arizona health care

Helping Dementia and Alzheimer’s Patients: 3 Stages of Care

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Helping Elderly PeopleeCaring for sufferers of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease comes with a very specific set of challenges. Three stages of care are needed with these diagnoses, and they grow, evolve and change as the disease progresses. Each stage comes with its own unique challenges, as well. Whether a person is in the early or late stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia, a skilled, licensed caregiver is beneficial in helping the individual transition and adapt to a new way of life.

Stage One Care

This is the beginning stage of dementia or Alzheimer’s. It can last for years, and may present minor changes to a person’s learning and cognitive capabilities. Most people are able to function and engage in normal activities during Stage One. As a caregiver in this stage, you’re primarily needed for support, companionship, and help with planning for the future, as well as making small lifestyle changes, assisting with medications, recalling memories (dates, names, places), keeping appointments, and managing finances.

It’s important to help bring out the talents and strengths of a person in the first stage of dementia, and to support their independence as much as possible. Encouraging and assisting the person to express their feelings and locate a support group is also beneficial. This is the time to make all necessary legal and financial decisions for the future.

Stage Two Care

During the second stage, the level of care is going to increase. This may be the stage that you’ll want to seek extra support in caring. This is when damage begins to show in the brain, and the person may not think the same way, or perform the tasks they used to be able to on their own. There’s also a chance that the individual will behave in peculiar ways, become upset more often and have a difficult time speaking in sentences that make sense. Help with hygiene and driving may be needed.

This is a good time to adopt lifestyle changes and to keep up a solid routine. The level of care required may be demanding during this stage, and it’s important for a caregiver to take good care of themselves and exercise patience.

nurse showing care to patientStage Three Care

During the final stage of dementia or Alzheimer’s, a person requires care 24/7. This stage may last only weeks, or several years. The person will eventually lose the ability to communicate, and may require assistance with walking. Eating and swallowing becomes difficult, and the risk of infections increases. There’s still a possibility that this person can connect with familiar scents, sounds, music, foods, nature, sunshine, and old photographs.

It’s helpful to monitor the weight and caloric intake during this stage, and to help with range of motion exercises if the person in need of care is confined to a chair. Keeping the person comfortable and upright is important, as is ensuring they’re not in pain. Someone in stage three may need to be fed, and assisted in going to the bathroom. Setting consistent bathroom times is important, as is limiting liquids before bed. This person may require bathing, and may need to be lifted at times. This is the stage where it’s essential to have extra care.

Are you or someone you know suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia and in need of some extra support? With MD Home Health, you can expect to find licensed professionals in  Phoenix, Arizona to assist you with your home care needs 24/7.


What to Look for: Great In-Home Medical Services in Phoenix, Arizona

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When looking for an in-home health care provider for yourself or a loved one, you’ll want to ensure you find a team of professionals equipped to meet all of your unique needs—especially when faced with an injury or health issue. Knowing which questions to ask and what to look for can help tremendously when searching for the right home care services.
To get you thinking about what you truly need, we’ve come up with a few questions:

  • What in-home health care service providers are available in your local area?
  • Are you searching for traditional medical services, specialty programs, or both?
  • Do you have one specific need, or several?
  • Would you like home health care services to be administered to an individual in the home, or in a group facility?
  • Are these services desired only during a specified time, or would you prefer a team that’s available around the clock, 24/7?

Once you’ve narrowed these factors down, we’d like to present you with our local home health services. At MD Home Health, we offer medical and non-medical services. They’re available 24/7, and there’s always an emergency nurse on call. Services can be ordered by the visit, or on an hourly or daily basis.
In terms of our medical services, we offer a full range of care:

  • RN and LPN nurses
  • Social Workers
  • Speech Therapists
  • Physical Therapists
  • Nursing Assistants
  • Occupational Therapists

We also provide traditional medical care, as well as specialty services. Our specialty in-home services include:

  • Post-Surgical Care
  • Medication Management
  • Pediatric and Juvenile Care
  • Neonatal Care
  • Orthopedic Care
  • CHF
  • Range of Motion and Strengthening Therapy
  • Ventilator Dependent Care
  • Diabetic Management
  • Wound Management
  • Psychiatric/Behavioral Health Care
  • NeurologicalCare
  • COPD
  • Tube Feeding
  • Alzheimer’s/Dementia
  • Parkinson’s

If you’re interested in receiving care from MD Home Health, an intake specialist will come and meet with you and your family members to coordinate care with your doctor, hospital staff, and/or discharge planner.
We’ll work with you to design a customized care plan that meets your medical, physical, nutritional, cultural, environmental, social and emotional needs.
Our services are offered at a competitive price, and we even accept several private insurances, as well as Medicaid.
All MD Home Health caregivers and staff have passed thorough background checks and trainings, as we only want the highest-quality care for our patients.
Want to learn more about MD Home Health and the services we can provide for you? We’d love to sit down and have a talk with you about your unique needs. Feel free to contact us today.


In-Home Care: Risks of Hiring a Caregiver vs. an Agency

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A recent study revealed that the average cost of full-time, non-medical, in-home care in Arizona averages around $45,000 per year, based on 44 hours of care per week. As a result of this considerable expense, many are choosing to hire a caregiver directly rather than going through an agency.

All in all, there are several risks to consider before making a final decision on either route. If you’re leaning toward hiring your own caregiver directly, be prepared to address all the following tasks before allowing anyone in your home or caring for a loved one.

Personal Background 

Before hiring someone to assist in caring for your loved one, it’s important to conduct a thorough background check, including: a criminal background check, DMV and credit check, citizenship, and auto insurance verifications.

In addition, we recommend verifying the licensed caregiver’s current paperwork and credentials; requiring a TB test and reviewing their medical history; and ensuring they are certified in both first aid and CPR.

Competency

Once a candidate has passed all necessary background checks, it’s important to ensure the caregiver you’ve chosen has what it takes to make sure your loved one is safe, and is keeping up on the latest educational information pertaining to their field of care.

In addition, when hiring directly, there’s always the risk that the provider will become sick or injured, will need time off, or simply won’t show up for work.

In the event that this should happen, it’s recommended to have a list of screened, competent back-up caregivers who will be able to report for duty at a moment’s notice.

Taxes

The IRS holds individual employers responsible for paying Social Security and Tax form conceptunemployment taxes on the wages paid to an in-home caregiver.

If you fail to withhold these taxes, not only will you be liable for the total cost plus interest, but you could incur penalty fees of up to $100,000 and possible criminal charges.

Insurance

Before hiring an in-home caregiver, be sure to check their insurance policies.

Back strains and slip-and-fall injuries are common occurrences within home care, which is why your homeowner’s policy needs to be sufficient to cover such incidents.

It’s also important for the caregiver to hold their own malpractice policy in the event that they cause a life-threatening or fatal injury to your loved one.

They should also have a bond for repayment of any and all household items they could possibly damage or break.

 

Hiring an Agency

When hiring an agency to handle the in-home care of your loved one, the agency assumes all risks regarding background checks, competency, taxes and insurance. This removes the stressful process of hiring a caregiver from your list of duties, and allows you to focus your time and energy solely on your loved one. Agencies also have on-call staff in the event that the primary caregiver is unavailable.

Are you considering hiring in-home care for yourself or a loved one? We’re here for you.


What To Expect from In-Home Assistance

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Having an extra hand around the house when caring for a loved one can be priceless, which is likely why there’s a variety of in-home services available today. Whether you need assistance caring for someone or would simply like some help around the house while you do, there’s an in-home service that’s perfect for your unique needs.

Knowing what to expect from in-home assistance is crucial when looking for a good provider. From medical to non-medical services, there’s a wide variety of options available, with numerous factors to consider first.

Searching for in-home care might feel overwhelming at first; but by the time you’re finished reading this blog post, you’ll know exactly what to look for when seeking out a high quality provider.

Range of Services

There’s a wide variety of in-home services available for those seeking assistance. Companies which offer both non-medical and medical services give you the most options. A good in-home care provider will offer non-medical services such as personal care assistance and homemaking tasks, plus the back-up of licensed nurses who can provide you with valuable consulting as well as provide skilled services for potential medical issues.

Personal care services include bathing, shaving, shampooing, dressing, skin & nail care, and assistance with the toilet. Other services might entail feeding and medication reminders.

If a person needs assistance with personal care tasks, they’re likely to also need help with household tasks as well. Common housekeeping services include cleaning and dusting, doing laundry, washing dishes, running errands, cooking meals, and making beds.

A full-service provider will even include things like tucking in and waking up, companionship, transportation, newborn care, sick childcare and post-surgical care. Depending on the level of need, a caretaker can live in the home, or visit on an as-needed basis.

Customized Care

Every person seeking care has their own set of individual needs, and an excellent healthcare provider will offer intake services to meet with the client, their physician, and their loved ones when creating an individual care plan. This includes all of the individual’s medical, physical, nutritional, environmental, cultural, social and emotional needs.

Caregivers

Once the level of care and individual care plan has been established, the right caregivers will be selected to be placed in the home.

All caregivers should undergo extensive criminal background checks, fingerprint scans, driving record inspections, TB tests, drug tests, license verifications and written competency exams.

Once caregivers have meet these criteria, they should be monitored by their employer through: on-site visits at the patient’s home; weekly review of the caregivers’ notes compared with doctors’ orders and care plans; individual supervision; discussions with the patient and other staff; and yearly mandatory continuing education.

 

Insurance

A competent and reputable in-home service will have insurance covering their caregiver activities. This is meant to protect both the patients and the service providers so that patients and clients can rest assured knowing their home, livelihood and belongings are covered in the event of an accident.

A good service provider will also consider their patient’s medical insurance in order to identify exactly what is covered, then work with either their private/commercial insurance, Medicaid/AHCCCS, Veteran’s Administration, Division of Development Disabilities (DDD), worker’s compensation, etc. to get them all they’re entitled to. They may even offer competitive pricing for cash-paying clients.

Are you searching for such a service in the Phoenix, Arizona area? Look no further than MD Home Health. We offer everything listed above, with the highest-quality caregivers around. Give us a call today to discuss your individual care plan—and we’d love to provide you with the information and assistance you need.


The New 80/20 Rule: Exercising vs. Dieting

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Have you heard of the new 80/20 rule for getting and staying healthy?

While you may be familiar with the 80/20 rule for a healthy diet, research suggests there’s more to healthy weight loss than just eating healthy 80% of the time and indulging in less healthy food 20% of the time. 

Exercise is part of the new 80/20 rule, and while many believe 80% of getting healthy relies on physical activity and 20% on diet, registered dietician Katherine Isacks says it’s actually the other way around.

The truth of the matter is that 80% of our weight correlates with what we eat and the recipe is still 80% healthy and 20% indulgent food, according to Rose Erickson at Livestrong.

Now that we can have our cake and eat it too, does that mean we should immediately go and spend an hour at the gym vigorously trying to burn it off? Studies suggest exhausting ourselves at the gym for an hour or every per day doesn’t actually prompt more weight loss.

Research conducted at the University of Copenhagen suggests that those who instead engage in moderate exercise routines are setting themselves up to achieve greater weight loss results than those who jump into vigorous workouts at the gym. This study focused on three groups of young males who were healthy, but inactive: the control group that didn’t change their diet or exercise habits; the moderate group that participated in 30 minutes of exercise per day; and the intense group that added an hour of exercise per day.

The study extended throughout the course of 13 weeks. As predicted, the men who made no changes experienced no change to their weight or physique. However, the following results may surprise you.

While the intense group of men that worked out for an hour per day lost an average of five pounds each, the men who engaged in moderate exercise of 30 minutes per day actually lost an average of 7 pounds each.

How could greater weight loss results be achieved from doing half the amount of exercise?

Each group tracked what they ate during the study, and reported on their overall activity levels throughout the day. Those among the intense workout group tended to eat more, as their bodies were prompted to replace the 600 calories they had burned. They were also less active during the day when not working out.

The moderate exercise group only burned 300 calories per day, and reported higher levels of sustained energy. This group was more active throughout the day; engaging in positive lifestyle changes more readily, like taking the stairs and walking.

They also didn’t report much change in their eating habits, as they weren’t burning enough to prompt a surge in hunger. The intense group did gain more muscle, however, which weighs more than fat.

This new research sheds light on specific misconceptions regarding diet and exercise, and shows that it isn’t necessary to overexert ourselves at the gym.

Rather, moderate exercises prompted increased energy and less temptation to overeat. While this study failed to compare results over time, this is a good model for jump-starting your own fitness plan.

Moderate levels of exercise, combined with a diet that’s 80% healthy and 20% indulgent, may be the recipe to better health.


Important Information About Medicare

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Important information about Medicare

By October, many Medicare recipients are deep in the doughnut hole.  Medicare prescription drug plans (Part D) typically have a “doughnut hole”, or coverage gap, which imposes a temporary limit on coverage for drugs.  Most people enter this gap after they have reached a spending threshold for covered drugs.  For the year 2014, this threshold is $2850.  Once this ceiling is reached, you have reached the coverage gap.  The good news is that this threshold will be higher in 2015, with increasing subsidies to help you save in the coverage gap.Happy senior people in nursing home with walker and wheelchair

Medicare coverage for the remainder of 2014

 Currently, once you reach the coverage gap, you pay 47.5% for brand-name drugs and 72% for generic drugs for the remainder of the year.  You are required to make these copayments until you get out of the doughnut hole.  How do you climb your way out of the hole?  Although you’re paying 47.5% of your plan’s cost for brand-name prescription drugs, 97.5% of that price gets counted as out-of-pocket costs, which go toward getting you out of the coverage gap.  For generic drugs, all of what you pay will be counted as out-of-pocket spending to help you get out of the coverage gap.  For 2014, you are free of the doughnut hole once your out-of-pocket spending reaches up to $4550. http://www.medicare.gov/part-d/costs/coverage-gap/part-d-coverage-gap.html

How Medicare is changing through 2020

Fortunately, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) incorporates improvements to Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage for future years.  These improvements were designed to help seniors afford their prescriptions while they are in the doughnut hole.  In 2015, beneficiaries will pay 45% for brand names, and 65% for generics.  Gradually, copayments required for both brand name and generic drugs are being reduced to 25% for both drug types in the year 2020.  This is the same percentage you pay from the time you meet the deductible until the out-of-pocket spending limit is reached (up to $4700 for 2015). http://www.medicare.gov/part-d/costs/coverage-gap/more-drug-savings-in-2020.html  As 2015 rapidly approaches, now is a good time to determine if your health care plan is meeting your needs.  An appointment with Phoenix Home Health Care can help you organize your appointments, screenings, and prescription needs in order to optimize your insurance coverage.

Additional assistance for low-income seniors

The ACA also offers further assistance for low-income beneficiaries by eliminating copayments for beneficiaries who may be recipients of home and community-based services, and who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.  Assistance is also available in order to allow widows and widowers to preserve their low-income eligibility.

Home Care Phoenix can help you determine whether you are eligible for this additional assistance.

http://www.ncpssm.org/PublicPolicy/Medicare/Documents/ArticleID/1161/Closing-the-Medicare-Part-D-Donut-Hole

http://blog.aarp.org/2014/08/29/pay-less-for-your-prescription-drugs/?sf30575690=1

For tips on how to lower drug costs, visit us at MD Home Health, where you can learn more about Homecare Phoenix. Find health and drug plans, stay educated, and learn more about what Medicare covers through the Phoenix home health care team!


Tips for dealing with Alzheimer’s

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Tips for Dealing With Alzheimer’s

The effects of Alzheimer’s disease are utterly devastating. With no cure for the ailment, the patient only worsens as time passes and Alzheimer’s continues to progress. Even the most basic day-to-day activities become more of a challenge. So, for those suffering from Alzheimer’s, and their relatives and caretakers, it is very important to adopt major practical tips for effectively handling the disease, which in turn can maximize the quality of life for everyone involved.

Accept changes. With Alzheimer’s, just like any other degenerative disease, change is inevitable. The patient begins to experience memory loss; progresses to speech difficulty, irritability, and outbursts of unpremeditated aggression; and, finally, apathy, exhaustion, and loss of speech. These changes can cause some sufferers to deny that they are happening, so they put up a front to avoid feeling embarrassed. However, denying the existence of Alzheimer’s can increase stress on the person. Rather, the patient should accept the changes in his or her abilities to ward off anxiety and work towards coping with the disease.

Reduce frustrations with the disease. It is hard to imagine having difficulty with even the simplest daily tasks of one’s life. However, there are things patients can do to ease the frustration. They can use a schedule to make each day more predictable and less confusing for them; that includes taking more time for performing tasks, so that they don’t feel rushed or that they’re holding up something. Also, patients should be able to do as much as they can with the least amount of assistance. That way, they can feel a considerable level of independence. It would also be helpful to reduce distractions—such as turning off the TV—for increased concentration on accomplishing tasks.

Be more flexible. It is not just the schedule of the Alzheimer’s patient that is affected. The loved ones in the person’s life also have to adapt to the ravages of the disease. For instance, certain foods that the patient once loved might suddenly become unappealing, which would require adjusting the menu accordingly.Helping Seniors

Rely on professional assistance. If caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease becomes too much of a burden, people can turn to the assistance of home health care providers. A prime example is MD Home Health, which is headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona. State licensed and Medicare-certified, MD Home Health provides a wide range of medical and non-medical services. Patients can be tended to in their own homes or at the facility; relatives can determine the best option or range of personal care services needed to ensure the ultimate goal of a high-quality life—even with Alzheimer’s.


Alzheimer’s: Taking Care of Parents & Kids

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Alzheimer’s: Taking Care of Parents & Kids

Becoming a caregiver for a loved one with Alzheimer’s is a job in itself.  You are not only responsible for yourself, but also for the daily activities and well-being of a dependent adult.  You may already be trying to juggle caregiving responsibilities and the time-consuming demands of a career.  But what if you also have a role as a caregiver of kids?  Wearing so many caregiving hats can be a struggle, even for the most organized among us.  Often, caregivers find themselves sandwiched between the need to care for a parent afflicted with Alzheimer’s and the immediate needs of their child.  Switching between these roles is never easy, but by doing some planning, life can become a little easier for both you and your family.How to Assist Elders by MD Home Health

Ask for help

Caregiving requires patience, skills, and time.  Taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s can overwhelm our abilities to meet their needs, especially when also caring for children. When any of these critical caregiving qualities fall short, you need assistance.  Organizations such as Home Care Phoenix can provide you with dependable caregiver support, to help you better manage your time, responsibilities, and caregiving resources.  A healthcare professional can also help educate you regarding the many nonintuitive facets of Alzheimer’s care.

Caring is a long-term commitment

Entering into the caregiving role means coming to terms with the many facets of Alzheimer’s Disease.  Patients with Alzheimer’s can live upwards of 10 years after the diagnosis, and as the disease progresses, so does the caregiving time commitment.  Becoming a caregiver means coming to terms with the fact that you are in this for the long haul.  That means your relationship with your family will also inevitably be changed.  Although time can be tight, be sure to set aside at least a small amount of time each week to reconnect with your family outside of your Alzheimer’s caregiver role.  This will allow your kids and spouse the chance to have their voices heard.

Taking care of you

Not least of all, you need to care for your own well-being.  Your role as a caregiver is weakened, for both your kids and for an Alzheimer’s patient, if you are physically or mentally diminished.  Time management will become a critical part of your role as caregiver, allowing critical time for your own well-being.  Delegate part of the caregiving responsibilities to a professional care provider, such as Phoenix Home Health Care.  Having help will not only free up valuable time for yourself, but will also allow the Alzheimer’s patient a chance to physically and socially interact with a different care provider.

For more tips on caregiving management, visit us at MD Home Health, where you can learn more about Homecare Phoenix. Take care of yourself, stay educated, and find additional caregiving through the Phoenix home health care team!


September is National Apple Month

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September is National Apple Day Month

MD Home Health, a Phoenix Home Health Care provider, is excited to celebrate National Apple Day Month with all our friends and family. Did you know that our nation has been celebrating the glory of apples since 1904? And did you know that National Apple Day Month actually starts in September and continues through November? To help you to enjoy this three-month celebration to its fullest, we decided to share a few fun but practical facts about apples so you can understand why every home care in Phoenix should include this delicious fruit in their diet!

An Apple A Day Keeps the Doctor Away: Fact or Myth?

It’s that time of year to celebrate your juicy, round friend. As a timeless favorite for fruit, snack, dessert, and cider making, the yummy apples you see in the market every day dominate the hearts of every culture with its thin red or green skin, sweet aroma, and crisp flesh. However besides tasting good and looking good, apples are loved for their delicious taste and nutritious value.In fact, apples are extremely rich in dietary fiber and flavanoids. The phytonutrients (vitamins A and E and beta carotene) in apples can help you regulate your blood sugar, while the antioxidants in apples have been found to reduce the risk of many common ailments such as cancer and diabetes. According to a recent study led by Bahram H. Arjmandi, PhD, RD, Margaret A. Sitton Professor and Chair, Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences at The Florida State University in Tallahassee, eating apples regularly will keep your body healthy and your doctors far away! The Office of Child Development also confirms that the complex carbohydrates in apples will help the body to sustain and improve its energy level so that you can tackle your daily routines with better productivity, performance, and attitude. Additionally, because apples are absolutely fat-free, its fiber and rich boron will not only encourage bowel movement but also help prevent osteoporosis.

Interesting Nutrition Facts of Apple

When people think about the nutritious makeup of apples, carbohydrates and vitamin C are among the commonly named. But apples also contain pectin, boron, quercetin, and phytonutrients. Pectin is known for lowering both blood pressure and glucose level. As a form of soluble fiber, pectin can effectively lower your “bad” cholesterol level to improve your overall circulation and body metabolism. Quercetin, on the other hand, promises to reduc the free radical damage. As University of Maryland Medical Center explains, “Quercetin belongs to a group of plant pigments called flavonoids that give many fruits, flowers, and vegetables their color…Quercetin acts like an antihistamine and an anti-inflammatory, and may help protect against heart disease and cancer…”

Eat Your Apples and Live Healthier

Apple is definitely a superfruit for everyone! When you eat an apple, try to leave the peels on. Apple peels have been known to be packed with rich vitamins, minerals, and fiber. As for pesticide residues, Dr. Dianne Hyson from U.C. Davis explains that, “Despite public misperceptions, laboratories have consistently found very low levels — if any — of pesticide residues on the skin of apples.”

So enjoy your apples and experiment with a variety of apple types and recipes to give your body and taste buds some generous treats!

To learn more about improving your diet with apples and other nutritious fruits and vegetables, visit MD Home Health. We will help you to discover a savoring and healthy eating routine!


Brain Exercises to Improve Memory

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Active Retired Seniors, Two Old Men Playing Chess At Park

Brain Exercises to Improve Memory

Brain exercises are a good way to keep your mind sharp and stay on top of your game. Reports find that brain exercises, some as simple as face recognition or number matching, can go a long way to improve memory and delay the effects of long term memory loss.

We all forget things from time to time, whether it a misplaced set of car keys or where we parked the car after going shopping. These instances of forgetfulness pale in comparison with the slow eroding effect of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia that 5 million people in this country suffers from and the 6th leading cause of death according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Strengthening your brain through the use of specifically designed exercises, such as those from Homecare Phoenix providers and others can go a long way to improving your memory and prolonging your life.

Ways to Exercise the Brain

When you engage in physical exercise, you also exercise your brain. Remaining physically active, even in your older years improves the flow of oxygen to the brain. Physical exercise also has the added benefit of staving off the development of certain medical conditions such as diabetes and diseases of the heart, both of which lower your memory retention and place your health at risk.

In addition to physical exercise, maintaining a connection with your social network, be it friends and family, is important for helping you stay connected as you age and keep your mind sharp. A Harvard University School of Public Health study found that elderly people with active social lives have a slower rate of memory decline.

How to Start Improving Your Memory

If you want to begin improving your memory, start by getting up, getting active and getting involved with those around you. You may also consider different memory games and other devices that are designed to exercise your brain, regardless of your physical condition or level of activity. Spending a few minutes a day playing mind games, moving about and interacting with others can go a long way to helping you enjoy more of your life and slow the rate of memory loss and the negative effects of aging.

Services like those provided through MD Home Health, a Phoenix home health care service provider, can help those looking to improve their memory. MD Homecare Phoenix provides those services that help not only exercise the body but also exercise the brain.