senior care

Inspirational Ways to Embrace Aging


Probably most people have their own ideas about how to embrace aging, and how to enjoy those later years in life to the utmost, but there are a few thoughts on the subject that consistently appear, no matter whom Read more

How to Overcome the Winter Blues for Seniors and Caregivers


Much of the U.S. has experienced severe weather this winter, and that has caused many seniors who are only partially ambulatory to be shut-in for long stretches of time. However, there are some steps which can be taken for Read more

Celebrate National Hobby Month


Hobbies can be a lot more than just time-filling activities that pass the day for you and your senior loved one. AZ Health Care professionals point out that having a hobby can be something that relieves a great deal Read more

Cold and Flu Prevention Tips for Seniors and Caregivers


There's no doubt about it - we're right in the middle of the cold and flu season, and we still have weeks to go before the season fades away into springtime. Arizona health care professionals tell us that seniors Read more

Celebrate National Hobby Month

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Hobbies can be a lot more than just time-filling activities that pass the day for you and your senior loved one. AZ Health Care professionals point out that having a hobby can be something that relieves a great deal of stress for the elderly person in your household, and can provide him/her with an outlet for self-expression that is both fulfilling and enjoyable.

Stress relief may not sound like a huge medical accomplishment, but as both medical experts and home health care professionals know, stress can be a killer and is something to be avoided if at all possible. Here are some ways that hobbies can be an important component of your senior loved one’s Phoenix home health care.

Participate in Sports

Of course, not all seniors are in condition to actively participate in sports activities like golf, swimming, jogging, or power walking. However, there are also lightweight versions of such activities that will provide nearly the same health benefits, such as dancing, gardening, and water aerobics. Free swim time in a pool can be an excellent activity for older people, because it relieves any stress on joints and still promotes good activity levels. Besides the exercise benefit, being active in sports can improve coordination and flexibility, and can even be socially fulfilling.

Become Involved as a Volunteer

The first thing that happens when you or your elderly loved one volunteers for any kind of community service is that you begin thinking about the welfare of others, and focus less on any problems you yourself might have. As an example, if your elderly loved one recently lost a spouse or a close friend, that could trigger an extended period of grief and withdrawal. One of the best ways to curtail this potentially damaging situation is to encourage your relative to become active in volunteering, and draw them out of self-pity and sadness. This is a great way to establish a real sense of purpose for your senior loved one, to give him/her a chance to show off their talents, and to feel good about themselves.

Artistic Pursuits

Many older people had some kind of hobby in their younger days that they were really good at, for instance sewing, painting, baking, or maybe even writing. Senior years are a great time for re-discovering those talents, because they can revive pleasant memories of those former talented times, and they can rekindle a sense of self-worth and personal ability. Even if your loved one had no such hobby as a youngster, it would be a great idea to start one and become really immersed in learning a new skill. This can literally provide endless hours of rewarding activity, and it’s no exaggeration to say that it can become a pretty exciting part of a senior’s life.

Caring for a Pet

All kinds of studies have been conducted and have confirmed the fact that caring for a pet produces increased levels of beneficial hormones in the caregiver, and elevates the sense of well-being as well. Being involved with the care of a cat, dog, or other domestic animal can lower stress and blood pressure levels, and can banish feelings of depression very effectively. Phoenix Health Care professionals encourage home caregivers everywhere to consider the possibility of providing your elderly loved one with a lovable pet that can literally change the life of a senior.


Cold and Flu Prevention Tips for Seniors and Caregivers

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There’s no doubt about it – we’re right in the middle of the cold and flu season, and we still have weeks to go before the season fades away into springtime. Arizona health care professionals tell us that seniors and their caregivers are the most likely groups to be affected by the flu which is sweeping the country this winter – seniors because their immune systems are less robust, and caregivers because they are in close proximity to seniors every day. This being the case, here are some Phoenix home health care tips which should be observed to reduce the likelihood of contracting the flu, and perhaps lessening the severity of it when it does strike.

Keep the Home Germ-Free

Yes, this is impossible to do with 100% efficiency, but if you do your very best, that will eliminate much of the potential for disease. Here are a few important ways you can keep germs out of the living environment:

  • Wash frequently – you’d be surprised at how effective a simple act like washing your hands can be at killing germs. All it takes is some warm water and soap, and rubbing your hands together for 20 or 30 seconds. When you aren’t near soap and water, you can use hand sanitizer to accomplish the same thing.
  • Household cleaning – when you’re cleaning around the home, use disinfectant agents in the bathroom, kitchen, and other common areas, and give special attention to all those items, e.g. light switches, TV remotes, cellphones, door knobs, that are routinely touched or handled by seniors in the home.
  • Personal hygiene – make sure everyone in the household observes good hygienic practices when sneezing or coughing, so germs aren’t projected out into the environment. Also, it’s a good idea to minimize touching of the facial area with hands, because that has a huge potential for introducing germs into the eyes, mouth, nose, etc.

Keep Exercising

Don’t give up on exercise during the winter, because exercise is one of the best ways of maintaining a healthy immune system. If you have a senior loved one, try and get him/her to take at least a short walk as often as possible, or to get involved with an exercise program at some community center. Studies have shown that regular exercise can lower the risks of contracting colds and flu by as much as 33%, so this should be one of your most important ways of keeping healthy.

Avoid Crowds

Some of the places where germs are most rampant, and where you have far less control of any germs being spread, are in public places where large crowds of people can gather. Every time you go to a department store or grocery store, there’s a chance of being infected by some person you come in contact with, and that’s just simple math – at home, you only have family members that you’re in contact with, but in a store or other public place, you could literally be exposed to hundreds of people in a very short time.

This isn’t to suggest that you make your elderly loved one a shut-in during the winter season, but AZ Home Health professionals recommend limiting those outings to germ-ridden public settings until after flu season passes. You won’t be able to manage absolutely every possibility for removing exposure to colds and flu, but if you are vigilant about handling the precautions listed above, you’ll go a long way toward staying safe for the remainder of the season.


Recent Hip Replacement Concerns for Seniors

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The Facts of Hip Replacement

hipThe idea of using implants to surgically repair injured or worn joints dates back three centuries. Since the 1970s, modern hip implants restored mobility and quality of life to a number of people. Thanks to modern medicine, many people are living longer lives. Because of this, many hip implant manufacturers like DePuy endeavored to create more durable implants that would provide longer, more efficient performance for younger, active patients.

In 2005, Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy unit released the ASR line of metal-on-metal (MoM) implants that promised increased performance, decreased risk of dislocation and wider range of motion. The devices were popular, and doctors implanted 93,000 of these devices worldwide before they were recalled in 2010.

The recall came too late for thousands of people who suffered complications from the ASR.

Complications from DePuy Hip Implants

Normally, hip implants last about 15 years, but some DePuy hips failed within a year of implantation. The same metal-on-metal design that was supposed to make the hip more durable resulted in painful complications for hundreds of people. Company documents revealed that nearly half of all DePuy ASR implants could fail early and require complicated and painful revision surgery to replace the implant.

The ASR implants use cobalt chromium shells, and all components are made of metal. When these metal parts rub against each other, metal particles flake off and seep into blood and tissue.

Critics say part of the problem is that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the DePuy ASR devices though the 510(k) approval process. This means that the government did not require testing before DePuy began selling the implants.

The FDA received almost 18,000 reports of problems with metal-on-metal implants like the ASR from 2000 to 2011. Patients filed lawsuits against DePuy after suffering from severe pain, tissue damage and metallosis – or metal poisoning.

Some of the complications reported include:

  • Groin pain
  • Tissue inflammation
  • Pockets of fluid called pseudotumors
  • Tissue discoloration
  • Tissue death
  • Implant loosening
  • Dislocation
  • Fracture

In addition, the metal particles can travel to other organs and cause damage.

Alternatives to Hip Replacement Surgery

Most doctors recommend hip replacement surgery to people who suffer from osteoarthritis–a degenerative joint disease. For some people who are concerned about hip replacement surgery, there may be alternatives to delay or avoid it by treating the symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Some of these alternatives include:

  • Keeping a Healthy Weight. People who are heavier put more stress on their joints and may wear them out quicker. Losing even just a small amount of weight can decrease pressure on joints.
  • Chiropractic Care. Some clinical studies suggest that chiropractic care can treat the symptoms of osteoarthritis by increasing range of motion, restoring natural movement of the spine, reducing pain and relaxing the muscles.
  • Nutrition. Certain foods can aggravate the inflammation around joints and make them less mobile and painful. Certain foods like garlic, onions, leafy greens and those rich in Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce inflammation.
  • Supplements. Supplements may also help with joint pain. While many people have heard of glucosamine and chondroitin, study results on this supplement remain mixed for people with osteoarthritis. SAMe (s-adenosyl-L-methionine), on the other hand, is a lesser known supplement that studies show is as effective as Celebrex in reducing pain and improving joint function. This supplement may interfere with certain medications and should only be taken with doctor supervision.

For people who received a DePuy ASR or other metal-on-metal hip implant, the FDA recommends having regular follow-ups with their doctor even if there are no symptoms. If pain is an issue, doctors can use imaging studies and blood tests to check for metal levels and tissue damage.

Bio: Michelle Y. Llamas is a published writer and researcher. She hosts Drugwatch Radio, a health podcast, and writes about drugs and medical devices for Drugwatch.com.

Sources:

University of Maryland Medical Center. (2011). Osteoarthritis. Retrieved from http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/osteoarthritis-000118.htm

Stanton, T. (2012, May). Metal-on-metal hip implants: The clinical issues. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Retrieved from http://www.aaos.org/news/aaosnow/may12/clinical4.asp