senior health tips

8 Ways to Beat the Heat and Stay Active this Summer

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People young and senior in water gymnastics physiotherapy with dumbbells

All adults and children should be as active as their level of fitness permits, because physical activities impart health benefits and help to stave off the negative effects of inactivity. Whether you happen to be the beneficiary of Phoenix home health care, or you are a professional who provides that care, you will benefit by being active and enjoying the companionship of others while doing so.

In the summertime however, the heat and humidity are sometimes enough to bother anyone, so that outdoor activities are less appealing than they might normally be. This doesn’t mean you should sacrifice activity altogether, it just means you need to be a little more creative about choosing Phoenix home health care activities to get involved with. Here are some ways you can beat the heat in summer and still stay active.

Go Swimming

Swimming is still the best way to cool off, and almost every neighborhood has a public pool or at least a private center where free swim time is regularly scheduled. Even if you can’t swim, just walking around in the water or splashing your feet over the side can be extremely refreshing – and it gets you moving.

Indoor Aerobics

If you have air-conditioning on the premises, or at least a good fan, aerobics are a great way to get in some good exercise even during summer. You can even avoid the real heat of the day by planning workouts in the morning, or later in the evening.

Have an Indoor Picnic

You can stay inside with the air conditioning for this one, but it will get you involved with meal planning and preparation while enjoying your Phoenix home health care.

Make Yourself a Cool Drink

Making smoothies can be fun for everyone, because you have to pick out the fruits and flavors to be used, and mix them altogether, before enjoying that sweet, cool, nutritious treat. If smoothies aren’t your thing, go out into your garden and pick some fresh mint leaves, then add a twist of lemon, some ice, and cold water – instant refreshment!

Take a Walk in the Mall

All malls are air-conditioned these days, and many have walk paths around the premises. This can be a great way to stay cool while checking out the summer sales, and when you get tired, there are always rest benches so you can catch your breath.

Enjoy some Ice Cream

If there’s a nearby store, walk to it and enjoy the exercise. If no stores are nearby, why not make your own, and cool off with your favorite flavor?

Visit the Pet Shop

Make sure it’s a store with air conditioning, so you can walk about and check out all the cute little pets with fur and wings, just waiting to entertain you.

Low-Impact Exercising

Without working up a big sweat, you can still get in some valuable exercise by practicing some simple yoga techniques or spending time stretching. Both will provide physical benefits as well as contribute to your emotional state of well-being.

Even when the sun beats down on the Southwest unmercifully in the summer time, there are still Phoenix home health care activities which can keep you moving, while also minimizing the powerful effects of the summer heat. MD Home Health, your Phoenix home health care experts, recommend that you stay active by putting some of these heat-busting ideas into practice.

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.

 


Life After Surgery: Helping a Loved One Recover

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Post Surgical Care

Having to undergo a major surgical procedure is one of the most stressful and frightening experiences in a person’s life, but helping a loved one recover from surgery can be equally taxing. The hard work may be technically over once the surgery is deemed a success, but it can take a long time for one’s body to heal even after the most routine surgeries. This can be especially troublesome when helping senior citizens recover from a procedure; even the highest quality Phoenix home health care doesn’t eliminate the risk of serious complications in an elderly family member.

Helping someone you love recover from a major surgery can indeed be difficult, but with the proper education and a lot of patience, you can still help administer home care during a loved one’s recovery period. Here are a few tips that will help you with that.

Educate Yourself

The most important thing you can do to help a loved one recover from a surgery or illness is to educate yourself. Learn as much as you can about what they have gone through and what they can expect as they heal. It’s entirely possible that they will recover on their own after a few days or weeks of rest, but major procedures may require you or a caregiver to change wound dressing, administer medications or assist the patient in their daily routine. A good Phoenix home health care service will be able to give you the advice you need, but the best source of information is always the patient’s doctor. Ask about anything you think you might need to know; there is no such thing as being too informed.

Have a Caregiver Present at All Times

This piece of advice mostly applies to those recovering from a serious medical procedure, but it’s always a good idea to have a caregiver on hand as often as possible. This caregiver could be you, but it could also be a home health aide or nurse hired for the patient. This is particularly important for elderly patients since they will require a higher level of care than a younger patient.

Encourage Independence

Even though it is important to have a caregiver present at all times, you should still encourage your loved one to regain their independence as much as possible. This may not be possible during the first few days after the surgery, but over time they should be able to do most or all of the things that they used to do before undergoing surgery. 

Caring for a loved one as they recover from surgery is emotionally taxing for many people, but there are always resources available to you. If you would like to learn more about home health care in Phoenix and gain and extra hand so you can best serve your loved ones, feel free to give us a call.


Great Tips for Preventing Malnutrition in Seniors

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Healthy Eating

Eating healthy is important at every age, but it becomes even more so as we age, particularly for older adults with illness or signs of dementia. Getting the proper nutrition helps seniors maintain their mental acuteness, increases energy, aids in illness resistance and recovery, and makes chronic health problems easier to deal with.  Sadly, an estimated 3.7 million seniors in the U.S. suffer from malnutrition. Failing to intake proper amount of fats, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, or minerals weakens the body, depriving it from the energy it needs to repair tissue and regulate bodily functions, such as blood flow, and making it more susceptible to sickness. 

Healthy eating, however, doesn’t have to be a chore, involved dieting, or only eating bland foods. It’s advisable for seniors to keep wholesome foods in the house, get creative in the kitchen, and gather with friends to enjoy meals. Extra resources and options for home care in Phoenix are available for those who need them.  Here are some more tips for preventing malnutrition as we age.

6 Tips to Prevent Malnutrition in Seniors

Half of seniors visiting the emergency room in the U.S. are there for malnutrition reasons, following these quick tips can help seniors get the proper nutrition. For seniors with difficulties running errands or cooking, it’s highly suggested to get help, including finding a quality Phoenix home health care provider. 

Avoid Bad Carbs, Sodium, and Hidden Sugar

Most grocery stores are full of processed foods and refined sugars. Start checking labels and avoid foods with bad carbohydrates such as white flour and hidden sugars (corn syrup, molasses, brown rice syrup, and more). Using natural sweeteners such as honey and opting for complex carbohydrates in whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables is best. Reducing sodium intake by seasoning with garlic, herbs, and spices instead of salt and look for “low sodium” foods lowers the risk of high blood pressure.

Cook Smart

Getting the most nutrients out of food means preparing them correctly. Preserve nutrients by steaming or sauteing vegetables in olive, coconut or avocado oil. Eat raw foods when possible in vegetable salads or fruits

Cook By Color

One way to visually verify that nutrients are balanced is to cook according to color. Try to include five colors on your plate, especially from the rich array of colorful fruits and vegetables. Think berries, melons, tomatoes, spinach, yams, zucchini, and more.

Hire a Caregiver to Help

For many seniors completing supermarket runs and meal planning can be troublesome. If this is the case take the time to carefully select a caregiver from an experienced and reputable Phoenix home health care provider or other program. A caregiver can do everything from grocery shopping to meal planning and prep, making sure all nutritional needs are met.

Plan Between-Meal Snacks

Snacks can be great nutrition boosts when planned carefully. Think about incorporating more fruits, veggies, or nuts in creative ways like smoothies or peanut butter covered apple slices.

Make Meals Social Events

Staying social is a big boost for senior mental health levels so it makes sense to make meals social events. Whether it’s eating with the family or joining a program in senior home care in Phoenix.


Have Your Turkey and Eat it, Too: 500-Cal Thanksgiving Day Meal

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For so many of us, Thanksgiving is a time to spend with family and friends, give thanks for our many blessings, eat, drink, watch football, be merry, and did I mention eat?

Feasting until our stomachs nearly burst has become a common tradition for many as we kick off the holiday season. But while we’re used to eating until we can’t possibly eat anymore, is this really the best way we to celebrate our blessings? While it’s true that food is a blessing, it can also be a curse if we overeat or abuse it like a drug. That’s why we’ve found a remedy this year: the 500-calorie Thanksgiving Day meal.

Research by the University of Adelaide and the University of Connecticut show that food that’s high in fat and sugar triggers the same pleasure center of our brains that methamphetamines or cocaine would.

These foods stimulate the neurotransmitters of the mesolimbic pathway—particularly dopamine—thus giving us a “high” and actually leading us to feel addicted to food. That’s one of the reasons it’s so difficult to only eat one potato chip. This also contributes to a typical Thanksgiving Day meal packing in around 4,500 calories, according to the Calorie Control Council—significantly more than the 1,500 calories recommended for females and the 2,000 calories recommended for males, says registered dietician Mary Ellen Herndon.

Herndon further suggests a Thanksgiving Day feast should only occupy 1/3 of these calories. That leaves us with 500-700 calories to work with. While this may seem impossible, the lovely folks at Spark People, Live Science, Women’s Health and Pinterest have compiled some healthy holiday tips, as well as delicious low-calorie recipes for everything from meals and side dishes to desserts; helping keep this holiday’s indulgences on track with your personal health goals.

The best way to keep calories below 500-700 is to start with filling half of your plate with low-starch vegetables and greens. This should then be accompanied by a 3-oz portion of turkey (lean meat, as it’s lower in saturated fat). The rest of the plate may be filled with small ½-cup portions of your favorite trimmings.

Some suggestions for cutting calories on sides is to replace the green bean casserole with steamed green beans; cranberry jelly with real cranberry relish; mashed potatoes with roasted sweet potatoes or squash; rolls with cornbread; gravy with a light apple cider vinegar gravy; and traditional stuffing with a healthy alternative made from fruit and veggies.

You can also try new recipes for healthy, low-calorie side dishes. The links above contain several additional tips and recipes to try. A healthy alternative to pie or other desserts can also help lower the calorie count, as can substituting cooked and mashed cauliflower for potatoes or root vegetables, and even replacing all uses of butter with garlic, herbs and chicken or vegetable stock for flavoring.
So there you have it! We hope we’ve given you all the tools you’ll need to enjoy your holidays without the stress of overeating. Don’t forget to reach out if you’d like more tips or advice this year!


Healthy Indoor Plants for a Healthy Home

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It is well known that spending time outdoors in nature is proven to reduce anxiety and depression. But, there can also be many health benefits of bringing nature inside. Adding a few indoor plants to your home will not only boost your mood by adding splashes of color, but will also improve your health. Indoor plants naturally filter the toxic air in your household. Toxins can come into your house in many ways, through dry cleaning chemicals, household-cleaning products (such as furniture polish and oils), and from dish and laundry detergents. By selecting a few of your favorite plants or flowers and bringing them into the house, you will minimize the respiratory and neurological damage outside toxins can cause.

Flower Power

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Indoor flowers will require a little work and a lot of light. However, they bring cheer, fragrance, and cleaner air into any room you place them. Gerbera Daisies are beautiful flowers that come in a wide variation of pinks, reds, and yellows. These flowers can assist in removing the toxins benzene, which is present in many inks and dyes, and Trichloroethylene (also known as TCE), which contaminates our drinking water.

 

The popular Chrysanthemum, or ‘Mum’ is another fun, colorful flower option for your home. With lots of water and light, Mum’s will flourish in your home and clarify your air from benzene. For an added health benefit, use the leaves to make your own Chrysanthemum tea. The tea is known for its amazing health benefits, which range from helping clear sinuses, to preventing eye deterioration as you age.

Pick a Plant

Indoor plants tend to be a bit more durable compared to their flower counterparts, but still offer amazing health benefits. For a no fuss option, consider a Rubber Plant, which can tolerate low temperatures and little light. Bamboo Palms can add a tropical flair to your home while removing toxins such as benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde. Your Bamboo Palm will do best in a window with direct sunlight, and you can enjoy watching it grow to be several feet tall. If you are someone who often forgets to water your plants, consider an Aloe Vera plant .The Aloe plant requires minimal attention but still detoxifies your air, and can also be used to treat minor cuts and burns.

For more creative ways to make your home and body healthier, read more on our blog or contact MD Home Health


Are You Cooking with Healthy Oils

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olive oil

Cooking with the Healthy Oils

As we age, more and more attention goes into making sure we are taking better care of our bodies. From diet to exercise, there are a plethora of ways in which we can make small changes toward a happier, healthier, body-mind-soul. One of the ways in which we might not think our health is being negatively affected is through the oils we use to cook. Often times throughout history, health studies and ideas have changed regarding healthy oils to cook with. With some up to date expert knowledge about cooking with oils, greater insight can be gained into your health; furthering down the path toward a happier, healthier you.

 The Facts

When cooking with oils, it is not only important to pick an oil that his healthy for you, but also an oil that will remain healthy once you cook it. The heating of oils can often times change their chemical makeup, releasing harmful toxins and carcinogens into your food and body. It is best to avoid polyunsaturated fats due to this, as they break up easily under heat. It is best to choose oils with a high level of stability under high heat, according to nutrition experts. This will prevent the oils from oxidizing, a process that releases the harmful free radicals aforementioned. It is also best to choose cooking oils and/or fats that are low in saturated fats, as these can raise the risk for high cholesterol and heart disease.

 What to Avoid

Now that it is known to avoid polyunsaturated oils, one may be wondering what those are. Common polyunsaturated oils include safflower oil, sunflower and sesame seed oil, corn and soy based oils, fish oil, flaxseed oil, as well as several other nut oils. Monounsaturated fats hold up better under heat and include olive, canola, peanut and avocado oils. The monounsaturated fats aren’t the greatest for you when cooking if using them all of the time, however they are certainly a lesser of the two evils. Other oils to avoid include cottonseed oil, grapeseed, and rice bran oil, as well as canola or rapeseed oils. While they do not all low heat indexes, some are highly processed, and to be avoided. Butter substitutes such as margarine and Crisco are also harmful to one’s health, as they contain hydrogenated oils which have been linked with higher cholesterol and even diabetes.

coconut oils

Oils Great for Cooking

Experts have concluded that substituting polyunsaturated and saturated fats in one’s diet with monounsaturated fats works well at lowering cholesterol. This is particularly important as we age. Because of this factor, as well as its incredibly high heat tolerance, coconut oil is the number one best oil to use in the kitchen. If one is to cook with olive oil, peanut oil, macadamia nut oil or avocado oil, it should be done at a lower heat so as to avoid free radicals. Other substances that are OK to cook with sparingly include butter and lard, however, they are high in saturated fats and not recommended as a healthy part of a diet if one is battling high cholesterol or heart disease.

When in doubt about the healthiest oil to cook with, it is best to simply gravitate toward the coconut oil, and use other monounsaturated fat based oils sparingly at low heat. If there is that special occasion where nothing but butter will do, go for the real thing rather than the margarine, as using a hydrogenated oil would be worse. Lard can be similar to butter with a low amount of polyunsaturated fats and high monounsaturated fats depending on the diet of the animal. Those fed grains will have a higher polyunsaturated fat makeup, while a grass-fed diet will yield high monounsaturated fats within the lard. One should note that it is best to consult a physician before applying and changes to your diet that you are unsure about.

For more great tips on healthy living, visit us at MD Home Health. Until then, start cooking your way into better health. 


The Power of Therapeutic Writing

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The therapeutic power of art has been known about and explored for centuries. Whether through painting, music, or writing, both artists and non-artists alike have used these mediums of expression as effective ways to heal the soul. It may not seem like it at first, but an easy way to start healing your soul and improving your psychological well-being is to simply keep a diary or daily journal. Releasing pent-up stress and anxiety onto the page can do wonders for your emotional health and general happiness.

Writing Therapy

Believe it or not, diaries aren’t just for teenagers and they’re not just full of adolescent ramblings. In fact, there is a very important reason why teenagers keep diaries and why we could stand to learn a thing or two from this very common high school practice. The teenage years are an especially difficult time because of constant hormone shifts, awkward maturation processes, and crucial life transitions that can affect mood and mental health significantly. Keeping a private journal is an instinctual way that adolescents learn to grapple with these changes in order to help stabilize their emotions. As we get older, we tend to lose or “outgrow” this instinct, but it can be helpful to relearn it with age, because the power of therapeutic writing doesn’t diminish even if we have survived adolescence.

Writing Therapy

Mental health professionals have also picked up on the importance of therapeutic writing. Many psychologists and counselors use art therapy during sessions and psychological interventions as part of a concerted regimen aimed at expressing, understanding, and coming to terms with problematic thoughts, behaviors, and feelings. Because of the uninhibited nature of many expressive art forms, journal writing can help us identify how we are really feeling and how we can improve upon that. It also helps that it’s cheap, essentially risk-free, and nearly anybody can do it. All you need is some paper, a pen, and anywhere from ten to sixty minutes a day. 

It’s important to remember, however, that persistent situations involving serious emotional and mental health problems should always be dealt with by a mental health professional. While therapeutic writing can help alleviate everyday stresses, it shouldn’t be considered a replacement for professional therapy. For more information on the importance of mental health and when professional assistance is required, visit us at MD Home Health. Otherwise, get writing and start healing!


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


Senior Health Trends

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Healthy Friends in Senior Trends

For seniors, especially “baby boomers” currently entering retirement age, the future can seem uncertain and a little stressful: What will my quality of life be like? Will I have support for my medical needs? Will anyone look after me? Unfortunately, these concerns are valid, because while people are living longer, the health complications associated with aging have become more prominent.health trends

A number of health trends have gained ground in response to these growing concerns. Luckily, many of these trends have proved quite beneficial for an aging body, improving quality of life dramatically for seniors. However, other trends should be approached with a certain amount of skepticism, or at least moderation. At MD Home Health, we’re here to help you choose which trends to follow and which ones to avoid.

Functional Fitness

The strenuousness of everyday activities is something that a lot of people take for granted, but as we age, performing these normal physical feats can become somewhat daunting and even dangerous. As a result, an exercise regimen for seniors known as “functional fitness” has developed, which involves doing exercises that mimic daily activities. This trend is important for seniors to pay attention to, because the strain is minimal and the exercises are specific, directed, and immediately useful.

Yoga

When people say that everyone and their mother are doing yoga these days, they aren’t kidding. But does this mean that seniors should be doing yoga? Intensive yoga can be quite dangerous and painful for seniors, because it can require heavy muscle exertion and endurance that may be difficult for seniors whose muscle mass has decreased significantly. A light yoga regimen tailored to seniors, however, will decrease joint stiffness and relieve aches and pains.

“Senior” Diets

A lot of fuss is made about diets for seniors, but how beneficial are they really?

– Gluten-free: Cutting barley, wheat, and rye from your diet can, in fact, help prevent celiac disease, but it’s important to remember to replace the iron, calcium, and fiber that you’re sacrificing by cutting gluten products.

– Vegetarian: Cutting meat will reduce your cholesterol and saturated fat intake, but you will be missing out on some important vitamins like vitamin D, vitamin B-12, calcium, zinc, and iron, so supplements may be necessary.

-Vegan: Cutting animal products altogether will reduce your natural vitamin and mineral intake even more, so more supplements will be required. Also keep in mind that increasing your reliance on soy products will increase your sodium levels.

-Juicing: Juicing is not so much about cutting foods out as it is about conveniently adding more fruits and vegetables into your diet, and this is a trend that we can wholeheartedly endorse. 

Getting older shouldn’t be a scary thing. In fact, it should be something we look forward to, because we’re living longer than ever. And just because we’re older doesn’t mean we have to feel that way. At MD Home Health, we want you to feel healthy and happy.For those who need a helping hand at home when it comes to older loved ones, be sure to use MD Home Health for all your home health needs.


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