St Louis In Home Care Tips

St. Louis Home Care Tips: Five Signs of Low Vitamin D

Seniors need Vitamin D5 Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency

Jefferey Morgan at Agingcare.com

Vitamin D deficiency is a pretty common condition. Sadly, very few people realize that their health is at risk, so they choose to ignore the side effects. Even though milk products have substantial quantities of vitamin D, that's still not enough to maintain bone strength and stay healthy.

In fact, the main source of this vitamin is not food, but the sun. Only natural sunlight provides enough vitamin D for your body to look and feel good. Unfortunately, older adults don't get out much, and because they spend a lot of time indoors, it's easy for them to become vitamin D deficient.

Here are five clear signs of vitamin D deficiency to watch out for:

  1. Weak muscles: In aging adults, vitamin D deficiency is strongly linked to weak muscles. Older people are susceptible to developing a vitamin D deficit due to several factors such as diminished exposure to direct sunlight, insufficient dietary intake, less-than-optimal intestinal absorption, and reduced skin thickness. Weakening of the muscles because of vitamin D deficiency can manifest in different ways. In general, older adults feel a heaviness in their legs and difficulty with standing up and climbing stairs. The good news is that supplementation can help older adults compensate for these insufficiencies, and thus get back on their feet.
  2. Mood changes: Vitamin D is not your average vitamin. In fact, it is a hormone. After vitamin D has been absorbed by the skin, it relocates to the kidneys and liver, where it is then transformed into an active hormone. This hormone helps assimilate calcium, and keeps the bones, muscles and teeth in excellent condition. Studies have shown that vitamin D is also responsible for activating genes that control the release of neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine); thereby affecting the functions of the brain. Seniors who feel depressed and tired all the time may actually suffer from a vitamin D deficiency.
  3. Weight gain: Research claims that, together with a hormone called leptin, vitamin D helps regulate body weight. Leptin is manufactured inside the body's fat cells and works by delivering signals to the human brain, basically letting a person know that they're full and they can stop eating. Vitamin D controls leptin levels inside the body, making sure that the right signals are sent to the brain. When someone is deficient in vitamin D, these signals get disrupted and the body doesn't know when to stop eating. This can make people overeat and gain weight.
  4. Fatigue: Many older adults who feel tired don't realize that they might have a vitamin D deficiency, so they choose to ignore their symptoms. Someone who has stiff joints and is constantly feeling fatigued might want to boost their intake of vitamin D (especially if they don't go outside much or don't eat many milk products). Apart from fatigue, vitamin D deficiency may also trigger pain in the legs and difficulty moving around the house.
  5. Stomach problems: Vitamin D deficiency may lead to inflammatory bowel disease, which is a chronic illness that causes swelling and irritation in the digestive tract. This condition is split into two main types: ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Older adults are more predisposed to developing inflammatory bowel disease because they're susceptible to vitamin D deficiency. Gut problems are unpleasant and they can also tamper with the fat absorption process. Since vitamin D falls into the category of fat-soluble vitamins, insufficiencies may trigger severe gastrointestinal problems.

Vitamin D is an extremely important nutrient that the body needs to function properly, and insufficiencies may trigger severe health problems. Older adults who don't go outside much should make a lifestyle change if they want to preserve their health, maintain strong bones and have a healthy digestive tract.

Expose yourself to more natural sunlight, especially in the morning. Take relaxing walks to the park and enjoy the beautiful weather. This will boost your mood and keep your bones strong and healthy. Vitamin D supplements may be advised if your deficiency is extremely severe, but it's a decision you'll have to consult with your physician before staring a treatment.

Need Help Caring for an Aging Parent or Getting Them Out for a Little Sunshine in the St. Louis area?

Let our  by Text-Enhance" href="http://assistancehomecarestlouis.com/In-Home-Care-Tips/#">St. Louis in home care team help! If you are in need of assistance at home care for your loved one in the St Louis area or just have questions, contact our Director of Client Care at Assistance Home Care. We are a St. Louis Home Care Agency providing quality and affordable caregivers in St Charles, St Louis, Lincoln and Warren County, Mo. We would welcome the opportunity to answer your home care questions and more.
 
Call today: St. Louis County 314-631-1989 or St. Charles County 636-724-4357 or visit us online at Assistance Home Care in St. Louis.

Tags: St Louis Home Care, Caring for Aging Parents, Vitamin Deficiencies in Older Adults

Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas from Assistance Home Care

Thanks to all of our wonderful families whom we have been able to assist over the past year and to our wonderful team who make it all possible.   You are all #1 to us here at Assistance Home Care!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

IMG 5698 resized 600



Tags: St Louis Home Care, St. Charles Home Care

St. Louis Home Care:Alzheimer's - When Love Becomes an Instinct

 
Here's a must watch video about a man's love for his wife and a beautiful moment of clarity as he battles Alzheimer's Disease!
 Alzheimer's Care in St. Louis

Need Help Caring for an Aging Parent in St. Louis?

Let our  by Text-Enhance">St. Louis in home care team help! If you are in need of assistance at home care for your loved one in the St Louis area or just have questions, contact our Director of Client Care at Assistance Home Care. We are a St. Louis Home Care Agency providing quality and affordable caregivers in St Charles, St Louis, Lincoln and Warren County, Mo. We would welcome the opportunity to answer your questions and more.
 
Call today: St. Louis County 314-631-1989 or St. Charles County 636-724-4357 or visit us online at Assistance Home Care in St. Louis.

Tags: St Louis Home Care, Dementia Care, Alzheimer's Care St Louis, St Louis Alzheimer's care

Home Care in St Louis: What is it like to be old?

An important component for

Caring for an Aging Parent in St.

Louis is EMPATHY.

Caring for an aging parent with Empathy

As they say a picture is worth a thousand words, then this video speaks volumes and truly helps to demonstrate what it is like to grow older and understand all of the limitations and difficulties an aging parent faces in regular day to day activites.

Please take a moment and watch this video from PBS on the Empathy Suit.  Knowledge is power and can help one to understand that your parent really isn't just trying to be "difficult" when they seem to take forever to do even some of the most basic daily tasks.

If you know someone who is caring for a loved one, please share this post and help them to have empathy for those that they care so deeply about.

Need Help Caring for an Aging Parent in St. Louis?

Let our St. Louis in home care team help! If you are in need of assistance at home care for your loved one in the St Louis area or just have questions, contact our Director of Client Care at Assistance Home Care. We are a St. Louis Home Care Agency providing quality and affordable caregivers in St Charles, St Louis, Lincoln and Warren County, Mo. We would welcome the opportunity to answer your questions and more.
 
Call today: St. Louis County 314-631-1989 or St. Charles County 636-724-4357 or visit us online at Assistance Home Care in St. Louis.

Tags: St Louis Home Care, Caring for Aging Parents, Aging in Place

ST. Louis Home Care: The Power of Music

St. Louis Home Care Excercise Tips

I just couldn't resist posting this.  Apologize in advance for any profanity (at the very end).  In the spirit of helpful home care tips, we actively endorse exercise and dance.....maybe just not on the front steps!

We might not be able to help with dance lessons.  But please give us a call if we can help!

Let our St. Louis in home care team help! If you are in need of assistance at home care for your loved one in the St Louis area or just have questions, contact our Director of Client Care at Assistance Home Care. We are a St. Louis Home Care Agency providing quality and affordable caregivers in St Charles, St Louis, Lincoln and Warren County, Mo. We would welcome the opportunity to answer your questions and more.
 
Call today: St. Louis County 314-631-1989 or St. Charles County 636-724-4357 or visit us online at Assistance Home Care in St. Louis.

Tags: St Louis Home Care, Fall Prevention Tips, Exercise for the Elderly

STL Home Care: Ten Tips for Communicating with a Person with Dementia

St. Louis Home Care - Dotty's Ten Tips for Communicating with a Person Living with Dementia

Ten Tips for Communicating with a person with Dementia

  1. You know what makes me feel safe, secure, and happy? A smile.
  2. Did you ever conside this? When you get tense and uptight it makes me feel tense and uptight.
  3. Instead of getting all bent out of shape when I do something that seems perfectly normal to me, and perfectly nutty to you, why not just smile at me? It will take the edge off the situation all the way around.
  4. Please try to understand and remember it is my short term memory, my right now memory, that is gone -- don't talk so fast, or use so many words.
  5. You know what I am going to say if you go off into long winded explanations on why we should do something? I am going to say No, because I can never be certain if you are asking me to do something I like, or drink a bottle of castor oil. So I'll just say No to be safe.
  6. Slow down. And don't sneak up on me and start talking. Did I tell you I like smiles?
  7. Make sure you have my attention before you start blabbering away. What is going to happen if you start blabbering away and you don't have my attention, or confuse me? I am going to say No - count on it.
  8. My attention span and ability to pay attention are not as good as they once were, please make eye contact with me before you start talking. A nice smile always gets my attention. Did I mention that before?
  9. Sometimes you talk to me like I am a child or an idiot. How would you like it if I did that to you? Go to your room and think about this. Don't come back and tell me you are sorry, I won't know what you are talking about. Just stop doing it and we will get along very well, and probably better than you think.
  10. You talk too much -- instead try taking my hand and leading the way. I need a guide not a person to nag me all the time.

This is another great article from Bob DeMarco and the Alzheimer's Reading Room.   I enjoy sharing his content that offers such a personal and profound perspective on how to provide care for a loved one with Dementia.  Please visit his sight for more great articles.

Need additional help caring for an Aging Parent at home with Dementia?

Let our by Text-Enhance">St. Louis in home care team help! If you are in need of assistance at home care for your loved one in the St Louis area or just have questions, contact our Director of Client Care at Assistance Home Care. We are a St. Louis Home Care Agency providing quality and affordable caregivers in St Charles, St Louis, Lincoln and Warren County, Mo. We would welcome the opportunity to answer your questions and more.
 
Call today: St. Louis County 314-631-1989 or St. Charles County 636-724-4357 or visit us online at Assistance Home Care in St. Louis.

Tags: St Louis Home Care, Alzheimer's Care, Dementia Care, Alzheimer's Communication Tips, Alzheimer's Care St Louis

St. Louis Home Care: Caring for your Aging Parents

Caring for Your Parents: How to Reclaim the Good Old Times

Who knew that I would be touting Oprah's O?  Here's an insightful article that I can relate to having helped so many wonderful families who are in the "emotional grinder'.  Please share with others as you see fit!
By Martha Beck
Oprah.com   |   From the May 2009 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
A winding road
Shepherding fragile elders can leave a person lost and overwhelmed. Martha Beck offers a path back toward sanity.


I once attended a Navajo blessing ceremony, held in a tepee on the red sand of the Sonoran desert. The tepee was set up with great reverence, since to the Navajo, it symbolized the womb from which we all emerge, and the tent poles were "the bones of our grandmother." The word grandparents was spoken often and lovingly throughout the ceremony. The group's silver-haired matriarch quietly reigned over the gathering, with everyone else poised to supply her needs. It was a graceful dance of mutual care, with the elderly at the center.

By contrast, our First World way of caring for the elderly is a clumsy, exhausting tarantella. It force-partners isolated caregivers (usually middle-aged women) with decline, disease, dementia, and death. As one woman told me, "Having aging parents simultaneously orphaned me, saddled me with two insane strangers, and shoved every nightmare about my own future right into my face." I heard many such stories as I researched this subject: Polly nearly bankrupted herself caring for her father, who has Alzheimer's. Brooke has barely slept since her ailing mother-in-law moved in. Jennifer had to testify against her parents in court so they'd be declared "incompetent to drive" before accidentally killing themselves or someone else.

This is what happens when a society forgets something people like the Navajo teach explicitly—that caring for the elderly is a "blessing path" in which the whole community should participate. Although our culture shows no signs of collectively adopting this perspective, there are ways to regain it on a case-by-case basis. If you're one of the 34 million or so Americans who are caring for an older relative, I offer my deep respect, and the following suggestions.

Practical Coping Strategies

As I interviewed people who are known in demographics as "unpaid caregivers," I thought I'd hear a few logistical hints. But that turned out to be like seeking just a few general rules on "how to heal sickness" or "controlling bad emotions." Every aging-parent scenario is unique, and there are precious few generalities that apply. One thing I can say is that you'll have fun with the responsibilities of eldercare if you enjoy running the high hurdles while juggling angry badgers. If not, you might try these techniques.

Trust your intuition about how much care is needed.


"There are hundreds of lines between being a little daffy and needing constant supervision," says Polly, describing her father's Alzheimer's. "At first my dad wasn't totally out to lunch; he was just...snacking. Then he definitely went out to lunch, then breakfast, then dinner. I've had to trust my instincts to increase care as he crossed each new line."

Denial is potent and seductive when it comes to dealing with aging. No one wants to acknowledge that a family member is in permanent decline. But when your parent gets really sick, or begins, um, lunching out, you'll feel an uneasy warning from your gut. Pay attention. The sooner you acknowledge the truth—"I must intercede"—the sooner you can begin exploring care options. And there's a mess of exploring to do.

Prepare for a logistical wilderness.

There's no rule book to guide you through the morass of eldercare tasks and demands. Your best source of information is the Internet, where you can e-mail friends and family and research everything from buying walkers to curing constipation. If you're a caregiver and you don't like computers, get over it. Buy a laptop—it will cost far less than the mistakes it will help you avoid—and make some 8-year-old teach you to cruise the Web. Everyone I interviewed, even the technophobes, told me that the Internet was a lifeline in negotiating eldercare obligations.

Online information can prepare you—sort of—for the pragmatic tasks you may encounter: filling out medical paperwork, hiring a care nurse, wrestling the car keys out of a beloved parent's desperate clutches. Many of these duties will be indescribably difficult. But if instincts and information tell you to take a step, take it firmly, without second-guessing, the way you'd lead a frightened horse out of a burning barn. And don't try to manage everything alone.

Create your own village.

The Navajo and other traditional cultures understand that there's nothing more soulful than supporting people at the margins of life, those who can't walk fast or talk sense or remember how to use a toilet. They also know that this takes a village.

It really does.

Most eldercare providers in our village-less society end up jury-rigging systems of helpers. The common refrain I heard from people in the trenches? Take notes. Write down every bit of advice you get, from every person who interacts with your family member: doctors, pharmacists, neighbors, hairstylists. Write down these people's contact information. For good or evil, they're your village.

Jennifer has 45 people on her call list should her elderly parents encounter a crisis. Polly rallied support from her parents' church congregation. Not everyone in the village will help care for an elderly person, but a long list gives you multiple possibilities for support.

"No one can tell you what to expect," Anne said to me. "You have to live like a firefighter, ready to call other firefighters to solve whatever problem arises."

Psychological Coping Strategies

Once you've adopted this firefighting mentality about your parent's needs, you'll need a whole new set of strategies like the ones below to deal with the emotional wreckage that piles up along the way.

Surrender to the emotional grinder.

"The thing that galls me most about caring for my mother," one woman told me, "is that she's the only one who gets a morphine drip." The emotional pain suffered by caregivers is intense—and unlike the elderly, caregivers are expected to live through it. With every new issue your elderly relative develops, you'll head into the emotional grinder called the grief process: bargaining, anger, sadness, acceptance, repeat.

Grieving, like physical caretaking, differs from case to case. If you had a troubled relationship with an aging parent, expect to spend lots of time in the anger stage. Use this time to clean your emotional closet. Explore the anger with a therapist. Journal it. Process it with friends. Clean the wounds.

On the other hand, if your declining parent was your main source of emotional support, you'll find yourself spending lots of time in sadness. You'll feel as though it's killing you. It won't. As Naomi Shihab Nye wrote, "Before you know kindness / as the deepest thing inside, / you must know sorrow / as the other deepest thing.... / Then it is only kindness / that makes sense anymore...."

As the grieving process scrapes along, you'll learn to offer kindness to everyone: your aging relative, the people of your village, yourself. When you snap under stress and begin to rail at Nana, God, yourself, and the cat, you'll learn to be kind to yourself anyway. At that point, you'll find relief and an unexpected gift: laughter.

Nourish a sick sense of humor.

A morbid sense of humor isn't listed in any official guides to eldercare, but to the caregivers I interviewed, it is like oxygen. Take, for example, Meg Federico's memoir Welcome to the Departure Lounge. Federico's wry portrayal of her mother's senescence is both sad and hilarious. Without belittling her mother or her stepfather, Walter, both of whom suffered dementia, Federico recounts conversations like this one:

"I can't seem to find my keys," Walter told Mom. "Say, do you have them?"

"Oh, don't worry about keys, dearest. We don't need them. We can jump out the window and fly home."

"What?" said Walter. "You can fly? I never knew."

"So can you, but you have to take your shoes off."

To Walter's credit, he was not convinced.

Just acknowledging that this is funny makes it tolerable. Cracking up can keep caregivers from, well, cracking up.

"Bill and I are training his dad to 'go toward the light,'" said my friend Anne, whose father-in-law no longer recognizes his family. "Any light we see—lamps, flashlights, the TV—we steer him over there. We figure he can use the practice."

Of course, Anne isn't serious. Not being serious is how she and Bill are surviving. If you can't train your elder to go toward the light, you can make light of the situation. And sometimes, that light becomes splendiferous.

Ponder the nature of existence.

There's nothing like caring for the elderly to help you face your own mortality. Many caregivers told me that their experience was dissolving, through simple drudgery, their fear of death. Pulitzer Prize–winning psychologist Ernest Becker wrote that the denial of death underlies all evils, and that we must drop this denial to live fully. The caregivers I interviewed would agree.

"Fear of death was my biggest obstacle in life," said Polly. "To help my dad, I have to get past it. He's showing me how to die, which is really helping me live."

Other caregivers went further. They said that as they watched the door close on their loved one's physical identity, a door to the metaphysical slowly opened.

"I don't believe in an afterlife, but as my mother died, I truly understood that being dead is no more frightening than being asleep, which I love."

"As my husband's body was failing, he became almost translucent. I went right through my own pain and felt the most intense peace. I can still find that."

"Just before my grandmother died in surgery, I heard her voice saying, 'I'm leaving now, but you'll be fine.' I've been less anxious about everything ever since."

This is why traditional cultures value even the most fragile, disoriented elder, why the Navajo carry "Grandmother's bones" with such reverent attention. Even as you grapple with the logistical and psychological stress of eldercare, there will be moments when you find yourself on the "blessing path." Rather than a long day's journey into night, you'll feel yourself making a long night's journey into day: through fear and confusion to courage and wisdom. Receive this gift, the final one your parents can offer before they take off their shoes, jump out the window, and fly home.

Need help caring for an Aging Parent at home?

Let our in home care team help! If you are in need of assistance at home care for your loved one in the St Louis area or just have questions, contact our Director of Client Care at Assistance Home Care. We are a St. Louis Home Care Agency providing quality and affordable caregivers in St Charles, St Louis, Lincoln and Warren County, Mo. We would welcome the opportunity to answer your questions and more.
 
Call today: St. Louis County 314-631-1989 or St. Charles County 636-724-4357 or visit us online at Assistance Home Care in St. Louis.

 

Tags: St Louis Home Care, Caring for Aging Parents, Home Care Tips, Caregiver Tips

St. Louis Home Care: What's Involved in providing hands-on care?

What's Involved in Hands-On Care

A few years ago, Ethelinn brought her 78-year-old Caring for your Parents resized 600father, then in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, to live with her and her teenage son. “At first I was upset, because this should have been a time in my life to spend with my son,” says Ethelinn. “But there are so many positives in having my father with us. He is safe and comfortable. He is surrounded by his books and portraits of my mother. He whistles, he laughs, he feels loved and respected. Every night he says, ‘Thank you,’ and I know this is the least I can do for him. My father was always there for me, and he is always there for my son, who is learning patience, compassion, and acceptance. Is there any other way this could be?”

Adapted from Caring for Your Parents

Caring for a parent at home may mean providing only minimal help or it may require 24-hour-a-day assistance.

In these situations families must make choices. Where will your parents receive the care they need? Who will be the caregiver? One answer many adult children choose is to provide hands-on care for a parent at home, either moving in with the parent or having the parent move in with them.

What It Involves:

Caring for a parent at home may mean providing only minimal help or it may require 24-hour-a-day assistance. Your parent may need help only with some everyday activities, such as eating, bathing, or using the toilet. Or your parent may need help with most activities as well as professional nursing or medical care.

Today, older people are living longer with chronic illnesses and disabilities. Only a very committed caregiver can manage at home without help when a parent’s needs are as extensive as those of nursing home residents. Even when caregivers take advantage of all the outside help available, the job remains intense. Some parents may need care only for a few days or weeks. For others, the need will last longer. Caregivers must be able to handle both the practical and emotional aspects of caring. Here are some factors to consider in reviewing the situation for you and your parents:

Practical AspectsFactors to consider:

    • Home. Does the house have enough room for your parent and a wheelchair, walker, hospital bed, or bedside toilet? Is medical care nearby? Would assistive devices, such as grab bars, be helpful? Is there enough money to pay for outside help, the home care products and equipment your parent needs, and physical changes to the home such as wheelchair ramps and bath safety aids? What will insurance cover? Is your parent eligible for any financial aid, subsidized services, or benefits?
    • Tasks Involved. Can you make sure the house is kept clean to minimize the risk of infection? Can you help your parents with walking, bathing, or turning in bed? How about working with medical and home health professionals as a member of your parent’s health care team? Are you comfortable administering medication or monitoring an illness? Will you be able to help your parent manage pain? How are you at dealing with medical emergencies? Do you know where to find and how to manage home-care providers? Where will you get any training you need, such as how to use medical equipment or change dressings? Are you comfortable dealing with all the agencies and organizations involved in your parents’ care?
    • Time. Do you have the time for caregiving tasks along with your other responsibilities? Can you get leave or set your own hours at work? Could you afford to stop working, if necessary?
    • Support. Will you get financial or hands-on help from other family members? What sources of community assistance are available? What other options are available if you do not provide care?

Emotional AspectsFactors to consider:

  • Your Parents’ Needs. How much companionship does your parent want? Is your parent sad about the loss of his or her home? Any problems with depression, homesickness, or grief? Can you meet your parent’s need for privacy? How well do you, your parent, and your family get along? Will you be able to help your parent feel useful and appreciated?
  • Your Family’s Needs. How do other members of the family feel about having your parent move in? Will you be able to spend enough time with your family? Are they ready to adjust their habits and behavior? Children may need to be quieter. Family members may be awakened in the night. How do they feel about helping out?
  • Your Needs. Have you considered the potential downside of caregiving, such as loss of freedom, less time for other activities, lack of control, and stress? Are you prepared to deal with your parent if he or she appears uncooperative or unpleasant? How will you handle it if he or she doesn’t recognize you because of dementia? Is it easy for you to talk with your parent? Do you know what care he or she wants? Are you able to deal with personal and health care tasks? Can you face caring for a parent who is dying? Will you be able to ask for help when you need it, including emotional support and breaks for yourself? Are you the best person to become the primary caregiver?

Many caregivers report getting much satisfaction from helping their parents, even when the job is hard. However, it is important to reassess your situation periodically to see if home care still makes sense. If at any stage you decide you can no longer provide hands-on care, you should not feel guilty or think that you have failed. There are other options that will be best for everyone should home care become impractical.

Some of this material appears in slightly different form in Caring For Your Parents: The Complete AARP Guide.

Need help caring for an Aging Parent?

Let our in  by Text-Enhance" href="http://assistancehomecarestlouis.com/In-Home-Care-Tips/#">home care team help! If you are in need of assistance at home care for your loved one in the St Louis area or just have questions, contact our Director of Client Care at Assistance Home Care. We are a St. Louis Home Care Agency providing quality and affordable caregivers in St Charles, St Louis, Lincoln and Warren County, Mo. We would welcome the opportunity to answer your questions and more.
 
Call today: St. Louis County 314-631-1989 or St. Charles County 636-724-4357 or visit us online at Home Care in St. Louis.

Tags: St Louis Home Care, Caring for Aging Parents, Assistance Home Care

St. Louis Home Care Tips: At Home Exercises for the Elderly

Simple, At-Home Exercises to Help You Stay Strong and Mobile

In Home Caregivers often find that looking after an ailing loved one has a negative impact on their physical and mental health.

Regular exercise is touted as one of the simplest ways for caregivers to stay healthy and fight depression, but many lack the time, energy and resources to go to the gym on a regular basis. They have to take their workouts wherever they can get them, usually in the form of a brief walk, or running around fetching things for an elderly loved one.

Any kind of physical activity is beneficial. But sporadic strolls and frenzied housework do not do much to help caregivers stay strong and mobile—two especially important physical traits for those who have to assist a loved one who has trouble walking or moving on their own.

Muscle-building exercises are a must for those wishing to prevent injury and stave off the effects of aging, according to Cathy Moxley, M.A., Fitness Director at Asbury Methodist Village, a continuing care retirement community in Gaithersburg, Maryland. "Stronger muscles mean being able to carry our own groceries, get out of a chair with ease, and walk farther and faster. Stronger muscles help ward off joint problems, decrease the risk of osteoporosis, and improve posture and back pain."

Elders too can benefit from increased muscle mass. One recent study found a regular strength-training program helped nursing home residents in their 80s and 90s go from using a walker to a cane in just ten weeks.

But how can caregivers and their loved ones find the time (and energy) to take advantage of the benefits of strength training?

Simple at-home strength exercises

Moxley and Sims McMahon, fitness coach with SilverSneakers, a nationwide health program tailored to aging adults offer some simple, at-home strengthening exercises that can be performed by individuals of all ages and abilities with minimal equipment—just a stable chair, an exercise band and a wall:

 

  • Leg Press: Sit upright in a chair. Lift up one leg and wrap the resistance band around your shoe, taking firm hold of each end. Flex your foot and press it out until your knee is almost straight (avoid locking your knee, as doing so can cause injury). Slowly bring your leg back to the bent position, making sure to keep resistance on the band. Repeat the same movement with your other leg.
  • Seated Chest Press: Sit upright in a chair. Wrap the band behind your back and grasp each end right underneath your arm pits. Press out with both arms until your elbows are almost straight. Slowly bring your arms back until your hands are back underneath your armpits.
  • Biceps Curl: Sit upright in a chair and plant your feet on the floor front of you with your thighs running parallel to the floor. Place the band underneath both feet and grip each end in your hands. Keep your elbows at your side as you curl your palms up towards your shoulders. Slowly bring your hands back down—keeping your elbows at your sides—until your hands touch the tops of your thighs. For this exercise, the band may be substituted for hand weights or even canned goods.
  • Seated Row: Sit upright on the edge of a chair. Keeping your knees bent and your heels planted on the floor, extend your legs out a little bit in front of you. Wrap the exercise band around your feet, crisscross the band and hold one end in each hand. Pull your arms back in a bent-arm rowing position, making sure to squeeze your shoulder blades towards each other. Slowly release your arms back to their starting position out in front of you.
  • Abdominal Crunch: Sit upright on the edge of a chair. Cross your arms over your chest and slowly lean back until your shoulder blades just touch the back of the chair. Hold this position for a few seconds (remembering to breathe consistently as you do so) and then slowly rise up to your starting seated position.
  • Calf raises: Stand on the edge of a raised platform (the bottom step of a staircase works well) with the balls of your feet fully on the step and your heels dangling off the edge of the step, parallel to the floor. Maintain good upper body posture as raise your heels and stand on tiptoes. You may need to use a chair or wall for stability. Slowly lower your heels until they reach their initial starting position.
  • Wall Push-Ups: Face a stable, empty wall and stand up straight, several feet away from where the wall and floor meet. Lean forward and place your palms flat against the surface of the wall in front of you with your arms as straight as possible without locking your elbows. Keeping the muscles in your torso engaged, bend your elbows and lean forward until your nose touches the wall. Slowly push back to your initial position, again keeping your core tight the entire way.
  • Wall Squats: Place your back straight up against the wall and squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground and your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle. You may need to place a chair out in front of you to provide stability as you squat. Don't allow your knees to drift past your feet. Hold this position for about 30 seconds, stand up and repeat.

Important things to keep in mind

Before setting foot on a machine or purchasing a set of dumbbells, McMahon stresses the importance of checking in with a doctor first. A knowledgeable physician should be able to guide you towards the right exercise program.

McMahon suggests beginners gradually add power exercises into their workouts two to three days per week. One or two sets of each exercise is a good place to start. Within each set, you can work your way up from 5-8 repetitions to 10-15, once you begin to feel more confident with the movement and weight.

To avoid unintentionally injuring yourself when performing power exercises, Moxley advises remaining cognizant of posture, technique and breathing pattern. Perform each movement slowly and smoothly, with full range of motion (as long as it doesn't cause any discomfort). Remember to keep your breathing steady and avoid holding your breath at any point during an exercise.

It may seem like there's no room in your life for another task,but  finding the time to exercise is essential for the health of both you and your loved one. As caregiver and AgingCare blogger, Marlis Powers says, "Your life may depend on it."

Need help caring for an Aging Parent?

Let our in  by Text-Enhance" href="http://assistancehomecarestlouis.com/In-Home-Care-Tips/#">home care team help! If you are in need of assistance at home care for your loved one in the St Louis area or just have questions, contact our Director of Client Care at Assistance Home Care. We are a St. Louis Home Care Agency providing quality and affordable caregivers in St Charles, St Louis, Lincoln and Warren County, Mo. We would welcome the opportunity to answer your questions and more.
 
Call today: St. Louis County 314-631-1989 or St. Charles County 636-724-4357 or visit us online at Home Care in St. Louis.

Tags: St Louis Home Care, Exercise for the Elderly, At Home Exercise

Happy Holidays from Assistance Home Care!

We can't think of a better way to say Merry Christmas to all of the wonderful families and friends we have been so fortunate to get to know over the years!

St Louis Home Care - Hallelujah

 

Take a moment and listen.........

 

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday Season!

 

Your Friends at Assistance Home Care

 

 

Tags: St Louis Home Care, Assistance Home Care