. There are a number of free classes offered through local park districts, community centers and (for a small fee) through hospitals. Seniors could also take up a home practice with a video or tape.  Here is a Yoga Journal article on staying FOREVER YOUNG with yoga and it has a few poses outlined (you would need to get on the floor and on your back for some.) If that seems too physically intensive, YouTube has many chair-yoga workouts available, such as the one below.

Caregivers should also make time to care for themselves, as well as their senior clients. Caregiverlist’s Paige Krzysko reviewed a yoga app in a recent Tech Friday blog for caregivers to enjoy for improved caregiver health.

Before embarking on any plan of action, it is imperative that you work with a doctor in order to help your senior, whether they be a family member or client, integrate yoga into their fitness routine to enhance their quality of life.

“The beauty of yoga is that you can adapt and modify your practice to get your energy (also known as prana) flowing each day.” says Ms. Range-Kiely. “Your movement and breath can strengthen, calm and heal your body and mind today and through the decades.”

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 during the holidays to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. This week's photo of beautiful Hawaii landscape, which provides a fresh and a serene space for caregivers to take a deep breath, or two, and feel energized. Thank you caregivers and certified nursing aides for caring for our seniors and please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on and visit our career center for additional career tools.

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo Hawaii

"There is no pillow as soft as a clear conscience." 

French Proverb

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 during the holidays to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. This week's photo of Mediterranean sea shore will take you to a calm beach in France. Thank you caregivers and certified nursing aides for caring for our seniors and please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on and visit our career center for additional career tools.

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo

"Faith is taking the first step even when you cannot see the staircase."

Martin Luther King Jr.

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 during the holidays to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. This week's photo will bring color to any caregiver's life with this vibrant lily flower blooming. Thank you caregivers and certified nursing aides for caring for our seniors and please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on and visit our career center for additional career tools.

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo Lily

"Talent is God-give; be humble. Fame is man-given; be thankful. Conceit is self-given; be careful."

John Wooden

Maspeth, New York Caregiver Wins Refer-a-Friend Monthly Grand Prize

Congratulations to the December monthly winner of Caregiverlist Refer-a-Friend and Win program - caregiver Stephanie Zhang from Maspeth, NY.


Stephanie referred her classmates, friends and family for caregiving jobs that are available on, and she won a free stylish scrubs outfit and a pair of shoes, courtesy of Scrubs Magazine. Part-time, full-time and live-in senior care jobs are available as more seniors continue to live longer.


Senior care companies hire Professional Caregivers, C.N.A.’s, & C.H.H.A.’s weekly from Caregiverlist, the only Caregiver Career Center customized for the senior care industry. Build your professional caregiver resume, and apply for multiple caregiving positions near you online.


Refer-a-friend to Caregiverlist and get entered to win a free t-shirt, lapel pin and 10-hour online caregiver training program as a member of the Professional Association of Caregivers. A new winner is drawn weekly. One monthly GRAND PRIZE WINNER receives a Scrub of the Month (top, bottoms and pair of shoes), courtesy of Scrubs Magazine.


Senior Care Considerations During Polar Vortex

Since most of the United States is locked in the grip of a fierce “polar vortex”, or sub-zero temperatures, I thought it might be a good time to revisit special considerations of elderly care during this time of extreme weather. Here in Chicago, yesterday’s low temperature was -16F, with a windchill of -50F. Elsewhere in the Midwest and Plain states, all-time low temperature records were broken. Exposure to the elements could result in frostbite or hypothermia in just a few minutes.

The elderly are vulnerable during extreme weather, especially those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia who are prone to wandering. In New York state, an elderly woman suffering from Alzheimer’s disease left her home and was found dead in the snow, not more than 100 yards from her door. So as the frigid temperatures make their way east and south, all the way down to Florida, be on guard for the special needs associated with the aged.

Older adults lose body heat more quickly than the young, and hypothermia can set in fast. According to Stay Safe in Cold Weather, by the National Institute on Aging, “for an older person, a body temperature colder than 95 degrees can cause many health problems such as a heart attack, kidney problems, liver damage, or worse.”

Certain medications can make it easier for the elderly to get hypothermia, so check with a physician if that’s a concern.

Keep the house warm by restricting open rooms. Shut their vents and doors to maximize heat in the living and sleeping areas. Close blinds and curtains to help eliminate drafts.

Food is fuel, so make sure the senior eats enough. Also, cold air is drier, so make sure they keep hydrated. Caregiver training recommends a senior drink 64oz. of liquid (preferably water) daily.

If space heaters are used for supplemental heat, be sure they are turned off before bed and when unattended and make sure a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector are nearby, as these are common concerns.

If your senior family member or client shows the following signs, call 911 immediately, as these are signs of advanced hypothermia:

  • moving slowly, trouble walking, or being clumsy
  • stiff and jerky arm or leg movements
  • slow heartbeat
  • slow, shallow breathing
  • blacking out or losing consciousness

As always, if you or a senior in your care needs special help, contact your state's Area Agency on Aging. Until this arctic weather passes (and it shall, just not soon enough!), Caregiverlist wishes all seniors and their caregivers to stay warm and safe.


Senior Care: Preventing and Treating Flu in the Elderly

It’s flu season and seniors over 65 are particularly susceptible. Why? Blame the weakened immune system found in many elderly. A particularly nasty bout with the flu could even result in death. According to, 90% of flu-related deaths and more than half of flu-related hospitalizations occur in people age 65 and older.

Flu vaccination is imperative, especially for the elderly. Over 6.5 million people who would have gotten sick during the 2012-2013 flu season, didn't, because they got a flu shot, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. The report also asserts that an estimated 79,000 hospitalizations from influenza were averted thanks to the vaccination

In addition to receiving the flu vaccine, there are other everyday steps you can take to protect you or your client or loved one from the flu:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub. Antibacterial soap DOES NOT offer any extra protection.
  • Avoid the spread of germs by refraining from touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Build up the immune system with good health habits. Get plenty of sleep and exercise, drink plenty of fluids, and eat healthy food.
  • Watch your stress level. This is particularly true for caregivers. Stress—especially chronic stress—increases your risk of disease.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. Influenza, left untreated, could develop into pneumonia, an infection of the lungs. Pneumonia is the fifth overall cause of death among seniors. While sick, seniors will need support from a caregiver.

It looks like the flu if there’s the following:

  • A 100F or higher fever or feeling feverish (not everyone with the flu has a fever)
  • A cough and/or sore throat
  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • Headaches and/or body aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue

Ok, we’ve got it—so what treatment is there for a senior with the flu? suggests getting immediate emergency medical attention if the following is present:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Purple or blue discoloration of the lips
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough

If the flu is serious enough, a doctor may provide antiviral medication. Otherwise, the course of action for flu symptom treatment without medication would include:

  • Rest, rest and more rest
  • Drinking clear fluids like water, broth, or electrolyte beverages to prevent dehydration
  • Reducing the heat of a fever by placing a cool, damp washcloth on the forehead, arms, and legs
  • Placing a humidifier in the room to make breathing easier
  • Covering up with a warm blanket

Caregivers should go along with their senior client to get a flu shot. They should also make sure they take good care of themselves during flu season, so they can better take care of their seniors.

5 Tips to Ease Caregiver Stress During the Holidays

Senior care can be stressful at the best of times. While the holidays are certainly a joyful time, the hustle and bustle may be disconcerting to caregiver and senior alike. The need to finish tasks, such as cooking, baking and shopping, can create an incredible level of stress in the senior’s home.

Family caregivers and professional caregivers (C.N.A.s and C.H.H.A.s) alike can succumb to holiday caregiver stress. Here are some tips to help yourself so you can better care for your senior client or loved one during this magical albeit overwhelming time of year.

Keep it Simple
Trying to do too much (or even as much as last year) can put undue stress on both caregiver and senior. Maybe paring back is not such a bad thing. Learn to let go of self-imposed holiday quota. Be prepared to scale back — from the amount of cookies to bake to the number greeting cards to send.

Enlist Help
Family caregivers tend to want to do it all themselves. If a sibling or other family member can’t provide respite care themselves, turn to a trusted Home Care Agency to provide a few hours of relief for you, the family caregiver. Family caregiver burnout is a real problem, no matter what time of year. Suggest to family and friends who ask that help could be the most valuable gift.

Look To Technology
Find apps that help you take a break and guide meditation. We found one that features a basic concept — a voiceover with a guided stress relief mental exercise. The app allows the user to choose from two basic guided meditation categories — a work break or for stress relief. There’s certainly a lot more available out there.

Stay Healthy
Your body is a machine. If it begins to break down, you won’t have the ability to care for your senior or yourself. Keeping up with the needs of the holidays requires stamina. Exercise, rest, and proper nutrition are the keys to keeping you working at peak performance.

Take a Moment
Every week, we at Caregiverlist post a calming photo dedicated to caregiver stress relief. The idea is a simple but important one — stop for just a moment and focus on a “happy place.” Sometimes that’s just enough to help you reset and recharge for better caregiving.

Take care of yourself as well as your senior this season. Holiday depression is a common byproduct of caregiver stress. Take steps to maximize the opportunity to have a happy and healthy holiday.

Tips for a Successful Hospital Stay and Discharge

Hospital stays are an unfortunate aspect of getting older. Many times, those stays are unexpected, such as those resulting from an injury incurred during a fall. These are the times when a senior caregiver really needs to step up and take charge understanding and coordinating care while in the hospital and preparing for the hospital discharge.

John Boden, founder of The Life Ledger, an online geriatric care management system, discusses the caregiver’s role when their elder is admitted to the hospital.

I recently had a minor problem, now resolved, that required a hospital admission via the ER. The experience was a rude awaking. I have lots of experience with handling the various aspects of a hospitalization, yet I found my own stay very challenging and was reminded that an elder would be confused about what was happening.

When an elder in your life goes to the hospital, you need to be ready to help. Being on site is difficult and a huge intrusion into your own life, but it is very important in helping to get the best care. Scheduling of tests, doctor’s visits, therapy, ordering meals etc., is done at the staff’s convenience because of the view that the patient is always available and ready for them. In fact it may seem that just when you have stepped out to go to the cafeteria, the doctor will show up.

So now that you have dropped everything to come to the rescue and are filling your caregiver role, what should you do? Bring a notebook so you can keep your own record of the names of the various doctors, nurses, aides and therapists, what the therapy procedures are to be, and what tests have been taken and what the results are. Make note of what medications were administered. When you have this information you can help to see that there is proper coordination among the many different people providing care as the shifts change and the doctor’s associates show up.

After you have survived the stay, you will meet the challenges of the discharge. I suggest you start planning for discharge as soon as possible. If rehabilitation or homemaker assistance will be needed, you can investigate what facilities or agencies are available and which one you prefer. You will need to get the medication list and be sure there are no omissions or conflicts and see that both the new medications as well as those that were part of the past regime will be available as soon as they are needed. Therapy, diet, follow-up appointments and much more will also be part of the discharge orders. The main goal to keep in mind for any hospital admission is getting out as soon as possible with no new problems such as infections.

Nursing homes have become an extension of hospital care for seniors, providing rehabilitation services, ongoing care for age-related illnesses and hospice care. Medicare will pay for up to 100 days in a nursing home, which means many seniors will transfer to a nursing home after a hospital stay. You can research Daily Prices of Nursing Homes Nationwide and Ratings on Most Important Criteria with Caregiverlist’s easy-to-use Nursing Home Star Rating tool.

Assessing Senior Care at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to gather together as family and evaluate the needs of your senior loved one. This is the time, for many families, when siblings will be together and we feel it’s a great opportunity to review the safety and well-being of mom and/or dad.

We at Caregiverlist publish a list of issues for family discussion. Remember to get your senior involved and really listen to what they have to say.

Medical Issues:
Treated early, some age-related illnesses can be given the proper medical attention in order to slow progression. Take the time to think about any care needs your senior relative may need as their health conditions change. It is sometimes easier for those who do not see their parents and grandparents often to notice changes than for those who have daily interactions with them. How is their hearing? Their vision? Are your elder relatives getting dressed, washed and prepared for their day? Are they taking their medications at a regular time each day? Are they exercising as part of their daily routine? How is their diet?

Social Issues:
Ask your senior family member what their week is like. Who are their friends? What are they doing? Healthy aging requires maintaining physical and mental exercise and socialization. Do they belong to any clubs or church groups? How would they feel about attending an adult day care center for a chance to get out of the house and enjoy both mental and social stimulation?

Caregiving Issues:
Who is taking care of mom and/or dad? What are there day-to-day needs? Sometimes it is necessary to involve a family member or caregiving service to assist with care needs, at least part-time, as abilities change.

If you live far away from senior family members, take the time to investigate senior care options in their town when you are visiting. Find out what quality Senior Home Care Agencies are in their area and learn about senior service programs. Obtain names and numbers so you will be able to contact someone to assist if the need should arise. And if family is not nearby, seniors nationwide may turn to their local Area Agency on Aging to learn about community senior care services and programs such as meal delivery, transportation and senior activities.

Distance caring is a reality for many families. Thanksgiving is a joyous time to be together and give thanks that we have the opportunity to make decisions to better assist those we love to age well.

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