Health Blog

How exercise may help with slow Parkinson’s

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A new study published in JAMA Neurology this week has the potential to dramatically impact one aspect of senior health care: Parkinson’s disease. Clinical trials showed that those who have been recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease may be able to dramatically reduce its progression through strenuous treadmill exercise. Alternatively, less strenuous exercise for those who have Parkinson’s does not stop its progression.

Parkinson’s Disease and Its Challenges

Parkinson’s disease, a progressively degenerative neurological disease involving motor control problems, so exercise can be potentially dangerous. Though the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can be controlled by medication, it is currently incurable, and the drugs used to manage the disease eventually lose their efficacy over time.

How exercise may help with slow Parkinson's

Because medications will ultimately fail patients, researchers have been looking for new solutions in symptom management, with exercise being one of the treatment options. What’s promising about these findings is that if Parkinson’s is caught early enough, and exercise is used as an intervention in Parkinson’s beginning stages, the disease may not only be slowed down significantly and delay the use of medication, but exercise may change the trajectory of the disease altogether, postponing the worst symptoms.

Studying Exercise as a Treatment Option in Clinical Trials

Researchers from institutions such as Northwestern University and the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus investigated whether exercise would be a viable treatment option for Parkinson’s. Although there were animal studies which have shown the results of exercise on Parkinson’s in rodents—a reduction in symptoms and a delay in physical deterioration—those results were not yet shown in humans.

Other forms of exercise and physical activity, including cycling, dancing, and boxing, may have shown promise to help those who are suffering from Parkinson’s, but the studies had inconsistent results as well as used multiple kinds of exercise instead of measuring and comparing specific exercises.

And that’s what this study did in a Phase II clinical trial, using exercise as a treatment in comparison to medication, measuring the efficacy and safety of exercise in different doses. In this study, the researchers recruited 128 women and men with Parkinson’s diagnoses within the last five years. No one had been exercising regularly nor had they been taking medication for Parkinson’s symptoms.

It’s worth noting that the study was not designed to show the effectiveness of intense exercise in comparison to moderate exercise. But what has been surmised from this study is that strenuous exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which in turn slows brain deterioration and boosts overall brain health.

What’s needed now is Phase III clinical trials to test this hypothesis out. But while that study is being organized, a high-intensity exercise routine may be something for those who have recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. If you or a loved one has been recently diagnosed, consult with your physician first before embarking on any exercise routine.

If you are looking for senior health care or home care in the Phoenix area, contact us today. We have home health care options that can be tailored to your needs and budget.


How to age gracefully

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Aging doesn’t have to be something to dread or fear.  Although our bodies and minds do change over time, you can age with grace and have some fun while you’re at it. Here are a few tips to stay forever young and to improve your health care.

Live Well

This may go without saying, but maintaining a healthy lifestyle is one surefire way to age well.

This involves avoiding unhealthy habits such as excessive salt, sun exposure, and watching television, any smoking, and drinking too much.

This also involves embracing healthy habits such as regular exercise, keeping your blood pressure on target, getting enough rest every night, and maintaining a healthy weight and cholesterol levels.

Stress can age you prematurely, so try to keep stressors at bay through self-care practices such as exercise meditation and seeking support from a mental health counselor or psychologist.

How to age gracefully

Give Your Brain a Workout

Keep your mind agile with brain games such as crossword puzzles. Even if you or a loved is in their 70s or 80s, taking up mentally-stimulating activities can slow and reverse the mental declines that typically come with aging.

It’s not just puzzles that can keep a brain fit. Believe it or not, blogging can be helpful. Sharing your life experience and the wisdom you’ve gained in a blog can help you with both active and passive thinking.

Soak Up the Sun

Although increased skin exposure to the sun will increase your chances for skin cancer, you don’t have to be out for long to get the vitamin D that your body naturally creates through the sun.

Vitamin D is good for strong and healthy bones, but it also helps your immune system, increases calcium absorption, regulates the growth of cells, and protects from certain cancers, bone diseases, and diabetes.

It can be easy to get your daily dose of vitamin D (400 IUs) from a supplement, or from fatty fish, fortified milk, and eggs. But it you can typically get a day’s worth of vitamin D from spending just 20 minutes day outside.

Note: the more melanin you have, the longer you will need to be outside–but even getting outside every day for some needed fresh air can do wonders for your health and mood.

Fill Up on Folate

Folic acid isn’t just for pregnant women. Studies have shown that low levels of folate can increase your risk of diseases such as depression and dementia.

You can get folate quite easy from your diet by adding beans, dried peas, citrus juices and fruits, and green, leafy vegetables.

If you’re not sure if you have low folic acid levels, some symptoms include forgetfulness, headaches, digestive issues, and irritability.

Stay Positive

You know how the saying goes, “You’re only as young as you feel.” If you’re dreading aging, then that’s what you can easily focus on. Studies have shown that what can better predict how healthily you age is your resiliency, your attitude, and your stress response—more than disability or physical disease. Even in the dark clouds of your challenges, you can find a silver lining.

Taking care of an aging parent or loved one can be a stressful experience. But you do not have to endure it alone. We take senior health care very seriously, and as one of the top home health care companies Phoenix, you can rely on our expertise and professionalism for your health care needs. Contact us today to learn more.


Taking Care When a Caregiver Isn’t There

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How Much Help Do Seniors Need to Live Independently?

Determining the Right Amount of Support

When it comes to the issue of elder care and taking care of our senior parents, we are unfortunately torn between two somewhat extreme decisions—1) they are fine living independently or 2) they require 24/7 support and care.

Taking Care When a Caregiver Isn’t There Send Bonus

What more likely is that there’s a spectrum of elder care needs that should be more flexible and accommodating to individuals. Respecting the need for independence while providing appropriate support is a tense balance that should be centered on safety. Knowing what the options are for senior care can help adult children and caregivers of seniors to make more informed decisions.

If you have an in-home assessment done by an AZ Home Health company, you may be surprised that your parents do not require in-home care or live-in caregiver—or, if they do, they require a lot less support than you may have initially thought.

What now fills in the gaps of having someone there full-time are technological advances such as home monitoring systems that can assist in medical emergencies such as falls, help with keeping people medication compliant through reminders, and with monitoring vital signs.

In-Home Monitoring Systems

If you’re concerned about leaving your parents all alone but want to support them in their independent living, then it may help to try an in-home monitoring system along with some in-home care. This could be especially helpful if your mom or dad is recovering from an injury or an illness. The main reason for this is that the risk for falls increases during recovery. In-home monitoring can also be helpful for elders who aren’t necessarily needing round-the-clock in-home care.

When you’re researching which in-home monitoring system will work for your parents, you should thoroughly research what each system is and is not capable of. The adage “you get what you pay for” applies here. The higher quality systems typically are more than just a call button and can adjust to whatever your parents specifically need.

Smart Monitoring Devices

There are other technology advances that can help older adult to be safe without the need of someone being in the home. Now there are smart stove alarms that will alert people if there’s a possibly dangerous situation in the kitchen. These devices go a step further than just a smoke detector, which detects when noxious gases are being emitted. They detect a potentially hazardous situation before smoke occurs.

Smart detection devices can also alert seniors of other air quality issues as well as water leaks. For example, there are smart bath monitors that monitor water levels in a tub, detecting when a bath tub could possibly overflow and then shutting off the water before it happens.

Remember the Clapper from the 80s that turned on and off lights? Well now, you don’t need to clap—you can just install motion-activated lights so seniors can still live independently without having to stumble in the dark. There are also smart doorbells that can provide video pictures of visitors so elders can determine if they should open their doors.

Contact MD Home Health Care Today!

Our Phoenix home health care professionals can assist you with more advice or any questions you may have about home health care. For more information about MD Home Health Care, our services, experience, or rates, please call (602) 396-5742 or fill out our contact form. We look forward to hearing from you.


Seniors, Caregivers and the End of Daylight Savings Time

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Handling the End of Daylight Saving Time

When Daylight Saving Time ends, and we return to standard time, it’s a struggle for everyone as we try to adjust to earlier sunsets and earlier sunrises and less sunlight overall. It can be quite disorienting.

Seniors, Caregivers and the End of Daylight Savings Time Send Bonus

The Benefit of Routines

Anyone who thrives on routine will see their daily schedules be disrupted. With in-home caregiving, it is no different. Planning not only helps caregivers, but it helps elders to maintain their independence in a stable manner. As we grow older, we rely on the stability of our routines more and more. So switching to standard time can be disruptive.

Sundowning

Although there is the perceived benefit of getting that hour back that we gave up, for those who are suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s, this switch back can increase the symptoms of sundowning. Also known as late-day confusion, people with this condition will become more confused and agitated in the late afternoon and evening. Usually this occurs with people have mid-stage to advanced dementia.

Making Some Adjustments

To help older people who experience sundowning, planning can help reduce this condition. Seniors can be eased into standard time before Daylight Saving Time ends by incrementally adjusting one’s routine along with the daylight hours.

Another way to help an older loved one’s circadian rhythms ease into standard time is to add small naps or some quiet time for several days after the switch is made.

Yet another method can be the use of medication or dietary supplements. Since seniors are usually taking some sort of medication already, it’s imperative that you consult with his or her doctor before adding any new medications or supplements to their regimen.

Studies have shown that light therapy can help with sundowning symptoms and adjusting one’s circadian rhythms. This involves using a full-spectrum fluorescent light about three feet away from your loved one for a couple of hours every morning. The Alzheimer’s Association also suggests to brighten the lights in the home whenever an elder is feeling agitated or confused. Light therapy can also help with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Keeping active during the day is another way to help reduce the symptoms of sundowning. One trigger for late-day confusion is fatigue. Then if there’s too much sleeping or dozing during the day, then that can result in having trouble falling asleep when it’s bedtime. A walk in the park or cleaning some space in the home to dance are two examples of activities that can improve sleep quality as well as boost their physical health.

Other methods for adjusting to standard time include adjusting eating patterns (e.g., no heavy meals in the evening), reducing stress, making sure he or she feels comfortable and safe (e.g., a favorite shawl or blanket, family pictures), monitoring behavior, and finally–making sure that you as a caregiver are taking care of yourself.

Our Phoenix home health care professionals can assist you with more advice or any questions you may have about home health care. For more information about MD Home Health, our services, experience, or rates, please call (602) 396-5742 or fill out our contact form. We look forward to hearing from you.


Finding the Humor in Hospice

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Isn’t one of the best things to do in life to laugh at ourselves? If we have no sense of humor, then who are we? Although we in no way are claiming that hospice care is anything to joke about, of course, one man and his good friend decided to poke fun at the home health care system and inevitabilities of death in a playful way.

93-year-old Harry Azoff, accompanied by his hospice volunteer, Morgan Thompson, set out to lift some light into the subject of aging and hospice with their “Hospice-tality” play addressing Azoff’s “impending death.” Only 30 minutes long, the play plucked at the heartstrings of Azoff’s family and friends telling stories of his life with musical hints tied in done by his favorite music therapist, Molly Hicks. Even plays on words of the ever-famous and dreaded Grim Reaper were well-received by his hospice friends. “Have you ever seen cartoon drawings of the Grim Reaper? How can anyone take that guy seriously,” his character asks in the short play. And, we have to agree, the whole manifestation of death carrying a massive scythe is a little over-the-top now that we think about it.

Finding the Humor in Hospice

Besides living a very full life, Azoff has miraculously outlived his doctors’ estimates after being diagnosed with kidney disease; maybe it’s all of the humor circulating in his veins. Although neither Azoff nor Thompson has any professional playwriting or singing experience, the two made ballads until the cows came home and enjoyed every minute of it. To make the story even more heartfelt, as if it could be, Thompson is blind in one eye and has impaired vision in the other making it almost impossible for her to even see Azoff. “Maybe I can’t see people’s physical bodies as well, but I can see their souls better,” she said. “Harry has a beautiful, beautiful spirit inside of him,” she told the Herald.

Creating joke-upon-joke of various hospice visits between himself and Thompson, they poked fun at the typical jargon spoken between patient-and-professional like “Are you having any pain issues since I saw you last?” To which Azoff would respond with “Not unless you count existential pain.” Although the two are very aware that Azoff’s time is coming to a close like their curtain eventually had to, Thompson stated to the Herald Tribune that she finds peace helping Azoff share his story. And, what a beautiful story it is.

Phoenix home health care professionals can help you with more advice or questions you may have. For more information on our services, experience, or rates, call (602) 396-5742 or fill out our contact form. We look forward to serving you.


Animal Therapy Benefits for Hospice Care

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We have heard of therapy puppies and cats but never a therapy duck! Meet Webster, the mallard duck that wandered into Johnston’s WesleyLife as the new pet therapy volunteer. What is so interesting about Webster is that you can actually pet him! He even goes up on patient’s laps!

Webster is no ordinary duck though, and the best part about him is that he brings joys to different patients in many different ways. Based on the patient’s condition and their upbringing, Webster can reinvoke childhood memories for those that grew up in rural areas or connect to people that have never even socialized with ducks before. His low temperament and friendly demeanor definitely make him an ideal suitor for this particular business.

Animal Therapy Benefits for Hospice Care

Now, we know that patients that receive visitors and family socialization time seem to do better and sustain life longer than those that don’t, but have you ever actually read up on what animals can do for us? According to Huffington Post, “studies have shown that animal-assisted therapy can offer immediate physiological and psychological benefits, including lowering blood pressure, stress and anxiety in many patient populations, including those in hospice, the elderly, and those with behavioral health issues.” Sometimes we just need that non-judgmental, unconditional loving that we feel we cannot receive from the human race and animals are just the ones to do it.   

For those that don’t have the capacity to take care of and love for animals on their own, this type of situation with Webster is the perfect solution because they can get the quality time they want without the responsibility. It is quite a common thing to see that Hospice Care and health facilities have an animal companion or sponsor to lift the spirits of their patients through some good old fashioned pet therapy.

Here is a sweet video clip of the wonderful Webster for all of you to enjoy!

View Video: Therapy duck waddles into the hearts of Iowa hospice patients

Phoenix home health care professionals can help you with more advice or questions you may have. For more information on our services, experience, or rates, call (602) 396-5742 or fill out our contact form. We look forward to serving you.


Home Health Care to be Revolutionized with Smartwatch Technology

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Watches are in and they are no stranger to helping people out; especially home health care patients. It seems as though necklaces aka life alert systems are a thing of the past thanks to Samsung and their recent partnership with Reemo Health, a senior health technology company. Originally set out to improve the quality of home health care for senior patients in usability, heart rate monitoring, body movements, and GPS location. This partnership that started two years prior has now blossomed into a device that not only works well for care receivers, but now care givers. With alerts and status reports on patients wearing the devices, the new system is set to prepare all home health care givers for whatever curveballs their patients may inadvertently “throw” at them.

Home Health Care to be Revolutionized with Smartwatch Technology &

The absolute last thing Reemo Health wanted to do was to place another burden upon the shoulders of care givers when navigating their ways through the sometimes rough seas of home health care. According to Home Health Care News, “health care providers can examine the wearer’s data, including their activities and conditions prior to a hospitalization or fall. That retrospective data can help determine what happened and how providers can prevent the occurrence, keeping the patient at home. The smartwatch data can also be integrated on an electronic health record.” Teaming up with Teradata, a leading data and analytics solutions provider, the smartwatch device is already being utilized all over the country.

The trick with the device however is ensuring that patients and seniors will continue to use it and find it easy to understand; which is never a guarantee. By not requiring phone pairing through Bluetooth and allowing the device to be user-ready straight from the box, Reemo has attempted to make this transition as easy as possible for seniors. Flirting along the lines of Life Alert, Reemo decided to partner with ADT tp “provide a simple-to-access 911 service” through the simple push of a single button. ADT has proven to be so helpful that they are even able to determine whether the patient is in need of an ambulance or just simply need to connect with a family member immediately.

Originally the device was set to offer much gesture control “the ability to turn off lights, adjust thermostats and perform other simple tasks with the waive of a wrist.” Apparently, the users found these functions unnecessary which led to the evolution of these features into similar and same algorithms created that enhance the quality of movement. What once started out as a device intended to simplify home health care for patients has now evolved into a two-way-street for all in the industry. It is the company’s intention to provide quality home health care through the usage of the smartwatch to better the experience of health care for all.

 For more information on our services, experience, or rates, call (602) 396-5742 or fill out our contact form. We look forward to serving you.


Home Health Care to Get “Uberized” in the Future: What Does This Mean?

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Improvements in technology seem to be bettering the quality of everything in life these days when it comes to convenience and control. In an attempt to “uberize” the healthcare system, well-known company Axxess, intends on appealing to the convenience of those that lack quality healthcare. Claiming it’s an “innovative new solution,” according to PRN Newswire, the company hopes to bridge existing gaps in home health agencies with AxxessCARE. As the first and “only software provider to provide native mobile apps for both iOS and Android services,” the platform is anticipated to revolutionize through not just patient convenience but staffing as well.

Home Health Care to Get "Uberized" in the Future: What Does This Mean?

The conditional state of this industry seems to lead a high turnover rate lacking closure when it comes to quality. President and CEO of Axxess, John Olajide agrees, stating “agencies consistently identify staffing among their major challenges. Through AxxessCARE they will be able to extend their staffing capabilities with access to qualified clinicians to meet patient needs. At the same time, clinicians will enjoy a more convenient way to work.” A win-win for both sides, they have created the application easy-to-use for all patients and employers alike. Organizing the entire process behind home healthcare, the application will allow clinicians to visit homes after proper background checks and license confirmations are approved. Based on the case’s information per patient, the agency will be able to properly implement the correct clinician for the job that has a schedule complimentary to the patients in need.

During the next few months, the program will be implemented into local Dallas-Fort Worth areas to perfect every inch of the process and concepts behind the potentially helpful feature. On the clinician side of things, it’s as simple as applying to the network to access visits that work with their schedule, locations, and rates. Once their specifics have been entered into the system, the app will alert them of cases that work with their preferences as far as pay too. In addition to bringing work to the doctors, it also documents every single case on file to refer back to if anything goes awry in the process of treating the patients. This program even supplies and figuratively reaches as far projected earnings.

The company believes to have thought of everything in prepare for the application’s launch coming in the next few months. “We’re confident AxxessCARE is going to revolutionize the delivery of home healthcare in the same way Uber has transformed the transportation industry,” said Olajide.

In an industry that seems to be so unforgiving at times, Axxess is known as a safe haven to all home health companies. It is the fastest growing home health care technology company that has improved American quality care for over 2 million patients, trusted by over 7,000 organizations. It is nice to know that people about the people behind the scenes here at MD Home Health. Don’t you agree? Post in the comments below to share your opinion on the pending application and if you think it will truly improve the quality and overall convenience of home healthcare.

For more information on our services, experience, or rates, call (602) 396-5742 or fill out our contact form. We look forward to serving you.


Alzheimer’s Patients Find Way Around Memory Loss Through Babysitting

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There may just be hope for those that suffer from the gradual effects of Alzheimer’s and we have babies to thank for it. A new study in Australia has revealed that “spending a moderate amount of time caring for grandkids may prevent Alzheimer’s Disease by increasing brain function and memory.” Utilizing the pieces of the brain that have been “out of order,” Australian grandparents Mary and Patrick revealed that they were forced to “reach back into the recesses of their memories of what it was like to calm and soothe a baby.” Just as we use different pieces of the brain to access various ligaments, motions, actions and thoughts, having to retain the memory of how to properly care for a child allows Alzheimer’s victims to retrace their once unknown steps.

Everyone knows there are several different ways to attempt to soothe a crying or upset child, such as swinging them from side-to-side, rocking them gently, singing a lullaby, and more. And just like Mary and Patrick, that had not needed this information since raising their own children, their grandbaby brought the hope for all memory lost back to life. As the couple grew older, they found less and less interaction with other stimulating human beings to be a part of their life. According to Dr. Kerwin, chief of geriatrics at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and found of Texas Alzheimer’s and Memory Disorders, “one of the best things you can do as you get older is to maintain those interactions with other human beings.” Due to the lack of this we become, for lack of a better word, rusty.

Teaching an infant that is unable to develop speaking abilities yet is also another benefit for these innocent victims. Ironically after their speaking their whole lives, some lose the ability to create words as a result of severe Alzheimer’s; in this sense, the baby is almost forcing them to remember to speak once again. Accessing certain parts of the brain that aide and function entirely for speech development allows to the brain to retrain both the mental and physical processing of words.

Another reason that this is proving to be a life changer for Alzheimer’s patients is due to required physical activity when taking care of an infant. Considering these individuals have lacked the need for physical interaction due to their memory loss, it is a great, organic jumpstart for their physical muscle memory as well. As the age of the child increases, the physical movement required will increase as well which is why it is so great for grandparents to take care of their toddler grandchildren that run around the park, love to walk and run and play all day.

Taking their “doctrine” ever further than their own backyard, the couple has created a community group within their own neighborhood with friends that have seemed to lose their way as well. Even Texas Health, where Dr. Kerwin resides, teaches a Grandparents 101 course to keep the elderly updated on CPR techniques and certification, safety rules and how to properly childproof their homes.

Phoenix home health care professionals can help you with more advice or questions you may have. For more information on our services, experience, or rates, call (602) 396-5742 or fill out our contact form. We look forward to serving you.


Healthy Summer Snacks to Help Keep You Hydrated, Cool and Slim

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Summer is right around the corner. Many people associate summer with cold beers and hanging out by the pool to keep cool. However, the foods you eat can have a large effect on how you feel in the heat as well. Some foods are believed to cause warming or cooling effects in the body. Eating healthy is always important, but here a few healthy summer snack ideas from your Phoenix home care professionals that can help you feel cool in the heat.

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of water content. Staying hydrated during a hot day is very important to feel cool and keep your body functioning properly. Eating raw fruits and vegetables can help your body stay hydrated, along with drinking plenty of fluids. Being easy to digest, your body also doesn’t have to work as hard to break raw fruits and vegetables down. If you crave something more hearty, pairing with a dip such as hummus is another great cooling summer snack. Watermelons, celery, pineapples, cucumbers, apples and fresh greens such as kale are all jam-packed with water and vitamins. When it comes to cooling summer snacks, fresh fruits and veggies are at the top of the list.

 

  • Fresh ceviche is a great cooling summer snack if you are looking for a more hearty snack and you are not a vegetarian or vegan. Ceviche is a raw fish dish that is “cooked” by the acidity of lime juice. It is very easy to prepare and is always served chilled, so it is a great summer snack or meal option.

 

  • Banana “nice cream” is an excellent healthy dessert option. Take some frozen peeled bananas and pop them in the blender with some of your favorite nut milk, coconut water, or dairy alternative. The dairy and other ingredients in traditional ice cream cause you to feel bloated which can make you feel hotter. Add just enough nut milk to blend the bananas into an ice cream consistency. Add some peanut butter or cocoa powder for a little extra flavor. This is a great summer dessert sure to keep you cool and is also vegan and healthy!

 

These are just a few simple, cheap and healthy snack ideas to help keep you cool during the dog days of summer. Phoenix home health care professionals can help you with more healthy eating advice for summer and year round. For more information on our services, experience, or rates, call (602) 396-5742 or fill out our contact form. We look forward to serving you.