Commonwise is fully-staffed and prepared to serve new home care clients. We are taking extra precautions to protect our clients and caregivers from COVID-19, and our experienced nursing team is ensuring our compliance with all CDC guidelines as they emerge. In these uncertain times, the safest place to be is in your own home. We can help.

Name Something You Gain as You Grow Older

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

May 27, 2020


As of 2017, there were nearly 50 million Americans in the age group of 65 and older. As you approach your older years, it’s important to look past the trials and tribulations of age related changes and search for the positives of how to embrace aging.

The more you get into the habit of identifying life’s joys, the easier it becomes to do on a daily basis!

Staying positive and finding joy in our age-related changes is the key to aging gracefully and maintaining a healthy, happy lifestyle.

Read on to learn more about how you can embrace the different stages of aging and what you gain as you get older.
 

Reflect Upon What You’ve Learned

One of the greatest benefits of old age is wisdom. Much of what we need to learn in life comes with experience, not through reading pages in a book. 

Think of everything you’ve learned in life and how you learned it. In these moments, allow yourself to reflect on both the good and the difficult. Remember that some of life’s hardest moments end with a greater understanding of ourselves and others. 
 

Focus on the Independence You Have Maintained Throughout Your Age-Related Changes

The majority of America’s aging population continues to live in a single-family home, including 68% of people who are 80 years of age or older. For previous generations, continuing to live in their own households and make medical and financial decisions was not always an option. 

Now, with the help of at-home personal caregivers, more seniors are able to maintain the lifestyle they prefer in spite of any physical changes during the aging process, and can stil focus on healthy aging. For example, it may become more difficult to perform tasks such as housekeeping, laundry, or running errands. However, working with an at-home personal caregiver means that you don’t have to give up your independence in the face of these changes in your day-to-day abilities. 
 

Keep Track of the Life Stages Your Loved Ones are Going Through

One of the biggest things we gain as we age is a widening of our inner circle. From neighbors to grandchildren to members of our religious or social groups, we continue to connect with more and more people as time goes on! 

Keeping up with our loved ones is an important part of our emotional and mental wellbeing. Pay special attention to your younger loved ones, as you’ll soon come to recognize yourself in moments you’ve experienced with them in their lives! You never know when they may need a piece of experience-based advice or simply the reassurance that they are not the only ones to go through life’s ups and downs. 

When we help others or provide emotional support, we, in turn, help ourselves. Proving that you’re a reliable sounding board for your loved ones means that you’re bound to get more phone calls, more visits, and more shining moments of shared joy!
 

Retire from Work, Not Fun

What is one of the biggest things we gain in our old age? Time! 

After retirement, you’ll find that you suddenly have tons of time on your hands. Rather than finding this frustrating or disconcerting, use this extra time as an opportunity to explore the things you didn’t have time to explore in the past.

Set aside some money to take a trip to another state or country you’ve always wanted to visit. Be sure to invite a loved one who will help you enjoy your travels even more than you would on a solo trip! 

Take up hobbies (or revisit old ones) that keep your mind and body busy. Cultivate a beautiful garden, learn to paint with watercolors, or grow familiar with the fish in your local watering hole! Do the activities that bring you happiness and fulfillment. The art of aging gracefully can be fun!
 

Get to Know Your Body

Improving your physical health is both a positive opportunity and a necessity for aging with grace. This doesn’t mean that you have to give up all of the snacks and treats you’ve always loved. Instead, take the time to understand what your body needs to achieve a good balance.

Not a fan of vegetables? That simply means that you need to find new ways of cooking them! Perhaps you’ve been, for example, boiling and steaming your veggies your whole life when what you’d really enjoy is the golden brown crispiness of a roasted vegetable!

Not a fan of exercise? Remember that staying in shape doesn’t mean that you have to hit the gym several times a week, go for a run, or lift weights. 

Use free, online resources like YouTube to find video exercise classes for seniors. Don’t be afraid to try out different routines like aerobics or Tai Chi. The goal is to find activities that get you moving and allow you to work on your range of motion, balance, and flexibility–that you also enjoy!
 

Positivity Is Limitless

It’s easy to get caught up in the difficult parts of our age-related changes. It’s no secret that we may encounter aging issues from time to time that make us feel a little blue.

However, when faced with things we can’t control, we must focus on our reaction! When you look for the positive, it will change your life drastically. In fact, you’ll find that there’s no limit to your own positivity!

If you or a loved one need a helping hand, consider Commonwise Home Care a resource. Take a look at our service overview to see if it’s right for you or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

Range of Motion Activities for the Elderly

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

May 20, 2020


Are you an elderly person struggling with your mobility? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, it’s estimated that one in five elderly adults struggles with mobility issues. Luckily, if you’re struggling with your mobility, there are things you can do to improve it.

Check out this guide to discover how to increase mobility in the elderly. 
 

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do to improve your mobility as a senior. 

Having a high level of mobility depends on having healthy legs. Certain conditions such as obesity can weaken your legs and in turn, weaken your mobility. This is why maintaining a healthy weight is so essential. Here are some tips you can implement to maintain a healthy weight:

  • Get at least 75 minutes of intense exercise per week or 150 minutes of moderate exercise (or a combination of both)
  • Drink plenty of water to improve your energy, prevent headaches, and detox your system
  • Eat healthy, whole foods
  • Get plenty of sleep each night and try to wake up and go to bed at the same time each day

By implementing these tips, you’ll be able to maintain a healthy weight and improve your overall mobility. 
 

Stretch Regularly 

Stretching can also be a great way to increase your mobility. Here are some simple stretches you can do to increase your mobility:
 

Quadricep Stretch 

Your quadriceps are large muscles that allow you to do the activities you love, like hiking and biking. To stretch your quadriceps, grab your foot and gently pull it towards your rear until you feel a stretch in your side. If you need to, you can use your other hand to hold onto a chair for balance. 

Hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds before switching sides. 
 

Hamstring Stretch 

Hamstrings also play a very important role in carrying out daily activities. To stretch your hamstrings, place the heel of your foot on a chair. Keep your elevated leg straight and bend forward until you start to feel a stretch on the back of your thigh. Hold for at least 30 seconds, and then repeat on the other side. 

Again, if you need added stability, you can grab another chair to place your hand on. 

You can also lie on the floor to stretch your hamstring. For this stretch, lie on your back and lift one leg straight up in the air. Wrap your hands under the back of your knee, then gently pull your leg toward your body. Don’t worry about keeping your leg completely straight, as you can still get a good stretch by bending your knee. 
 

Ankle Flexion 

A lot of seniors deal with weak ankles, which is why it’s so important to do what you can to keep your ankles strong and mobile. 

One great stretch to do is the ankle flexion, in which you sit on a chair and reach one foot as far out as you can. Rest your heel on the floor, and then point the toe forward, and then back up to the ceiling. Keep doing this for about 30 seconds before switching sides. 
 

Lower-Back Rotation 

Your spine is the control center of your body, as well as the source of strength for many activities. To improve the mobility of your back, sit on a chair in an upright position with your feet flat on the floor. 

Then, twist your body so your shoulders rotate to the right side. Hold for 30 seconds, and then twist your body the other way so your shoulders rotate to the left. 

Before you engage in a stretching session, make sure your muscles are warmed up, otherwise, you risk pulling something. To warm up your muscles, you can go for a brisk walk or light jog. 
 

Do the Right Exercises/Range of Motion Activities for the Elderly 

In addition to stretching, certain exercises can also help you improve your mobility through balance and mobility therapy. Here are some of the best exercises you can do for mobility that capitalize on the benefits of movement training:
 

Single-Leg Stand 

A single-leg stand is a great way to improve both mobility and balance. To perform this exercise, all you need to do is stand on one leg with the other leg slightly bent. Try to hold this position for one minute, and hold onto a chair for balance if you need to. 
 

Chair Squats 

Squats are great for building strength throughout your legs. To perform a chair squat, sit on the edge of a chair with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your knees at a 90-degree angle, then stand up from this position. Then, slowly sit back down, keeping your back straight the whole time. 
 

Bridge 

The bridge exercise can help strengthen the back of your legs as well as your lower back. Lie on your back with your feet firmly planted on the ground and your hands at your side. Then, thrust your pelvis into the air and try to maintain this pose for 30 seconds. 
 

Plank 

Plank exercises are great for strengthening your core. Lie face down and place your knees and elbows on the ground while keeping the rest of your body elevated. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute. 
 

Wall Push-Ups 

To perform a wall push-up, place your hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart against a wall. Then, bend at the elbows while keeping your back straight. Lower towards the wall until your nose almost touches it, then return to the start position. 
 

Invest in Mobility Devices 

In addition to following the above tips, you may also want to consider investing in a mobility device to make moving around easier. Some of the mobility devices you may want to look into include:

  • Canes
  • Scooters
  • Wheelchairs
  • Stairlifts
  • Crutches

You can talk to your doctor about which mobility device is right for you. 
 

Increase Mobility: Are You Ready to Improve Your Mobility? 

Now that you know these tips to increase mobility in the elderly, it’s time to put them into action. With these tips, your mobility should improve in no time. 

Also, be sure to check out this guide to learn about the best indoor activities for the elderly. 

Read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

CDC Exercise Guidelines for Older Adults

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

May 13, 2020


According to the CDC, physical activity can aid seniors in getting better sleep, lowering stress levels, and managing serious health problems like heart disease and diabetes.

Unfortunately, an estimated 28% of seniors aren’t getting enough exercise right now. As a result, they may be losing the range of motion, balance, and flexibility that makes day-to-day activities easier and keeps them as healthy as possible.

As we age, we may find that we’re no longer able to engage in the same kinds of physical activities we once did, which can be discouraging. The trick is to look for activities for seniors that are catered to your specific physical abilities that are still highly beneficial. Age appropriate activities for elderly can offer fun and benefit one’s health.

Read on to learn more about the CDC exercise guidelines for seniors so that you can stay active as you age!
 

How Often Should Seniors Exercise?

We took a look at the CDC physical activity age chart to break down exactly how much people who are 65 years of age or older should exercise per week. These guidelines are exactly that–guidelines. Each individual senior should adjust this rate based on their physical ability.

Ideally, seniors should get 150 minutes, or two and a half hours, of moderate-intensity physical activity per week. Two days of the week, seniors should practice muscle-strengthening activities that target different areas of the body. Throughout the week, perhaps once every other day, they should practice activities that utilize balance.
 

Why Is Physical Activity Important for Seniors?

As we mentioned earlier, the CDC notes a number of physical and mental benefits of a regular exercise regimen. Overall, staying physically active will increase your ability to maintain some level of independence as you age!

Of course, we can’t always prevent the loss of certain daily activities for seniors, but that doesn’t mean we have to give up our current lifestyle. Whether you need help with housekeeping, running errands, or working in the kitchen, working with an at-home caregiver will prolong the amount of time you can spend living at home!
 

Moderate-Intensity Physical Activities for Seniors

When we refer to moderate-intensity physical activity, we mean exercises that get your heart pumping. Don’t worry, you don’t have to go for a run to accomplish this kind of physical activity!

A good example of moderate-intensity exercise is walking. When you walk for exercise, push yourself to walk a little faster than you would when walking around a store or to the mailbox. If you can, pump your arms with each step so that you get the blood flowing all over your body–this can also help you to keep up a steady pace and maintain your balance.

If you have trouble with aching joints, you may want to consider something like water aerobics. Moving through the water is great exercise and comes with all of the benefits of walking but without the added stress on your joints and bones.

Even pushing the lawnmower, dancing to some upbeat music, or performing a step class for seniors can help boost your heart rate. If you have limited mobility or health problems that make aerobic exercising difficult, consult your doctor to find out which kinds of moderate-intensity physical activities are right for you.
 

Muscle-Strengthening Activities for Older Adults

As we mentioned earlier, the CDC recommends that seniors incorporate low-impact strength training into their exercise regimen at least twice a week. Oftentimes, strength training doesn’t just increase our muscle mass–it comes with the added bonus of working on our range of motion. 

The trick is to avoid straining your muscles by moving incrementally to bigger weights or increased repetitions. If you stick with the same routine without moving up a notch here and there, that’s okay, too! Just keep up with your muscle-strengthening practice and you’ll reap the rewards.

While you can use small hand weights, you can also use your own bodyweight to build muscles. For example, if you are comfortable standing, try doing three sets of five to ten squats. Hold on to the back of a chair or put your arms out to your sides or front in order to increase your balance.

If it is better for you to exercise from a seated position, try some half-leg lifts. With your arms out to the side, place one heel on the ground with your toes facing up. Lift your heel three to six inches off the ground in three sets of five to ten–don’t forget to do both legs! 
 

Balance Training and Activities for Elderly Adults 

Balance is one of the most important things for a senior to work on regularly. Practicing balance will decrease the chances of having a fall-related accident or injury!

Once a day, practice your balance by standing on one leg or walking backward and then from side to side. If balance is something you know you struggle with, make sure that you only practice these activities in the presence of a caregiver or during an activity group for seniors. Many exercise classes are designed around age-appropriate activities for elderly clients!
 

Stay Consistent to Stay Healthy

If you want to follow the CDC guidelines for physical activities for seniors, remember that these are guidelines, not hard and fast rules. The goal is to get as close to the CDC guidelines without over-taxing yourself or causing injuries. The most important thing is to stay consistent in your exercise routine so that you can stay healthy!

Are you aging at home and feel like you could use a little help? At Commonwise Home Care, we offer customizable services to suit each of our clients’ needs. Read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

Coping With Demanding Elderly Parents

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

May 6, 2020


Why do elderly parents become mean sometimes? Physical and mental health problems that lead to cognitive change also often lead to behavioral changes. This is due to the loss of neurons in the brain, and the way it affects an elderly person’s behavior depends on where this neuron loss is occurring.

Whether they have dementia or are just expressing more frustration in their old age, dealing with demanding elderly parents can put a large strain on the relationship you have with them or lead to caregiver burnout. Sometimes, it is just hard to figure out how to deal with irrational elderly parents.

Fortunately, you’re not alone in coping with your demanding elderly parents. Read on to learn more about how to deal with angry parents and challenging behavior in the elderly.

Schedule Regular Doctor’s Visits

As we age, our bodies become far more sensitive to ailments like poor nutrition and dehydration. Some evidence links a poor diet to a faster or earlier onset of Alzheimer’s or, at the very least, a rise in Alzheimer’s symptoms. 

If the demanding behavior seems to come on suddenly or ebb and flow, you may not understand where it’s coming from. Both physical and cognitive problems can cause your elderly parent to lash out. You may need to treat the ailment with a balanced diet, therapy, or medication in order to lessen the bad behavior!

Look For the Trigger of Bad Behavior

Do you find that you only have to ask yourself how to deal with challenging behavior in your elderly parents on occasion? Does it feel like they’re fine one minute and angry or frustrated the next? 

Difficult elderly parents can make caregiving a challenge, but search for patterns in their behavior. What was being discussed just before their mood took a turn? Was there something they couldn’t accomplish on their own or something you asked them to take care of?

Finding out the trigger of bad behavior can open the door to directly addressing the problem. You can either start a discussion about it and come to a conclusion together or you can set ground rules, as we’ll discuss below.

Set Ground Rules

In some cases, dealing with demanding elderly parents can put us in stressful, embarrassing, or even dangerous situations. We might find that our parents are exhibiting bad behavior in front of our children, causing a scene in public, or resorting to abusive behaviors at home. Coping with demanding elderly parents can challenge caregivers; setting ground rules can help.

Make it clear that you are not going to tolerate this behavior. Consider setting ground rules that come with a strike system. For example, you could say that if they cause a scene at the grocery store three more times, you will do their shopping without them. 

Keep in mind that setting ground rules works primarily when the parent is purposefully reverting to childish behaviors in order to get what they want. If you’re dealing with aging parents with dementia or another cognitive disease that affects memory, these ultimatums and ground rules may not sink in. In this case, consult your parent’s doctor and get in touch with a behavioral specialist who can give you some advice. 

Encourage Exercise and Socialization

It’s possible that your parent’s demanding and difficult behavior is stemming from depression or frustration with their loss of independence. Many elderly individuals have a tendency to become more sedentary and asocial if they lose certain physical abilities and have their driver’s license revoked.

Ask yourself, “Does my parent get outside and exercise? Do they still talk to neighbors and friends? Are they still attending church or club meetings like they used to?”

If the answer is a resounding “no,” you may need to intervene. Both exercise and socialization release important neurochemicals in the brain that are responsible for feelings of happiness, contentment, and more. Taking walks a few times a week and meeting friends or family members for lunch every Saturday may be exactly what the doctor ordered.

Enlist Professional Help

At Commonwise Home Care, we’ve encountered numerous familial caregivers who tell us that while their parents need help, they don’t want their help. This can be frustrating for both the child and the parent, especially if neither knows how to fully express their feelings. Sometimes it can feel impossible to figure out how to deal with challenging behavior in the elderly, especially your own parent.

The truth is that your parent may be exhibiting bad behaviors because they are embarrassed or ashamed. It is not easy for them to see the roles reverse in any way and they may worry about putting that strain on you. 

If this is the case, it may be time to hire professional at-home caregivers. Having a third party around to take care of things like housekeeping and grooming can ease your parent’s mind. We are flexible and meet your scheduling needs, offering everything from respite care to 24/7 care. 

One of the hardest things for a familial caregiver dealing with demanding elderly parents is the loss of a personal relationship. You and your parent may come to realize that your visits have become necessary rather than social, which can cause both emotional pain and resentment. Bringing in a professional caregiver can give you back the relationship you need and deserve. 

Avoid Dealing with Angry Elderly Parents Alone

Dealing with demanding elderly parents is manageable as long as you have professional help. Make sure your support team includes other reliable members of the family who can ease your burden. More importantly, make sure your support team includes medical professionals and trained caregivers.

Take a look at the services we offer at Commonwise Home Care and scroll to the bottom of the page to find our contact information. We look forward to helping you and your parents settle into a happier, healthier routine. 

Read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

Brain Health: How to Support Your Brain in the Aging Process

For the inaugural event of the Commonwise Living Long and Well Speaker Series, Dr. Alexandra Geneser will present Brain Health: How to Support Your Brain in the Aging Process on Monday, May 11th at 12:00 PM via Zoom, exclusively for Farmington members.

Have you ever wondered:

  • How early in life signs of dementia might appear?
  • How poor hearing and vision can negatively impact brain health?
  • How gut health affects the brain?

During this online event, Dr. Geneser will discuss the common types of dementia, risk factors, and how to best support your brain during the aging process. The presentation will include Q & A, with Dr. Geneser answering your questions on brain health.

Click Here to Register

 

About the speaker

Originally from South Texas, Dr. Geneser holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Denison University and Master’s and Doctoral degrees from the Institute of Graduate Clinical Psychology at Widener University. Her training is in clinical psychology, and she specialized in neuropsychology. She came to Charlottesville in 2013 to do her 2-year post-doctoral fellowship in the Neurology Department at UVA.

Dr. Geneser now divides her time between neuropsychology private practice, UVA’s Neurology Department (clinical trials for dementia), and the Student Disability Access Center (helping students with disabilities get equal access to academics). She also volunteers on the Walk to End Alzheimer’s Planning Committee.

Click Here to Register

Core Exercises For Older Adults of All Ability Levels

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

April 27, 2020


While maintaining a strong core is essential to your overall health and stability, explore the best core exercises for seniors no matter your level of mobility.

A recent study found that core strengthening for seniors actually produced positive results for their overall balance. 

Unfortunately, one in four American seniors get injured in a fall each year. Core exercises for seniors is a great place to start for improving balance and, thereby, preventing elderly falls.

The question is, “how do seniors with limited mobility or physical abilities strengthen their core?”

To help answer this question, we put together a list of core exercises for seniors of varying mobility and physical ability.

Read on to find out more about core exercises for seniors.

 

The Importance of Core Strength

In addition to improving your balance, there are a number of benefits to strengthening your core as you age.

 

Poor core strength can lead to a worsened posture.

Poor posture puts a great deal of strain on your back and sciatic region. Your core protects your spine, ribs, pelvis, and shoulder blades. Improving core strength can lessen this pain and decrease the need for over the counter pain medication – and its unwanted side effects. 

 

Good core strength can increase overall strength and improve range of motion. 

Many core exercises involve a set of repetitive motions that can loosen up your joints. You may also find that in doing these exercises, you’re engaging other muscles in the body that you normally do not. This means you’re working more than just your core!

Ultimately, improving your balance, strength, and range of motion can increase an older adult’s independence. Like working with a team of in-home caregivers, this can give you the freedom to age at home without worry. 

You may even find that a fitness routine will improve your mood and boost your energy, unlocking the door to all sorts of fun activities.

 

Good Core Exercises for Seniors

In order to make geriatric core exercises as accessible as possible, we have included variations for performing them standing, sitting, or on the floor.

PLEASE NOTE: When you first begin these exercises, please do so under the supervision of your in-home caregiver or professional fitness instructor. They can help you navigate these new techniques and ensure that you are safe in the process. 

 

Standing Exercises

One of the best standing, inner core muscle exercises that works both your abs and legs is the traditional squat. 

Squats

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and keep your back straight. Now, bend at the knees with your arms stretched out to the front holding onto a chair for balance.

If you can, try to bend your knees until your calves and thighs make a 90-degree angle. This may take some practice. Only go as far as you can without causing strain. Remember to engage your core muscles by squeezing in your navel to your spine; keeping a nice, straight back.

You can do squats in sets of 5, 10, or 15. 

 

Seated Exercises 

There are plenty of chair exercises for stomach muscles that will strengthen your core without coming into a standing or lying position. 

Knee Lifts

Sit with your back straight, your feet planted firmly on the ground, and your knees a few inches apart. Raise one foot at a time so that your knee comes straight up from its resting position.

Try to raise your foot three to ten inches off the ground. Repeat this exercise 5 to 15 times with one leg and 5 to 15 times with the other. As you raise your foot, concentrate on using your abdomen to take on some of that resistance.

Seated Side Bends

Assume the same starting position you did for your knee lifts. This time, hold one hand behind your head and extend the opposite arm straight out to the side. Lean to the side as though you are reaching for something with the outstretched hand. 

The goal is not to touch the floor, so don’t push yourself too far. Contract your abdominal muscles as you rise into an upright position once more. 

Repeat this exercise in one direction 5 to 15 times. Then, switch arms and do another set of 5, 10, or 15 while bending in the opposite direction. 

 

Floor Exercises

Floor exercises may require some assistance for seniors. If you have trouble rising from such a low position, consider sticking to the standing and seated exercises. Alternatively, consider trying modified versions of these exercises while resting comfortably in bed.

While lying down, you can perform an exercise that is similar to the knee lift we discussed earlier but is a bit more challenging. 

Leg Lifts

Lay flat on your back with your legs extended and your feet hip-width apart. Keeping your leg straight, lift one heel a few inches off the ground. Repeat this exercise 5, 10, or 15 times with each leg. 

Make sure that you are not straining your lower back in the process. One way to avoid this is to contract your abdominal muscles so that resistance is transferred to your core muscles.

Opposite Leg and Arm Lifts

For this next exercise, roll over to your stomach and extend your legs straight back and your arms straight forward. Lift your head and neck, but do not strain or overarch your neck. Now, lift your right hand 2 to 4 inches off the ground and lift your left foot the same amount, keeping both extended straight.

With this exercise, you may want to alternate. In other words, lift your right arm and left foot, hold it for a few seconds, then lower them to the ground. Then, lift your left arm and right foot and repeat this process until you do 5, 10, or 15 lifts on each side.

This last exercise is also a great hip strengthening exercise for seniors. We hope this list of dynamic core stability exercises for seniors helps you stay active this year.

 

Strengthen Your Core to Maintain Your Independence

Core exercises for seniors are great because they allow older adults to maintain their strength without causing pain or muscle damage. You can practice them at home for 20 minutes a day a few times a week and you’re sure to see results.

Strengthening the core for seniors is all about providing them with a stronger, more stable body. This gives seniors a better sense of independence when they can walk, lift, and move freely.

Another great way to maintain independence is to work with in-home caregivers. At Commonwise Home Care, we assist seniors with day-to-day tasks, help them stay on top of their medication schedules, provide companionship, and more! 

Read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

Indoor Activities for the Elderly

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

April 20, 2020


Aging presents its own unique set of challenges for our loved ones. Explore some of the most engaging indoor activities for the elderly to stay active.

In 2017, there were over 22 million retired men and almost 27 million retired women in the US. Are you or a loved one running out of things to do after retirement? What are the best indoor activities for the elderly?

Staying active and involved in games, events, social or community gatherings, etc., are vital for preserving cognitive function in older adults. 

Without engaging in indoor activities for the elderly, cognitive decline could happen sooner than expected. Seniors need to stay active—physically, mentally, and socially—by participating in whatever they can.

We’ve put together a list of fantasti things to do when retired and bored for older adults to consider. Plus, we describe each activity’s individual benefits and why you should make them a priority in your day-to-day life.

 

The Importance of Senior Entertainment

Entertainment for seniors has several layers. Seniors can stay entertained by playing games, doing gentle exercises, and attending social or community groups to combat loneliness.

Cognitive health is a significant part of brain health. By staying active, you cultivate cognitive health, as well as, motor, sensory, and emotional function.

  • Motor function allows seniors to make and control their movements in a safe, calculated way. 
  • Sensory function enables seniors to respond well to touch, which can even include things like pain, pressure, or temperature. 
  • Emotional function allows a person to interpret emotions and respond accordingly.

Seniors can leverage these functions by staying active in their communities, playing group games, eating a nutritious diet, and practicing gentle exercises. These are all worthwhile, therapeutic activities for the elderly.

Now, what are the best senior activities for “over 60s” retirees? Let’s find out.

 

A Quick List of Activities For Older Adults

Now that you know the importance of indoor activities for the elderly, let’s explore some of the most fun and rewarding options seniors have.

 

1. Play a Game

Whether you’re a caregiver, or a friend or family member who wants to help, consider playing a game with an older adult in your life.

For instance, Bingo has several benefits for seniors:

  • Social engagement
  • Decreases risks of mental illnesses
  • Allows them to foster their memory recall
  • Improves memory and cognitive function
  • Cultivates hand-eye coordination

Other great games for senior citizens include easy-to-understand card games, chess, checkers, Scrabble, or even jigsaw puzzles. Any board game or card game will do, as long as it’s in line with the senior’s mental and physical abilities.

As a bonus, almost all of these activities require another participant, allowing your loved one to be social, too. Keeping seniors socially active is incredibly beneficial to their emotional wellbeing.

 

2. Participate in Low-Impact, Light Exercise

Consider a fun activity for seniors that involves being physically active. Even a simple exercise like walking around the house or neighborhood provides significant health benefits.

Seniors can also engage in low-impact exercises, depending on their physical and mental abilities:

Always evaluate your loved one’s capabilities before having them engage in a new exercise. Use these activity ideas as a starting point for a simple, physical routine for seniors during the week — preferably with the oversight of a caregiver, friend, or family member.

 

3. Stay Socially Connected in Community

About one third of seniors ages 50-80 say they feel lonely or lack companionship. This is detrimental to anyone’s health, but especially the elderly’s. Social isolation in the elderly can result in cognitive decline, mental health disorders, obesity, a weaker immune system, and more.

Therefore, seniors need to stay involved in their families and communities. 

A simple step to combating social isolation is making a daily phone call to your loved one. If you know or are related to a senior who lives alone, pick up the phone and call them today – even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Here is a list of good questions to ask your grandparents to get you started.

Social support groups for the elderly are hugely beneficial to their wellbeing. It provides older adults with friends and community. Other participants in these groups are able to empathize with your loved one’s stage of life and the range of feelings that come with it.

 

At Home Senior Care Support

As a caregiver, family member, or friend, talk with your loved one and decide which of these indoor activities for the elderly excites them most.

Some may gravitate towards memory games, while others may prefer socializing with others. Each senior is unique and will want to participate in different activities. We just created this list to get you started on providing you loved one with options.

If you have the qualities and compassion of an at-home caregiver, please let us know—we’re always looking for heartfelt individuals to join our incredible team.

If you are the family member of an aging adult, we are with you. Finding the best care and support for your loved one is a difficult process. For questions about in-home care services by our professional caregivers, give us a call at 434.202.8565.

Brain Health: How to Support Your Brain in the Aging Process

For the inaugural event of the Commonwise Living Long and Well Speaker Series, Dr. Alexandra Geneser will present Brain Health: How to Support Your Brain in the Aging Process on Wednesday, April 29th at 12:00 PM via Zoom, exclusively for Boars Head members.

Have you ever wondered:

  • How early in life signs of dementia might appear?
  • How poor hearing and vision can negatively impact brain health?
  • How gut health affects the brain?

During this online event, Dr. Geneser will discuss the common types of dementia, risk factors, and how to best support your brain during the aging process. The presentation will include Q & A, with Dr. Geneser answering your questions on brain health.

Click Here to Register

 

About the speaker

Originally from South Texas, Dr. Geneser holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Denison University and Master’s and Doctoral degrees from the Institute of Graduate Clinical Psychology at Widener University. Her training is in clinical psychology, and she specialized in neuropsychology. She came to Charlottesville in 2013 to do her 2-year post-doctoral fellowship in the Neurology Department at UVA.

Dr. Geneser now divides her time between neuropsychology private practice, UVA’s Neurology Department (clinical trials for dementia), and the Student Disability Access Center (helping students with disabilities get equal access to academics). She also volunteers on the Walk to End Alzheimer’s Planning Committee.

Click Here to Register

How Senior Elder Care Services Can Help Combat Loneliness

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

April 14, 2020


Ensuring your loved one is receiving the in home care they need, explore how elder care helps seniors combat loneliness and offers caregivers peace of mind.

According to a recent Time Magazine survey, one out of every three older adults combats loneliness. At the same time, nine out of every ten older adults intend to live at home for at least the next five to ten years. 

Aging at home comes with a variety of benefits. Remaining in a familiar space can reduce stressors. Aging in place also saves the money that would otherwise be spent on packers, movers, home sale advertisements, and assisted living facilities.

However, living alone may also increase the risk of loneliness, especially for the elderly population. 

Fortunately, in-home elder care can help to combat loneliness. 

 

Why Is Loneliness a Problem?

We’ve all experienced loneliness at one time or another and know that it isn’t a pleasant feeling. For the elderly, prolonged loneliness can lead to or worsen negative health conditions and reduce their quality of life. Read on to find out more about the long term effects of loneliness. 

 

Increased Mental Health Problems

Seniors who experience prolonged bouts of loneliness may develop feelings of anxiety. This could arise from the uncertainty of future contact, the fear of not receiving help in a crisis, or more.

At the same time, they may develop depression or depressive symptoms. Without meaningful social interaction, it may become difficult to self-motivate. Feelings of apathy may take over and previously enjoyed activities may become less enjoyable.

 

Increased Cognitive Problems

Studies have found that prolonged loneliness can lead to a decline in cognitive functions. These include memory, decision-making, and language control. In fact, one study concluded that feelings of loneliness can speed up the development of Alzheimer’s

 

Decline In Self-Care

As a result of both declining mental health and declining cognitive ability, some elder adults may experience a decline in self-care. Without motivation to do so, they may stop cooking balanced meals and opt for less healthy choices. They may also find themselves bathing and grooming less and feeling less optimistic about performing self-care tasks.

 

How Elder Care Can Help

Fortunately, there is a clear solution for those who age at home and experience loneliness. 

Commonwise Home Care provides personal, senior elder care services to allow loved ones to remain in their home without feeling alone. Our trained and talented caregivers can help with everything from grooming to transportation to medication management

Read on to find out more about how elder care at home can help combat feelings of loneliness.

 

Companionship

Perhaps the most obvious way home care can help to combat loneliness is by providing companionship. Many of our clients opt for Monday-Friday daily visits, allowing our caregivers to truly get to know them. 24-hour care for the elderly in their home is available for those who need extra assistance. 

As the relationship strengthens, each visit becomes more meaningful and fulfilling.

Professional caregivers offer regular, face-to-face contact that can brighten your loved one’s mood and give them something to look forward to every day.

 

Transportation

Many older adults are lonely simply because they are isolated. They may not capable of driving or reaching a bus service, leaving them stuck at home most of the time. 

A home care agency can provide transportation services to seniors through a caregiver. This can help them settle back into a routine that involves attending meetings or social support groups, interacting with store clerks, and more.

 

Mental Health Improvement

In some cases, it may be that physical or mental health issues led to loneliness, and not the other way around. 

Regardless of the source, depression can make it very difficult to get out and visit friends and family members. Physical health problems can limit mobility and make outings less enjoyable. 

Social support and compassionate care by trained caregivers can help seniors get back on track and feeling their best. Caregivers can also assist seniors with low-impact physical activity that is energy-boosting and stress-relieving. 

Having a healthy body and mind can truly allow aging adults to reclaim their lives!

 

Respite Care

Are you the family member or primary caregiver for an elderly individual? Do you find that you sometimes experience caregiver burnout? Consider respite care

Sometimes, loneliness doesn’t stem from physical isolation. It can also stem from the loss of social interaction. 

When a loved one becomes a caregiver, their original relationship may shift over time. The caregiver may not have the time or emotional energy to provide comfort or conversation. Their focus may be scattered between the responsibilities they personally have and their loved one’s wellbeing.

When you opt for respite care, you can get the rest you need to return to your loved one in a renewed state. In addition, your loved one gets to socialize with another person, thereby expanding their sphere of social interaction. This allows your loved one to feel less like a patient and more like a family member again.

 

Sign Up For Elder Care Today

If you or a loved one are aging at home and battling feelings of loneliness, why not make a change? No, you don’t have to move to a new location. Simply reach out for more information about home care services.

At Commonwise Home Care, we make personal care plans, unique to each individual. Caregivers can come in for a few hours a day to assist with daily tasks or you can sign up for elder live-in care where caregivers are present around the clock.

Families, feel free to browse our professional, in-home care services or call us at 434.202.8565.

The Best Exercise Videos For Seniors On Youtube

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman

Published:

April 6, 2020


No matter your age, it’s never too late to begin an exercise routine to promote a healthy lifestyle. Explore the benefits of free exercise videos for seniors.

According to the CDC, the loss of stamina and strength we attribute to aging is related to a decline in physical activity. Exercise videos for seniors is a great way to gain back lost muscle mass.

The problem is that some of the bodily changes seniors face occur before they slow their exercising habits. This makes certain exercise routines more difficult or even dangerous to perform.

Fortunately, there are some great, free exercise videos for seniors available online. They provide guidance and a safe, senior-friendly routine that can be performed from home. 

Read on to learn more about HASfit and how HASfit for seniors can help your loved one stay healthy and active at home.

 

Why Should Seniors Stay Active?

Exercise is a great way to maintain or improve your physical abilities, give yourself an energy boost, better your mental health. 

 

Improved Physical Abilities

Exercise helps seniors to keep their strength up which, in turn, can increase their independence. Daily tasks often involve lifting and carrying, such as taking the laundry basket to the washroom or unloading groceries from the car.

There are also physical activities that help seniors to improve their balance which can increase their safety to prevent falling. From core exercises to tai-chi, there are plenty of ways to practice and maintain balance.

Finally, regular exercise can help to prevent or manage heart disease. Active bodies have lower heart rates, blood pressure, and stress. This can relieve over-worked hearts and reduce the risk of strokes or heart attacks. 

 

Increased Energy

Although you have to expend energy to exercise, you get more back in return. Exercise improves blood circulation throughout the body. Your circulation and heart muscle become strengthened, enabling you to feel more energized throughout the day.

 

Better Mental Health

Some seniors may find that their physical abilities are still intact, but their mental health could use a boost. Exercise can help!

When you exercise, you release some of the tension in your body that sends signals to your brain that make you feel anxious or depressed. You also lower your levels of cortisol, a stress-inducing hormone, and release endorphins, a joy-inducing neurotransmitter. 

Exercise can also improve cognitive functions such as decision-making and information retention. This is great for seniors whose cognitive abilities are slowing as they age.

 

Why Exercise Videos for Seniors Are a Great Choice

While a local gym may offer exercise classes for seniors, there are tons of reasons why exercise videos can make a fantastic alternative. Why?

You can follow exercise videos along at home as long as you have a computer, an iPad, or a similar streaming device. This is great news for seniors who have limited access to transportation or limited mobility in general. Plus, video workouts for seniors are available online 24/7. No need to disrupt your daily schedule to fit in a class or two. 

Exercise videos are also free and your options aren’t limited to the classes being taught at a gym. If you try out one video and find that it isn’t for you, you can move onto the next one free of charge! 

 

The Best Exercise Videos For Seniors on Youtube

If you search “exercise for seniors youtube,” you will get an overwhelming number of search results. While plenty of these results are good, make sure the video you follow along with was created by fitness instructors who know what is and isn’t safe for seniors. 

HASfit provides an exceptional exercise program for seniors. Coach Kozak and Claudia are both professional fitness instructors who craft carefully thought out courses for older adults. 

In each video, they provide viewers with two variations of the routine to match the different levels of fitness and physical ability their viewers may have.

The courses are broken down into target zones or areas that seniors may want to strengthen or stretch out. They also tell you how many calories you’ll burn if you complete the video, allowing you to incorporate their videos into your overall health routine. They also provide a difficulty rating and a preview at the beginning of the video so that you can watch first and decide if the workout is right for you.

Let’s take a look at a few of these options so that you can get a sense of how these exercise videos for seniors work.

 

Videos for Strength

Many of the HASfit videos are designed as strength training workouts. The instructors may incorporate small, two to five-pound hand weights. If you don’t have weights at home, you can use a couple of water bottles. Many of the exercises rely solely on the resistance created by your own bodyweight, which means no equipment is required.

Following along with the strength-building routines will allow you to learn more about proper form. There are plenty of simple routines you can do once or twice a day that will build strength. However, exercising with poor form may cause unnecessary strain.

 

Videos for Pain Relief

On some days, you may want videos geared towards pain relief, rather than strength. These videos will often feature the word “relief” in the title. For example, you will find a video called “Sciatica Exercises for Leg Pain Relief” as well as a video called “Neck Exercises for Neck Pain Relief.”

These videos will walk you through a variety of gentle stretches that will lessen your pain in targeted areas. When you practice these routines regularly, you may be able to rely less on over-the-counter pain relief pills and more on your own physical activity. Plus, many of these stretches will naturally build strength while improving your balance!

 

Staying Active While Aging

If you’ve been looking for ways to stay active while aging, exercise videos for seniors may be exactly what the doctor ordered. We recommend HASfit videos because they are versatile and put together by a team of professionals. The videos are free and available online 24/7 so you can start feeling good, today.

At-home care is another great way to improve a senior’s quality of life. Visit our services page to find out more about the care we offer at Commonwise Home Care or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.

 

Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.

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