caregiver az

20 Caregiver Quotes That Will Inspire You


Caring for others is thought to be at the very summit of human emotion, and why the practice of caring elevates each of us to a place above our ordinary existence. While caring for a loved one is rewarding and Read more

What to do When Seniors Stop Eating


Given that this month is 'National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month', it's a great time to be a little bit more aware of what your elderly loved ones are including in their daily diets, and whether those things are Read more

Dealing with Dementia: Do's and Don'ts


Dementia is a condition which affects a person's ability to remember things, to communicate effectively, and even to think normally, and as you might expect, that can have an enormous impact on daily life. One of the most common Read more

10 Tips to Help Seniors Beat the Summer Heat


With the intense heat of the Phoenix, Arizona summer right around the corner, many area seniors will be more at risk for heat stroke and heat exposure, as rising temperatures begin to pose a potential health risk. When temperatures Read more

What to do When Seniors Stop Eating

mdhomehealthadmin Healthy Eating, Senior Lifestyle Leave a comment   , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Given that this month is ‘National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month’, it’s a great time to be a little bit more aware of what your elderly loved ones are including in their daily diets, and whether those things are conducive to good senior health. It’s also good to be aware of how fresh the foods in the refrigerator are, because it’s always possible that things aren’t being monitored closely for expiration dates and for freshness.

Then again, there may be times when, even if you are taking steps to make foods appealing and healthy for your senior loved one, they just aren’t interested in eating. AZ Health Care professionals recommend some of the following ideas for encouraging your senior to eat a little more, and if you can’t be around personally to do that, by all means consider retaining Phoenix health care specialists to help support the healthy eating initiatives at home.

Possible Responses

The first thing you should do is make sure that your senior’s disinterest in foods isn’t due to a medical condition, or a result of some medication they’re taking for a condition already present. Assuming that isn’t the cause, it’s worth a try to adjust the timing of served meals, adapting mealtimes to when your senior seems hungry, rather than at traditional times for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The way you serve meals may also have an impact. For instance, your senior may feel more confident about eating soup from a cup than a bowl, or he/she may prefer meats which have been cut up into small bites, as opposed to the cuts they were sold in.

Adding a little seasoning might increase the appeal of certain foods, and since seniors typically begin to lose taste as they age, a little extra might be just the ticket. Sometimes, seniors just aren’t interested in eating alone, and might feel more inclined if they had a partner to share with. Inquire about social meals and get-togethers at local community centers to make the experience more enjoyable.

When seniors develop increasingly low appetites, it’s better to provide them with heavy doses of nutrients rather than larger portions. Healthy calories from peanut butter and other foods might strike their fancy. And if the issue is that your loved one simply doesn’t enjoy cooking anymore, why not pitch right in, and share the preparation and cooking tasks with him/her? It will provide some good quality time to be with your loved one, and it may even overcome their disinterest in the whole cooking process.

One or more of these suggestions should do the trick, but if your senior loved one still shows little interest in eating after all your efforts, you might want to consider using an appetite stimulant to be sure they’re getting the nutrition needed.  

Monitoring the diet of your senior loved one

It can be a difficult task to constantly monitor what your senior loved one is eating, especially if you have other commitments at home and on the job. But you don’t have to do all this alone – MD Home Health has been a trusted provider in the greater Phoenix area ever since 1985, and has helped many families through difficult times with health and home care. Contact us today to learn more.

 


Dealing with Dementia: Do’s and Don’ts

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Dementia is a condition which affects a person’s ability to remember things, to communicate effectively, and even to think normally, and as you might expect, that can have an enormous impact on daily life. One of the most common causes of dementia is Alzheimer’s Disease, which afflicts seniors in greater numbers than any other demographic. As of 2018, there are approximately 5.7 million Americans who have Alzheimer’s Disease, and of these, 5.5 million are ages 65 and over. MD Home Assist caregivers and Phoenix home health caregivers offer the following tips on how to manage the behaviors of your elderly loved one afflicted with dementia.

Positive Body Language

Almost more important than what you say to a senior, is the body language you express when around them. The most effective communication with your loved one should include gentle touches, a quiet and respectful tone when talking, and pleasant facial expressions.

Maintain Humor

A humorous approach to your home health care can be very helpful and will usually be well-received by your senior, as long as the humor is not at their expense. A smile and a laugh are therapeutic for practically anyone, and seniors with dementia are no exception. 

Use Conversation That is Simple and Direct

Since comprehension may be impaired in your senior loved one, it’s best to communicate with statements and questions that are simple and direct, so they can better understand them. Whenever possible, ask questions which only require a yes/no, or one-word answer, and when speaking, be slow and clear with statements.

Limit Distractions

When you’re trying to discuss anything with your senior or you need to convey something important, you should limit or eliminate other background distractions such as television or radio. To be sure you get his/her attention, sit or stand at the same level as your senior, and be sure to make eye contact, so as to establish the most direct possible connection.

Be Patient

Don’t get irritated or annoyed when dealing with your senior, even if it becomes difficult to get a point across, or to understand what they’re trying to tell you. If he/she is having difficulty verbalizing something, it’s perfectly alright to suggest or guess at what they’re trying to say. Sometimes it’s better to listen with your heart than with your ears.

Redirect When Things Get Difficult

For those times when things become difficult with your senior loved one, and he/she gets upset about something, try redirecting the situation into something more pleasant and completely off-topic. Take a walk, listen to soothing music, or do anything that your senior really enjoys to defuse the situation and replace it with something more pleasant.

Don’t Point Out Mistakes or Misunderstandings

Don’t press the point when you feel that your senior is wrong about something, and don’t insist on impressing your views upon them. Most likely you will only cause them to be more upset by pressing your point anyway, so it’s far better to just let it pass and be as calm and reassuring as you can.

Remember the Good Times

Ironically, many seniors afflicted by dementia have difficulty recalling something that happened an hour ago, but can easily remember events of 30 or 40 years ago. Take advantage of this fact in your Phoenix health care by frequently bringing up those happier times from youth, and taking your senior back to a happy place.

Break Down Difficult Tasks

Any activity which might present a problem for your loved one should be managed in a series of do-able steps, rather than trying to accomplish the complete task at once. One example might be getting dressed in the morning. Create minor tasks for each article of clothing, and address those one at a time with your senior, so that each one can be a small success in its own way.

Positive Reinforcement

Keep in mind that your loved one is going through something which is extremely disorienting and possibly debilitating, and that it won’t take much to get him/her confused, frustrated, and maybe even frightened. As a main caregiver providing Arizona health care for a senior, you can best support them by being positive all the time, and by being loving and supportive, rather than critical or argumentative.

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.


10 Tips to Help Seniors Beat the Summer Heat

mdhomehealthadmin Active Living, Caregiver Information, Seasonal/Holiday, Senior Lifestyle Leave a comment   , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

With the intense heat of the Phoenix, Arizona summer right around the corner, many area seniors will be more at risk for heat stroke and heat exposure, as rising temperatures begin to pose a potential health risk. When temperatures begin soaring past 110 degrees Fahrenheit, seniors’ bodies simply don’t adjust very well to the higher temperatures like younger persons might, so this makes it extremely important that precautions be taken to keep seniors cool during this time of year. With this being the case, AZ health care professionals and caregivers offer a few home health tips to keep in mind, to help safeguard your senior relative against the potential dangers of summertime heat.

Drink Lots of Liquids

It’s important for all people to stay hydrated during the heat of summer, but seniors are especially prone to becoming dehydrated when exposed to the strong rays of the sun. Make sure your loved one has plenty of fluids to stave off the naturally drying effect of strong sunshine.

Keep Cool When Active

Participating in activities which encourage socialization and exercise are always important, and they shouldn’t be abandoned in summertime just because of the heat. There are lots of ways to stay active while socializing and exercising, for instance engaging in Open Swim time for seniors at the local aquatic center.

Be Aware of How Sun Impacts Medications

There are a number of medications which are not nearly as effective, and can even cause problems with body temperature regulation, when the patient is exposed to prolonged warm conditions. Phoenix home health and Arizona health care professionals urge you to read all instructions on medication labels to make sure that there are no harmful effects caused by being in the sun for a while.

Visit Well-Conditioned Places

When you’re out around town enjoying a short road trip with your senior loved one, be sure to include places which have good air-conditioning and make it pleasant for seniors. Shopping malls, coffee shops, and recreation centers are just a few of the places which might be nice to visit, if they provide well-conditioned air.

Avoid Heavy Meals

Heavy meals put a strain on the digestive system, and since calories are actually measures of heat, it’s better to avoid high-calorie meals which will generate more body heat. Try lighter fare such as pasta salads, garden salads, and fruits or vegetables.

Be Careful of Car Exposure

You should always leave windows open if you’re going into any store without your senior loved one, and even then it should not be for any extended period. While traveling, make sure that there is adequate cooling in the vehicle.

Monitor Sun Exposure Outdoors

Direct exposure to the sun should be limited for seniors, since they will burn much easier and do not cope with extreme heat as well as younger people. Monitor the amount of sun your senior gets daily, and avoid anything excessive.

Keep Indoors Cool

If you don’t have air conditioning running through the heat of the day, make sure that all windows are kept open, and that shades are drawn, so there can at least be good air circulation throughout the home, while also deflecting the sunshine.

Eat Cool Snacks

A good way to cool down is with a bowl of ice cream or a popsicle, even though the cooling effect is only temporary. The important point is that this interrupts the buildup of heat for a senior, and can instantly provide a level of comfort.

Wear Lightweight Clothing

Clothing can have a big impact on anyone’s comfort level outdoors, so make sure your senior is dressed in lightweight attire when outdoors. This should include items which do not absorb moisture or stick to the skin, and if appropriate, items which leave some areas of the body open, so as to benefit from air flow.

Caring for a loved one can be overwhelming, no matter the season. 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.

 


Use This Handy Checklist to Find the Right Caregiver for your Loved One

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Most people are aware that the overall population of the U.S. is aging, and that more and more elderly people require partial or full-time care, just to carry out the basic daily necessities of living. The professionals at MD Home Health, as well as Arizona health care workers throughout the state, urge you to take the time to find the right caregiver for your elderly loved one. Even those seniors who are not physically disabled, are still much more vulnerable than younger persons, so it becomes extremely important to be sure that they are getting the right kind of AZ home health care.

Here is a handy checklist you can use to make sure that your loved one receives proper treatment from a Phoenix health care aide.

Phoenix Home Health Checklist

  • The home health care agency does background checks on all its employees, especially those directly employed as caregivers.
  • Caregivers can be available during the night if needed, and on an emergency basis, should that be necessary.
  • The agency can provide the type of care needed by your loved one, and at the hours recommended by your family doctor for that kind of care.
  • Either the home health agency itself can provide extra needed services, or can help arrange for them – some examples might be for having meals delivered, physical therapy, mental health counseling, etc.
  • If your loved one lives alone, you may need some level of housekeeping services, in addition to bathing, dressing, shopping, transportation, meal preparation, possibly laundry service, navigational assistance, and medication reminders.
  • When skilled nursing care is needed by your senior loved one, any agency which you work with will need to have that kind of professional experience available, and must be properly certified for that work.
  • References or online reviews are available about the agency and individuals employed by the agency, and these references are predominantly positive in nature.
  • Any special needs which your senior might have, such as language, physical disability, hearing/vision loss, can be accommodated by the firm that you consider for AZ health care.
  • The cost of home health care with a candidate agency is within your budget, without having to sacrifice important services needed by your loved one.
  • It may be difficult to learn about a specific caregiver’s personality and his/her on-the-job manner, but this could be critical to having your favorite senior be compatible with the caregiver. If you can talk with other people who your candidate has worked with, you may be able to anticipate what to expect from them. If it is possible, both you and your elderly loved one should have a preliminary interview with a candidate to get a feel for what they’re like, and whether he/she is likely to get along with your senior.



Your Final Decision

In the end, there is bound to be a certain amount of guesswork and intuition involved with making a choice for the role of your senior’s caregiver. While you might get a strong feeling about a candidate caregiver merely from talking with them, when you get around to making a final decision, it should be based on factors more practical than how you feel about someone. By consulting the above checklist, and adding in any other important factors for your situation, you stand the best chance of making a good decision about home health care for your loved one.

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.


7 Ways Gardening Can Extend Your Life

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In honor of April being National Garden Month, and this beautiful spring weather, we’d like to share some of the amazing health benefits gardening can bring into your life. Gardening is so healthy that it could, in fact, add years your life. Here are some of our favorite health benefits one can gain from the healthy hobby of gardening.

Improves Brain Health and Reduces Alzheimer’s Risk

A study conducted on the long-term effects of gardening on the brain found that daily gardening was the single most effective activity in reducing the prevalence of dementia by 36-47%. This is likely due to the various health benefits the act of gardening brings, such as increased strength, endurance, learning, dexterity, sensory function and problem solving skills.

Improves Self-Esteem and Lowers Stress

There was a Dutch study conducted that showed the cortisol (stress hormone) levels of those who gardened for 30 minutes, vs. those who read for 30 minutes. The study found that those who gardened for 30 minutes had much lower cortisol levels, and much higher self-esteem levels than those who read.

Reduces Risk for Stroke and Increases Heart Health

A study conducted in Stockholm found that regular gardening reduced the risk for stroke in those over the age of 60 by 30%. For those who may have physical difficulties or need home health care, bending or leaning over to garden may present some problems. This is an easy fix through incorporating raised garden beds. It is also a healthy idea to expose your skin to the sun without sunscreen for 10-15 minutes per day in order to absorb your daily dose of Vitamin D. This is another factor in reducing heart disease and other issues associated with heart health. It’s also best to conduct gardening sessions in smaller time segments than doing it all at once, as sitting is another cause for poor heart health.

Reduced Depression Symptoms and Improved Mental Health

There are a variety of factors associated with gardening that can help stimulate one’s mental health. These factors include physical activity, sunlight, being surrounded by nature, the satisfaction one gets from a job well done, and the cognitive stimulation it provides. For the best mental health benefits associated with gardening, keep a garden that has a balanced mix of plants to nourish all of the senses, such as food-producing plants, flowers for visual appeal and nicely scented plants.

Regulates the Immune System

The immune system is elevated due to the Vitamin D absorption gardening brings. It is also boosted when one decides to forego the gardening gloves, and get their hands dirty. Gardening dirt contains nutrient bacteria or “Mycobacterium vaccae”. This bacterium has shown to improve common symptoms of a weak immune system, such as asthma, allergies and psoriasis.

Better Nutrition

There’s nothing healthier than growing your own vegetables. So long as you use healthy soil, lay off the pesticides, and eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables from your garden when they are ripe, you will be greatly increasing your health on numerous levels. It’s also a cost-effective solution to purchasing expensive organic produce at your local store, farmer’s market, or co-op.

Being Surrounded by Green Plants Adds Years to Your Life

It’s no secret that being surrounded by nature and green spaces can benefit our physical and mental health.  A couple of studies conducted by the CDC and Michigan State University found that small increases of 10% in green space surrounding a person’s location of home could increase their life by a number of years.

This just goes to show how important gardening and being outdoors in nature is for our well-being. If you’d like more information on health care in Phoenix, finding a caregiver to assist you in gardening, or getting more active outdoors, we are here for you.  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.


February is National Senior Independence Month

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February is a month that is dedicated to celebrating senior independence, and putting a bit of extra time into promoting and assisting a senior in your life in any way that helps with their independence in staying at home, while receiving the care that they need. As caregivers and Phoenix home health care professionals, we are extra excited about February, and have a variety of suggestions for ways that you can join in and promote senior independence this month as well.

If you have a special senior in your life that you would like to see stay in their home, and out of hospice care, it would be a good idea to take an assessment of their needs. A needs assessment can help you to better understand the daily struggles your loved one faces, and also where they might have needs for greater health and safety in their normal routines. If you’re unsure of how to conduct a thorough needs assessment, contact your local Phoenix home care professionals, and they can send someone to the home of your special senior to conduct a needs assessment and consultation for free.

There are likely to be a variety of medical and non-medical services required in the home of your loved one, and deciding whether to help with some of these tasks, or to hire a caregiver is going to be your next decision. You may even want to split up some of the tasks between yourself and family members, while adding the help of a professional caregiver. Things like grocery shopping, laundry, cooking, cleaning the home, and administering meds may sound like reasonable tasks that you can handle, while the more medical needs will require the help of a medical caregiver. There are also a variety of non-medical needs your loved one may have, such as having someone there to help them dress each day and to bathe, that you may want to hire a caregiver to help with.

Another great way to help promote independence in seniors this month is to help promote a decent amount of exercise into their daily routines. This is something you will want to discuss with your loved one’s doctor first, to ensure they aren’t over exerting themselves, or bringing extra risk to a health condition. Any amount of consistent exercise has been found to be the single most important factor for those over 65 in promoting independence, longevity and reducing the risk of falls. Falling is one of the most prevalent risk factors for seniors, and is the biggest cause of injury death for this age group.

National Senior Independence Month will be more effective the more it is acknowledged and observed, so spreading the word is another great way to help promote awareness. A great way to spread awareness is by asking your municipal government to declare February as Senior Independence Month in your city or town. Here is a great example of a proclamation that you may use to spread the word to your local community.

Every bit of help in spreading awareness about Senior Independence Month is certainly appreciated. And for those of you who do not have a special senior in your life, but would like to help in promoting senior independence in your community, look no further than your local YMCA. They offer a SilverSneakers Fitness Program for those 65 and older, and you can get involved by volunteering, and helping facilitate senior fitness in any way that you can. If you would like more information on National Senior Independence Month, or our services, experience, or rates, call (602) 396-5742, or fill out our contact form. We look forward to serving you.

 


Hiring a Caregiver Can Make 2017 Your Best Year Ever

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Now that 2017 is here, many of us are trying to make fresh, new starts. It’s never been a better time to ask for a bit of extra help with the things you simply do not have time for, or maybe need some extra assistance with from time to time. That is why 2017 is the year to give yourself the gift of a caregiver. There is no shame in having an extra hand around the home, and it could do wonders for your psyche and physical health.

If you or a loved one have a physical or mental disability, and you’d like some assistance around your home with medical, or non-medical services, Phoenix home care professionals are available to come to your home whenever you need someone, and even offer an emergency, on-call nurse 24/7. You never have to be alone, or do things on your own again. There are several medical and non-medical services that an in-home caregiver may provide, depending upon your own personal needs.

Hiring a caregiver can make your life better, and this year better than ever in a variety of ways, for a variety of people.

If you’ve been taking care of a family member or loved one who is ill, you may simply need a break from the caretaking so that you can focus on you, and better be there for your loved one as a companion who is refreshed, and accomplishing all they wish to get done and become this year.

If you’re having medical difficulties, a caregiver can give you the relief of getting the things done that you need done in order to live a fully functioning and enriched life. You may even want to give your loved one a break if you’ve been under the care of a family member or spouse, and give each other space so that when you are together again, your relationship will be back to a state of normalcy, and you may even be able to find a new, enriching way of spending time together that isn’t based upon need.

If you simply feel like you could use an extra hand around the house because you’d rather focus your attention elsewhere, a caregiver could come and help in a variety of non-medical ways also. You could even have one caregiver helping with medical needs, and another with the non-medical needs. Non-medical needs include driving, shopping, errands, meal-planning, cooking, cleaning, companionship, tucking one in at night, helping someone with childcare, or special needs children, and even help with grooming and personal care. These are often the things that relatives become burnt out with when they are doing everything on their own every day. You don’t have to do it on your own anymore. There are Phoenix home health care professionals available to help you.

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.


5 Non-Medical Homecare Services for the Holiday Season

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The holidays are officially in full swing and that means that we often have far more work to do than we can realistically accomplish on our own. From holiday party planning, visits with friends and family, and all of the household chores and maintenance that come with this time of year, it’s often helpful to have an extra hand for you or a loved one you take care of this time of year. This is something a good Phoenix home health care provider could accomplish for you in accordance with your own schedule.

A trained professional caregiver could not only help provide medical care for a loved one this holiday, but there are also several non-medical services available to you as well. In terms of Phoenix home care, you could hire out, or outsource a variety of tasks this year. Such non-medical services provided by such a caregiver include:

  • Personal care assistance: This involves the basic tasks of personal grooming and care such as:
    • Bathing
    • Hair care
    • Helping one to dress
    • Shaving
    • Skin care
    • Helping one to the toilet
    • Reminding or administering medications
    • Feeding
    • Nail care

 

  • Homemaker tasks: These include household chores and duties such as:
    • Light cleaning and housekeeping
    • Meal planning and prep
    • Dusting
    • Vacuuming and mopping floors
    • Doing the laundry
    • Dishwashing
    • Running errands
    • Grocery shopping
    • Making the bed
    • Changing bed linens

 

  • Miscellaneous services: These are various tasks you may not have time to complete this time of year such as:
    • Care after a surgery for yourself or a loved one
    • Child care for when you little one becomes ill
    • Newborn care
    • Companionship
    • Wake up calls
    • Tucking you, or a loved one, in at night
    • Driving you or a loved one to appointments and such
    • Live-in caregiver services

 

Regardless of your level of need this holiday season, you are welcome to give MD Home Health/Home Assist a call for a free consultation. We will come to your home and sit down with you to develop a package and schedule of services that is perfect for your needs. You don’t have to do everything alone this year. Help is available and you owe it to yourself to take advantage of it.

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.


Five Reasons to Take a Daily Walk This Fall

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In recent years, a great deal of scientific research has focused on the benefits of walking and how it can be highly advantageous to your health and well-being. There are lots of reasons why you should get up off your chair, and get outside to enjoy the crisp autumn air, while you take a stroll around the neighborhood. Some of those reasons are listed below.

Sitting is bad for you

The very first reason to consider about why you should take a walk this fall is because of what might happen if you don’t. Scientific research has uncovered a whole slew of health issues that result from sitting all day and being largely sedentary, including all sorts of problems with your legs, feet and ankles. So the very first reason for you to get up and take a good walk this fall is to simply eliminate that whole catalog of health problems that might befall you, if you simply take up residence on the couch.

Enjoy reflective time

Regular walking has been shown to be a powerful anti-anxiety activity which has a calming effect on the walker. Most people don’t realize this, but the simple sounds of nature do indeed have a soothing effect on humans. For instance the singing of birds, the buzzing of bees, and a softly falling rain or a babbling brook, all have subtle but powerful influences on the human psyche.

In addition, taking a walk can encourage creative and reflective thinking, and this notion is supported by a Stanford News study indicating that the creativity demonstrated by participants increased by 60% when people were walking, as opposed to those sitting.

Achieve balance in your life

Long walks throughout the neighborhood or the countryside yield even more results than calmness and creativity. It has been found that when anxious, stressed-out individuals settle into a program of regular walking, it can also provide a great opportunity to gain perspective, and to achieve a better balance in your life.

When the mind becomes more settled and more relaxed through a regular program of walking, it allows much greater opportunity for self-discovery and self-examination. This kind of reflection gives people more of a ‘big picture’ look at the important aspects of their lives.

Reduced risk of glaucoma

Walking can help to reduce pressure within your eyes, and it has been shown to reduce the risk factors associated with glaucoma, high blood pressure, and even diabetes. In addition to helping prevent the onset of any of these health problems, walking can be at least somewhat effective in treating the condition once you are ready have it.

Improved balance

Because you’re not always walking on smooth surfaces, the activity of walking can help to improve your balance, and this is something everyone can benefit by. When you have to walk on uneven surfaces like trails, paths, and sandy or gravelly walkways, those steps activate muscles throughout the body which work to stabilize you as you proceed. Over time, this acts to build up your balance so that you become more accommodated to uneven terrain and household obstacles.

In-home assistance experts

MD Home Health is a Phoenix home care company offering in-home assistance for persons temporarily or permanently disabled, and which provides care for loved ones as though they were family. 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 through our Phoenix home health care services. If someone in your household needs a companion, personal care, home-making, or supportive services, call us at MD Home Health.

 

 


5 Ways to Beat the Holiday Blues

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Depressed or sad woman walking down a barren path in winter

The holiday season is popularly depicted as a time full of light and joy…but beneath that attractive surface, many people are plagued with stress and sadness. Whether they come from family troubles, unpleasant memories, or the anxiety of always having something to do and somewhere to be, these seasonal doldrums are something almost everyone will experience at some point in their lives. Use these five ways to beat the holiday blues and make it to January with your head held high.

1. Take time to breathe.

If your life during the holidays seems like a whirlwind of activity, those conditions are basically a pressure cooker of stress. Try to keep everything in perspective: the world won’t stop turning if you take fifteen minutes every morning or afternoon to stop and relax. Learn some gentle yoga moves or practice mindful breathing to help yourself feel centered and calm.

2. Don’t neglect physical activity.

Too many people wait until their New Year’s resolutions kick in before they hit the gym. But why miss out on all those positive exercise endorphins during the month when you probably need them the most? You don’t need to bench press 200 pounds or run a marathon, but raising your heartbeat for 30 minutes a day will help you feel better in both body and mind.

3. If things go wrong, do your best to let them go.

A gift doesn’t ship in time for Christmas? Family drama gets out of hand? First batch of decorated cookies burn? It’s just life. Don’t allow yourself to get sucked into resentment or frustration over any of it. Being intentional about maintaining a good attitude is one of the most important things you can do to beat the holiday blues.

4. Take nutritional supplements.

The same hormonal imbalances that cause Seasonal Affective Disorder can rear their heads during the holidays. Fortunately, there are plenty of vitamins and herbs that can help perk up your mood. Take vitamin D supplements to make up for the wintertime reduction in sun exposure, B vitamins, and fish oil. Many people report that St. John’s Wort has a positive impact on depressive moods when taken regularly, and valerian root can mitigate anxiety.

5. Don’t isolate yourself

Even if you feel like crawling into bed and hibernating all winter, isolation can end up making you feel even worse. Whether that means meeting up with friends, having a trained home companion, participating in a candlelight service or holiday event, or unburdening yourself to a therapist, spending time with people you trust can have a major effect on well being.

No matter which holiday ailments may plague you this season, remember that it’s well within your power to beat the holiday blues. Just remember, it’ll all be over soon, so do your best to enjoy it while you can. Should you need some extra help or companionship around your home this season, we’re just a phone call away.