Archive for the ‘Aging / Health’ Category

Exercise for Older Adults: A Little Goes a Long Way Towards Maintaining Independence

by: John Aker | January 20th, 2017

Exercise for Older AdultsA healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and fitness is highly emphasized in today’s society, but when it comes to frail older adults, exercise and fitness are not necessarily health topics that come readily to mind.  However, the benefits of even moderate exercise for seniors are so great that it should not be overlooked. Recent studies suggest that senior citizens who exercise – even if they didn’t exercise when younger – tend to live longer, healthier, happier lives. This is due in no small part to a renewed or strengthened ability to perform daily activities independently and better fight through illnesses.

While some physical weakness may be a part of the natural aging process, functional decline is often the result of a sedentary lifestyle. The National Institute on Aging released startling statistics after a physical health study performed on elderly aged 75 and older that demonstrated the desperate need to improve the fitness health of frail seniors. The study revealed that 40 percent of the seniors studied could not walk two blocks; 32 percent could not climb 10 steps; 22 percent could not lift 10 pounds; and 7 percent could not walk across a small room.

There are some common misconceptions about physical activity and older adults. For example, the myth that frail adults are unable to exercise, or it’s not wise or safe to start an exercise program, or that there are no benefits that the frail elderly can gain from fitness. While it is always important to consult a physician before starting a new exercise regiment, the truth is that debilitation can oftentimes be minimized with regular exercise.

Besides the obvious benefit of increasing muscular strength and endurance which deteriorate through inactivity, the Office of Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services note that fitness can effectively produce many physiological benefits, including improving circulation to reduce high blood pressure, improving joint flexibility and range of motion, and improving respiratory ability and efficiency.

Exercise can help to prevent falls and fractured hips in the elderly. This is especially significant because 50 percent of seniors who fracture a hip never walk independently again, and many die from complications. Exercise also can fight the effects of brittle bones from osteoporosis by strengthening bone mass. Additionally, resistance training can increase strength in the knees and ankles, which will also help to prevent falls.

Exercise encourages a healthy digestive system. Regular activity naturally increases a poor appetite, which is a common problem with inactive seniors. Healthier appetites lead to healthier eating habits. Healthier eating habits lead to alleviation of digestive and bowel function issues common among the elderly, which in turn helps with sleeping difficulties.

Susceptibility to illness greatly increases with age; thus, a particularly important benefit of exercise for the frail elderly is an increased ability to fight off illness. Stress can deplete a senior’s natural ability to ward off sickness; however, exercise improves the autonomic nervous system’s ability to tolerate stress. Exercise can also enhance the immune system with a significant increase in serum immunoglobulin.

In addition to its physiological benefits, there are also many psychological benefits of exercise for the elderly. Exercise helps the elderly maintain a sense of autonomy over their aging bodies. Instead of feeling like victims to the aging process, they can take control with a regular exercise program and make progressive steps towards improving their physical health. Exercise has also been shown to channel energies into healthy and productive activity, which helps to reduce anxiety and tension and fight depression, as well as alleviate frustration, loneliness and hopelessness. Furthermore, it produces an increased sense of independence, which helps to foster self-esteem.

There is also evidence that exercise produces an enhancement of cognitive abilities. Improving circulation increases the amount of oxygen brought to the brain, enhancing mental alertness. Studies have also shown that non-strenuous physical exercise can help the elderly improve memory retrieval and visual-motor performance.

To receive these numerous benefits of exercise for the frail elderly, it does not take a large time commitment. The initial frequency of an exercise routine can be as short as 6 minutes, repeated throughout the day. Documented benefits in frail elders have resulted from as little as 30 cumulative minutes of exercise a week! The real commitment comes with a mental pledge to “keep at it.” Creating a routine for specific exercise times each day helps foster a longer-term commitment to the exercises.

Incorporating moderate activity and exercise into daily routine can be a challenge for some frail older adults, but there are many available resources to help with this important part of care. An exceptional home care agency such as Aker Kasten Home Health Care provides caregivers who understand how to work gently with seniors to encourage activities that help regain strength. For more information about encouraging exercise and activity for the elderly in West Palm Beach or anywhere in Palm Beach County, please contact Aker Kasten Home Health Care.

Aker Kasten Home Health Care Urges You to Act F.A.S.T to Prevent Irreversible Damage from Stroke

by: John Aker | April 26th, 2016

Hundreds of thousands of individuals across America will experience a stroke this year. Still, despite the fact that stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in America and a top cause of adult disability, many remain uneducated as to its causes and methods for prevention. Even more alarming is the fact that many individuals fail to recognize a stroke when experiencing symptoms. Aker Kasten Home Health Care of Boca Raton understands the importance of stroke education. We encourage the general public to become more aware about stroke risk factors, methods for prevention and symptom recognition. Aker Kasten Home Health Care knows that acting F.A.S.T is the key to reducing the side effects of stroke.

May is Stroke Awareness Month. As part of a national public education movement Aker Kasten Home Health Care encourages F.A.S.T thinking when you are unsure if a loved one has experienced a stroke.

Face- Ask the person to smile. Does one side of his face droop?
Arms- Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech- Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Can he repeat the sentence correctly? Are his words slurred?
If any of these answers are YES then…
Time is of essence! Call 911 right away or get to a hospital as fast as possible!

Quick Facts about Stroke
Symptoms of a stroke include…

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, an arm, or a leg – especially on one side of the body.
  • Confusion or trouble speaking and understanding.
  • Trouble seeing from one or both eyes.
  • Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

What is a stroke?
A stroke is the result of interrupted blood flow to an area of the brain and can cause brain damage. How a stroke patient is affected depends on where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much the brain is damaged. Some people recover completely from strokes, but more than 2/3 of survivors will have some type of disability. Abilities impacted usually include speech, movement, and memory.

How do you reduce your risk of a stroke?
According to the National Stroke Association (NSA), 80% of strokes are preventable through careful attention to these ten steps:

  • Check your blood pressure regularly.
  • Find out if you have atrial fibrillation (a type of irregular heartbeat).
  • Stop smoking.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation.
  • Know your cholesterol numbers.
  • Control diabetes.
  • Exercise.
  • Eat a lower sodium, lower fat diet.
  • Find out if you have circulation problems.
  • Be aware of stroke symptoms.

Life after a stroke
There are ways to make life easier if your abilities are impacted due to stroke.

  • Dressing can be made easier by selecting clothes with front fasteners and replacing buttons, zippers, and laces with Velcro fasters. There are also several dressing aids available, such as long-handled shoe horns on Internet sites and in health supply stores.
  • Special utensils such as flatware with built-up handles which are easier to grasp and rocker knives for cutting food with one hand can help people with physically-impaired arms and hands.
  • Helpful bathroom devices include, among others, grab bars in shower or tub, raised toilet seat, tub bench, electric razor and toothbrush and flip-top toothpaste tube.

Need more information?
Contact Aker Kasten Home Health Care at 561.955.6010 for information on recovering at home with help. We are a Boca Raton based home care agency servicing all of Palm Beach County and offering care for individuals who have suffered from a stroke as well as advice and guidance for friends and family who serve as caregivers. Those living with a stroke may still remain comfortable within their own home with the proper care and assistance.

We urge the public to become educated about strokes and offer ourselves as a helpful resource for all who wish to learn more about the disease.

Additional Resource:
National Stroke Association is the leading national non-profit organization devoting all of its efforts and resources to stroke. NSA provides the most up-to-date information on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and support for stroke survivors and their families. For more information on NSA visit www.stroke.org.

How Will You Celebrate Spring’s Arrival in Florida?

by: John Aker | March 12th, 2015

March may come in like a lion or a lamb.

Florida home care

via www.123friendster.com

But regardless of the weather when it arrives, March contains many special days you may want to celebrate. Some of the notable days this month include:

  • Purim (March 5)
  • Daylight Saving Time Beginning (March 8)
  • International Women’s Day (March 8)
  • World Kidney Day (March 12)
  • The Ides of March (March 15)–any Shakespeare fans remember the warning, Beware the Ides of March?
  • St. Patrick’s Day (March 17)
  • First Day of Spring (March 20)
  • Palm Sunday (March 29)
  • National Doctors’ Day (March 30)

This month has also been claimed for:

National Nutrition Month

American Red Cross Month

Brain Injury Awareness Month

Women’s History Month

Many of these observations are important and some are also quite fun. The weather across the county is in the process of warming and SPRING is just around the corner. Spring is a powerful season–it seems to compel us to consider what is coming!  New leaves on the trees and buds on the flower buses remind us that we, too–despite our numeric age–can start anew and be refreshed.

Admittedly, it may be a bit difficult to be impressed visually by the arrival of spring when you live in Florida. But take a moment to reflect on that new life that spring offers and make an effort to renew yourself. We are never too old to try and we are wise enough now to know what we want for ourselves and what we want to share with those around us. Celebrate spring this year–do something to refresh your mind and body.

The reason various organizations claim a ‘national month’ is to raise awareness of their cause and many of them attempt to deliver a torrent of educational materials which will urge us to take action, whether it be to improve or adopt new healthier habits or become involved by donating our time, talents, or treasury to further their work to help others. If you are already healthy and want to renew your spirit this spring, check out the website of one of these organizations above and educate and refresh your mind. You may learn something new and you may determine to partner with one of these organizations. Learning and giving back are two great ways to celebrate spring!

Another way to celebrate Spring is to choose just one little healthy habit to re-commit to doing every day. Your in-home caregiver can assist you in setting a goal and recording your efforts. Think of a reward you’ll grant yourself when you meet your goal (a scoop of frozen yogurt?) and keep a diary of your progress allowing your caregiver to cheer you on to victory.

Maybe you want to become more agile, like the tree branches swaying in the breeze, displaying their shiny new green leaves.  Or simply enjoy the scenery and sunshine–try to get outside each day for 15 minutes to soak up some natural Vitamin D from the sun. You could also enjoy taking time to phone an old friend or a grandchild once a week–that will be a spring gift for both of you.

Even enjoying healthier meals and snacks can have a big impact from little effort. Ask your home health aide to help you plan menus and shop for healthy foods and treats. Nutritious snacks like fruits or whole grain toast can be an easy, enjoyable addition to your daily routine. Try to drink more water during the day than you think you need–that can aide digestion and prevent dehydration.

Strive to sit less and walk a bit more. Many doctors are fond of the saying, Motion is lotion for the joints. You don’t have to walk for miles, just a bit extra will help:

  • ask your caregiver to park three spaces further from the entrance to the grocery store;
  • or accompany you on a walk to your mailbox;
  • or do some range of motion exercises at home.

Mark each bit of exercise on the calendar. And enjoy the satisfaction of your achievement!

How will you welcome spring this year? How will you be refreshed and renewed? Let us know if you’ve been inspired. We would love to know how we can encourage you this spring and throughout the rest of the year–tell us now!

If you’d like to celebrate spring by researching Florida home care options for yourself or a loved one, contact us today!

Cataract Awareness: Now you see it…

by: John Aker | August 12th, 2014

Cataract removal is one of the most common operations performed in the U.S. Thanks to advances in technology, it is also one of the safest and most effective types of surgery with 90% of patients reporting greatly improved vision after surgery. This is evidence of the expertise of a limited few surgeons—like Boca Raton’s own Dr. Alan Aker and his associates at the Aker Kasten Eye Center. Don’t trust your eyesight to just anyone. Look for an experienced surgeon trained in the latest techniques and protocols.

What Is A Cataract?

To receive a clear, sharp image from our retina, the lenses must be clear. The lens lies behind the iris and pupil and works somewhat like a camera lens, helping to focus light onto the retina and adjust focus. The lens consist primarily of water and protein but as we age some protein may meld together and start to could the lens—this is a cataract. If the lens become cloudy due to a cataract, the image you see will be blurred and may even add a yellowish or brownish tint to the images you see.

Cataracts typically cloud the lens of the eye and affects vision. While there are varying types and causes of cataracts, most cataracts are related to aging. In fact, more than half of Americans ages 80 or over either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery.

What Do I Do If I Think I Have A Cataract?

While researchers can point to several possible causes and risk factors for cataracts, a majority are diagnosed through a comprehensive dilated eye exam which should be performed once every two years. If you have any of the following symptoms or risk factors such as diabetes, you should see your ophthalmologist sooner:

• Cloudy or blurred vision
• Colors seem faded
• Poor night vision
•A halo appears around lights—or sunlight or lights appear too bright or you are bothered by glare

How Can I Prevent A Cataract and Protect My Vision?

Most researchers agree that good nutrition, full of green leafy vegetables, fruit, and other foods with antioxidants might help reduce the risk of age-related cataracts. Protecting your vision from ultraviolet sunlight may also help to delay cataract so using sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat are good accessories, especially for those of us in The Sunshine State!

How Are Cataracts Treated?

Early cataract symptoms can be improved with new eyeglasses, better lighting, and anti-glare sunglasses. If these do not help you may be a candidate for surgery. But surgery is only necessary if vision loss affects your daily activities such as driving, reading, or watching TV. Be sure you ask questions of your eye doctor and make an informed decision. Your eye care professional can provide you with up-to-date information about the procedures available to you and the risks and benefits.

While it is generally regarded as a safe and effective procedure, you may want to have a little help around the house following an eye procedure since you will be asked not to bend from the waist or lift heavy objects. An aide from The Aker Kasten Home Health Care Agency can assist you for a day or two until you feel more confident and have recovered fully. Click here to learn more about how we can help you.

Low Vision Care Optionscataract

If you have any questions or concerns about your vision—make an appointment right away. We highly recommend the Aker Kasten Eye Center, one of a few of elite practices designated as a Center of Excellence for the Crystalens HD intraocular lens. Click here for more information.

Sources: National Eye Institute, Aker Kasten Eye Center

 

Take An Aspirin and Call Me In The Morning…Right!

by: John Aker | June 3rd, 2014

We all know the old joke:  Take an aspirin and call me in the morningIMG_3152_jpgbut did you know that doctors prescribe medication to help treat or cure what ails you so when you don’t fill or take your medication as directed, you could be putting yourself at serious risk!

It can be hard to remember to take medications. Some of us have difficulty just getting the medication–actually getting to the pharmacy can be burdensome.

When you don’t take medication as it is prescribed, it’s called non-adherence or non-compliance. And you are not alone–it turns out many people are also non-compliant. But it doesn’t have to be this way!  Aker Kasten Home Health Care Agency can accompany you to your doctor, take notes about the physician’s comments, directives, and prescriptions. Then we can take you to pick up your medication and even remind you to take your medication at the appropriate time!

According to a recent study, approximately 30 % of new prescriptions are never even filled. It also showed that a majority of patients prescribed medications for chronic diseases either take less than prescribed or stop taking the medication altogether after about six months. The Centers for Disease Control link such non-adherence to startling increases in hospitalizations and sometimes death. (see http://www.marinij.com/News/ci_25632494/Dr-Bill-Elliott:-Costs-and-benefits) There are also health risks when you don’t take your medication properly or fail to alert your physician to an adverse reaction.

Don’t become a statistic. Let us help you. We’ll ensure that at each physician visit your medication list is reviewed, your questions are answered and if they are necessary, we can help you comply with a healthy regimen and ensure your medication is taken properly and note any adverse reactions.

Call us now at 561-955-6010 to learn how we can help you remain healthy at home.

 

The content of this page is meant to educate, but it should not be used as a substitute for personal medical advice. The reader should consult his or her physician or clinician for specific information concerning specific medical conditions. While all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that all information presented is accurate, as research and development in the medical field is ongoing, it is possible that new findings may supersede some data presented.

 

What Grain Is Doing To Your Brain

by: John Aker | January 27th, 2014

Brain

We hear a lot about low-carb diets these days, but more than just helping people trim fat, cutting carbs could be beneficial to your brain. According to Dr. David Perlmutter, M.D., contrary to popular belief, the human body does not need carbohydrates.

And not only does the body not need carbs, Perlmutter claims in his book, Grain Brain, that carbs are “the brain’s silent killers.” Perlmutter also notes, “The brain thrives on a fat-rich, low-carbohydrate diet, which unfortunately is relatively uncommon in human populations today.” Returning to the eating habits of early man—roughly 75 percent fat and 5 percent carbs—could stave off many modern cognitive issues, Perlmutter postulates, including Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Read more about how grain may be putting our brains at a higher risk for cognitive impairments like Alzheimer’s disease in this article from Shape.

Or watch this video from the Dr. Oz show with Dr. David Perlmutter, M.D.

This is certainly controversial since many experts tout the benefits of whole grain in our diets.  One thing is sure: moderation in our diets is likely a wise goal.

Pearls of Wisdom

by: John Aker | January 7th, 2014

As we move into 2014, many of us reflect on the years past and make resolutions for the New Year.  While this reflection and planning is worthwhile, some of us tend to expect too much of ourselves–and others.  And sometimes we complicate our daily lives by not focusing on what truly matters.

Take a deep breath and click on the link below.  We think you will enjoy this brief video of seniors sharing wise words which might help you keep things in perspective:

Pearls of Wisdom

Happy 2014!

All of us at Aker Kasten Home Health Care wish you a year filled with good health and great happiness.

If there is any way we can help you remain independent in your own home and enjoy improved quality of life–call us at 561-955-6010!  We are here for you!

 

Snacks Can Be Delicious & Healthy

by: John Aker | September 10th, 2013

September is Healthy Aging Month!

What are you doing to age in a healthy manner?  Exercising?  Eating healthy foods in the right portions?  Taking your medications and vitamins as prescribed?  Enjoying some social time with family or friends by phone or in person?

All these simple things can help you age in a healthier way.  When we neglect any of the items above, we risk our good health and energy.  Since we can’t avoid aging, we should do what we can to remain healthy and vital. healthy snack post

Recently, one of our dedicated in home caregivers posted a picture of a BEAUTIFUL and DELICIOUS and HEALHTY snack she had prepared for her client.  We are so thrilled that she had taken the time to not only prepare a healthy snack option, but to make it appealing to the eye as well.  Often when we think of eating healthy, we conjure up a picture of something unattractive or unappetizing.  Caregiver Fahaina had prepared low-fat greek yogurt with fresh berries to encourage her client to enjoy a healthy snack.  It was simple, healthful, pleasing to the eye, and enjoyed with enthusiasm!

Eating right can taste great too!  And snacking between small meals is often recommended since it helps you eat less at mealtimes.  When you make healthy snack choices like Caregiver Fahaina presented, you can be proud AND enjoy great tasting food.  Thank you, Fahaina for the reminder that presentation can make good food so much more inviting!

Here’s a simple and delicious healthy soup option for you.  Ask you caregiver to help you prepare this soup and invite a friend over for a simple salad and soup meal.  Enjoy sharing some old stories and create new memories with a little social time around a healthy meal.  Bon appetit!

Quick and Healthy Potato Soup

2 cups Stock or reduced sodium broth

1 1/4 lbs White Potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

2 stalks Celery, chopped

1 medium Onion, choppedpotato soup

1 small Carrot, peeled and chopped

1 cup fat-free Half & Half or Milk

1/2 tsp Thyme or Italian Seasoning

Sea salt or garlic salt to taste

Pepper to taste

 

Bring broth to a boil in a large saucepan.  Chop vegetables while broth is heating, then add to saucepan.  Return to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, for 20 minutes.  Let cool slightly, then puree until smooth, or until soup is desired consistency.  Stir in remaining ingredients and cook for 5 minutes more.

Approximate cost per serving: $2.00

Nutritional Analysis per serving:  Calories  340, Fat 8g, Saturated Fat 4g, Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 40mg, Sodium 590 mg, Potassium 209 mg, Carbohydrates 42g, Fiber 4g, Sugar 8g, Protein 22g, Vitamin A 60%, Vitamin C 90%, Calcium 50%, Iron 10%.

SOURCE:  www.healthyagingfood.com

 

The content of this page is meant to educate, but it should not be used as a substitute for personal medical advice. The reader should consult his or her physician or clinician for specific information concerning specific medical conditions. While all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that all information presented is accurate, as research and development in the medical field is ongoing, it is possible that new findings may supersede some data presented.

 

Is Your Home Helping Your Health?

by: John Aker | August 28th, 2013

Cleanliness Affects Health

Chronic conditions or recovery from a medical procedure can be very taxing on our bodies and minds.  While our bodies work to heal, the condition of our home can either hinder or help. 

It has been proven that a cluttered, dirty environment can be depressing and actually decreases motivation.  To heal, we often have to move, exercise, stimulate our minds and bodies.  That is difficult to do with stacks of papers and magazines sapping our energy levels.  And it is important to remember that you may already have a compromised immune system.

But a home must also be clean to stimulate healing.  Infection is a leading cause of re-hospitalization.  When recovering from a medical procedure or hospitalization, our immune system is working hard to repair and restore our bodies.  If we come home to an unclean or unsanitary home, we are risking re-admission or infection.

Consider these tips for a cleaner home :Domestic Cleaning Services

  • germs that cause infections can live on surfaces for months, and they can be spread either when the patient touches that surface or when a caregiver touches the surface then the patient.
  • hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent infections; but are germs lingering on the faucet handle? 
  • using microfiber mops and cloths, which can hold six times their weight in water and have a positive charge that attracts dirt, cut down on cross contamination when compared to cotton-loop mops, which need to be “re-dunked” into increasingly dirty mop water.
  • a cleaning service can deep clean your already neat home to ensure a sanitary atmosphere.

Aker Kasten Home Health Care feels strongly that a home should have a thorough cleaning prior to a client being discharged from hospital to increase their ability to recuperate fully and quickly.  So, in addition to the light housekeeping services our aides provide and the infection-control practices they follow, we have added a full service Housekeepers Plus option. 

Housekeepers Plus offers one time and recurring cleaning services and leaves your home fresh as a rose!   We ensure your home is a suitable healing environment in which your home health specialist can assist you in your recovery.

Even if your home is already tidy, our housekeepers can provide a deep clean so you can begin the fall season fresh.  Current Aker Kasten Home Health Care clients will receive a discount on their third service. 

Call now and ask Omar to provide you with a free in-home estimate.  Tell us how we can help you remain healthy and independent in your own home:  561-955-6010 or click here to request more information.

Heart Health

by: John Aker | April 3rd, 2013

Did you know that today is National Walking DayAK_ServiceArea

Did you know that physical inactivity doubles the risk of heart disease?

The American Heart Association has many tips and tools to help you discover the importance of physical activity.  One of the best things about walking as exercise is that walking is free, can be done anywhere (even walking in your home or marching in place in front of the TV during commercial breaks!) and can significantly improve your overall well-being.

Statistics show that 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women are at risk for heart disease.  And research indicates that poor lifestyle is a major contributor.  But don’t be discouraged–you can help reduce your risk right now by getting active and eating healthy.

Visit MyHeartMyLife.org for more information, tips, recipes, and even lists of walking clubs!  If they don’t have one near you–ask your caregiver to join your walking club!!

 

The content of this page is meant to educate, but it should not be used as a substitute for personal medical advice. The reader should consult his or her physician or clinician for specific information concerning specific medical conditions. While all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that all information presented is accurate, as research and development in the medical field is ongoing, it is possible that new findings may supersede some data presented.