One of the biggest reasons families opt for at-home care for seniors over residential care homes is the independence it provides. Hiring a personal support worker who makes home visits allows the senior a cherished measure of control over his or her life.
Unfortunately, living at home does come with a potential drawback: isolation.
We often think of depression as an affliction of the young. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Depression is a persistent problem in our elderly population, and it can have life-changing effects on a senior’s overall health and wellbeing.
Between 10 and 15% of seniors in Canada suffer from depression. It’s especially pervasive with women over 65, whose rate of depression is double that of Canadian senior men, and for those seniors who live alone.
But there are powerful ways to provide comfort and healing for depression through at-home care for seniors.
Benefits of At-Home Care for Seniors With Depression
Help Seniors Make Connections – Leaving the house to connect with friends and family is important for seniors. At-home care workers can facilitate this by taking care of transportation and accompanying the senior to ensure safety and comfort.
Get Them Moving – Although exercise is far from a magic cure for depression, it can help a great deal in managing the symptoms. A care professional can plan an exercise routine that is appropriate for the senior’s level of mobility.
Keep Things In Order – The space around you can have a big effect on your mood. Keeping the house clean and organized can do a lot to help lift a senior’s spirits.
Manage Medication – If the senior has been prescribed medication for depression, a care worker can make sure the senior takes it.
Socialize – Sometimes, a sympathetic ear is all it takes to get through a difficult day. Compassionate care workers will take time to engage seniors in conversation and give them a shoulder to cry on.
Does Your Elderly Family Member Have Depression?
If you’ve noticed your senior loved one showing signs of isolation and depression, it may be time to connect with an at-home care agency.
Home care starts with a conversation. But how do you broach the subject? Many families aren’t sure where to begin.
As stated in the Right At Home home care agency’s Right Conversations guide, not everyone feels comfortable initiating a conversation about at-home care. However, the agency offers the following practical tips:
Go into the conversation with accurate, relevant information about your loved one’s condition.
Decide how much concern the situation warrants.
Review the facts and avoid your personal biases. Understand that there may be personal feelings involved, but that the conversation shouldn’t be about judgement.
Involve the rest of your family. It’s important that the person’s other relatives understand how serious the situation is an have their opportunity to speak. It’s possible they have information you don’t have.
Plan the conversation out in advance, with realistic goals and key messages.
There are other tips available on the Right At Home home care
It’s a brand new year and there is an upsurge in participants at the local gym. New Year’s Resolutions are the reason and that increase inevitably declines over the weeks that follow. By the end of February, the roster of regulars is usually right back to the usual number.
There can be many reasons why people stop exercising. Here are some suggestions that might help maintain that motivation you need:
Yes, this is the most rudimentary thing you can do, but it remains one of the most effective. Of course, it is important for those goals to be realistic. If you are 50, planning to regain the physique you enjoyed at 20 is not very likely. This can cause you to stop exercising altogether and lose the benefits that could improve your quality of life or help you live longer. Think small, attain those goals, and then gradually create more challenging ones.
Keep Yourself Entertained
In addition to the physical pain that often comes from exercise, people often explain that they simply find working out to be boring. The easy solution is music as there are many different mp3 players that make this entirely possible; heck, you even listen to music while swimming.
Gym owners understand the importance of distraction as well, offering banks of TV monitors as well as plug-in stations for portable music devices. Music also helps to attain and maintain a rhythm, so give it a try. Just don’t pick something too middle of the road.
The Buddy System
Another way to keep exercise fun and interesting is to do it with a friend or series of friends. Setting a time and making a commitment also provide excellent motivation, thanks to the gentle peer pressure. You can encourage each other and also celebrate whenever one of you attains a goal.
Exercise bikes are a common part of many people’s fitness regimes. If cycling is your sport of choice, they are especially handy to have in countries like Canada, where you can only bike six months out of the year.
However, there have been many new devices introduced that help people exercise, while the stationary bike has been around for decades. Are they still worth the money and your time?
If you want to lose weight, then yes, an exercise bike is still a solid investment. Adults require a minimum of 2.5 hours per week of cardio exercise; if you are looking to lose weight, increase that total to an hour a day. You should also supplement that with trips to the gym in order to augment your upper body and keep your physique proportional. It is also wise to modify your diet to include good quality foods and proper portion size. Doing all of these will provide the fastest and most effective results.
As to the question of whether you should have your own bike at home, or just use the ones in the gym, it depends on what is available. If you want a top-quality bike, you can buy one and have it at home for use any time you want. Gyms tend to have good, but not excellent bikes. However, they are usually more than sufficient and if you live close enough to your gym that you attend it regularly, you might not need to make the extra investment of owning your own stationary bike.
Exercise bikes may seem old school, but there’s a good reason why they are still around: they work! Having your own at home is a great enticement to keep fit. However, if losing weight is your main goal, do not rely on the bike entirely to attain that goal.
Exercise is a wonderful thing for both mind and body. However, like most things in life, you can overdo it and actually create problems. Do you find you are spending more and more time at the gym or exercising at home? Is the amount of exercise going up without a corresponding increase in the benefits? Are you actually experiencing problems because of the degree of exercising you’re doing?
Here are some signs that you may be exercising too much:
“No pain, no gain” is a familiar refrain when it comes to exercising and most us experience some during and after a good workout. However, if you are in exercise-induced pain for most of the day and it is keeping you awake at night, this is not healthy. This state can also leave you feeling irritable, even during times when anger is not called for.
Blood Pressure Issues
One of the reasons people exercise is to help lower their blood pressure. However, over exercising can actually cause your blood pressure to become too high, leading to health complications even in young and otherwise well people.
You’re Not Seeing Any Results
Many people give up on dieting because they reach a point where the pounds are not coming off like they used to. The same can be true with exercising; you can reach a plateau and not demonstrate the same level of improvement that was previously easy to attain. This can lead to a loss of motivation to exercise. Both are indicators that you need to slow down and even take some time off.
Fatigue and Low Energy
Are you no longer getting the post workout charge you previously enjoyed and are now actually feeling listless and easily fatigued? These are good indicators that you should take a holiday from exercising for a bit.
The gym is an excellent place to exercise and a wonderful way to meet new friends and fitness partners. However, do not forget to enjoy physical activity in the great outdoors. If you live in a part of the country where winter is too cold to comfortably exercise, you should try to take advantage of the hospitable fall weather while it is still here.
Here are some exercises that you can enjoy while taking in those wonderful autumn colours:
Walking and hiking
There is nothing wrong with walking or running on an indoor track at the gymnasium, but it does not compare to observing the natural beauty of nature this time of year. Get out to your favourite trail and bring a friend.
Running and biking
Whether you want a short jaunt or a long trip, going for a run or bike ride this time of year is an excellent idea. The sun is not as intense and you often get a nice cool breeze to keep you from overheating.
Go for Extended Dog Walks
I do not have to tell you how much our canine friends love to go for a walk. With winter coming soon, those walks and get shorter and shorter. In fact, most last no longer than the time it takes for them to do their business. The weather is lovely right now, and your dog will love being out in it, so take the time to go for a few extended walks. You will both benefit and enjoy it.
Rake those leaves
As lovely as they are, it is a good idea to remove leaves from your lawn. Rather than paying the local children to do it for you, grab a rake and have at it. It provides an excellent, low impact form of exercise than anyone can do.
The physical benefits of exercise are indisputable. No matter what your age, you need to get up and moving in order to ensure maintenance of current health and prevention of disease in later years. However, exercise is also a very valuable tool when it comes to helping people battling mental health issues.
As someone who frequents their local gym regularly, you are no doubt already aware of the power of endorphins. Those “feel-good” chemicals that give you that natural high after your workout are one of the things that encourage you to keep going. That is also true for people with issues like anxiety and depression. The endorphins improve their mood, which acts as a supplement to any talk or drug therapy they are receiving.
Exercise also acts as a form of connection. Think about all the friends and mentors you have met over the years at the gym, people that you probably would not have encountered otherwise. Many people with mental health problems tend to isolate themselves due to reasons of shame and fear. That severely limits the possibilities they have for meeting new people and even maintaining old friendships. Even if they do not join a gym, exercise is a way to encourage them to leave their homes and do things. That leads to the mental benefits and also opens up the possibility of spending time with other people and gaining the cathartic effects one gets from such encounters.
Regular physical activity can also have other benefits for people in this category. Exercise is more likely to result in a person having a good night’s sleep. A lot of people with depression and anxiety often suffer from uneven sleep or even outright insomnia.
Individuals suffering from anxiety tend to also have considerable muscle tension, which can lead to headaches and physical pain. Exercise helps to loosen and relax muscles which in turn reduces such symptoms and leads to less anxiety.
Many people out there want to lose weight, but they often do not understand the best way of going about it. Exercise is a crucial part of weight loss, but many people think that if they exercise a lot, they can continue to eat whatever they want and in whatever quantity they wish. That is simply not the case: exercise and proper eating go hand-in-hand when it comes to successful weight loss plans.
If you have been exercising regularly and not seeing the results you want, here are some tips on how you can help to rectify that by also concentrating on your diet:
Be careful about what you eat
Concentrate on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, lean meats, and fibre foods, while avoiding excessive amounts of sugar, saturated and trans fats, and refined grains.
Watch those portion sizes
Even if you think you are eating healthy, you can still eat too much. Be sure to pay attention to the calorie information provided on the product label and read it carefully. Make sure that the information you are looking at applies to one serving and know just how much they consider one serving to be. A single package of something does not necessarily constitute one serving: it could actually be three or four.
Practice calorie counting
It may seem like a pain to keep track of what you are eating, but it is actually now easier than ever, thanks to apps like Lose It. There is some initial setup, but once you are going, it is very easy to stay on top of how much are consuming each day and how many calories you are taking in. You can tell immediately from the app whether you are on the verge of going over for that day. The app also includes a bar code scanner, which makes data even faster and easier.
You’ve probably heard the term Pilates, but have you ever tried it? Pilates has many benefits for the body, no matter what your age or occupation. Here are just a few of them:
Benefits Your Core
Your core is the center of your body; a strong core is very desirable because it means less work and strain on your neck and back, two areas that trouble many people.
Increase Your Flexibility
Even if you have no desire to be a gymnast, it is very good to be as flexible as your body permits. The additional flexibility you get with Pilates means a greater range of movement and less chance of injury and pain.
Do you have a sedentary job where you spend most of the day sitting in front of a computer? I’ll bet you find yourself feeling incredibly stiff at various points in the day. Human beings were not designed to spend so much of their lives in a stationary position. Attending a Pilates class, even just once a week, can be incredibly helpful in reducing this stiffness and goes a long way in improving your quality of life.
One of the main advantages Pilates offers is that it strengthens and elongates your muscles. This helps your joint mobility and makes your muscles more elastic and flexible. This means less chance of discomfort or debilitating injury.
Increase Your Strength
Your core is not the only body part that benefits from Pilates. Most exercises also make use of your arms and legs, building up muscles in these important areas as well.
A Well-Conditioned Body
Everyone desires a lean, strong, well-conditioned body. That sort of physique means that you are capable of easily enjoying and excelling in many sports, as well as just being able to handle the demands of everyday life with greater ease.
By all means, feel the burn at the gym, but don’t intimidate others.
For you to really get the maximum benefits from a gym membership, you need to feel very comfortable wherever you decide to work out. If the gym is intimidating or otherwise off-putting, you will be far less inclined to spend time there, thus defeating the whole purpose of having a membership.
Here is some basic gym etiquette to remember; observe these at all times to ensure that everyone has the best experience they can:
Observe the Rules
Every facility has its own set of posted rules members are expected to follow. Make sure you read and understand them.
Treat others as you would wish to be treated and don’t be intimidating. People who are self-conscious about how they look probably already feel uncomfortable around those who are fit; be nice and offer to help them whenever possible.
Wipe Down the Equipment When Finished
When you finish with a machine, use whatever sanitary solution the gym supplies to wipe off the equipment. Many people may use a piece of equipment over the course of a day and that can mean a whole lot of germs; don’t contribute to the bacteria pool by leaving yours behind.
Make Sure Someone Else is Not Using the Equipment
Someone using a machine may have gotten up to ask a question or get something they need; that doesn’t mean they have finished. If it’s not clear, ask whether anyone is using a machine before you sit down and get started.
Give People Enough Space
The gym can get very crowded during peak times, but do your best not to crowd your fellow member. Make sure everyone has ample space to perform their activity. This will ensure member comfort and help to prevent injuries.
So, you have decided that it’s finally time to lose those 20 pounds you promised you would start taking off…oh, last New Year’s Day. You now have the will, you now have the motivation, and you now just need the facilities to get going and become fit again. You probably have a multitude of gyms in your city with an equally large number of membership packages available. Where do you go and which do you choose? It’s perplexing enough to make you want to just stay home on the couch.
Here are some tips that can help make things easier:
Choose One Close to Home
The closer the gym is, the more likely you are to use it. If it’s in walking distance from your job, even better. Check the hours; are they open during times when it’s convenient for you to use the facility?
Take the Tour
Ask for a tour of the facility. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the equipment, instructors, programs, change rooms, or anything else that comes to mind. For example: find out when the peak times are. If this is when you plan to attend, ask how busy the facility gets. It won’t do you any good to show up at the gym and find all of the machines taken.
Go Month to Month
You’re eager now, but will you still be in six weeks? Try going month to month for the first while and see how you do, rather than locking yourself into a yearly contract.
Study the Paperwork
Make sure that there are no extra fees beyond what you agree to. Only sign up for things you know you need.
Before You Sign…
Do some additional online research. Does the gym have good reviews? Do you know anyone who goes there regularly? Ask questions.