Don't Forget To Leave A Note For Your Grandparents

Leading provider of in-home senior care reveals the importance of flu-reminders!

It’s that time of year again when America’s senior citizens will be surrounded by people sneezing, coughing and spreading germs. It happens at the mall, the school concert, or the family dinner, and those germs could potentially be fatal. That’s why Senior Helpers, one of the leading providers of in-home care for seniors, is advising families that personal reminders about getting the flu shot actually increase your senior’s chances of getting vaccinated.

“Senior citizens have the highest risk of potentially fatal complications from the flu and almost two-thirds of seniors who get the flu end up in the hospital,” advises Peter Ross with Senior Helpers“The study, published in the Cochrane Library(an international non-profit organization that provides up-to-date information about the effects of health care), shows that even the simplest of reminders, such as a letter, postcard or phone call, increase the number of seniors going to get their flu shot. Our caregivers can not only provide those reminders but they can also drive seniors to the doctor or drugstore to be immunized.”

Seniors are more likely to get the flu because the body’s immune system weakens as it gets older. The Centers for Disease Control advises flu shots not only guard against the flu but also offer protection from flu-related complications such as pneumonia.

Flu Basics:

According to the CDC, the flu season can begin as early as October with its peak in January and February.

  • 65% of elderly Americans get a flu shot each year – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services hopes to increase the immunization rate to 90%
  • Seniors account for 46% of all flu-related hospital days
  • More than 30 million seniors receive the flu shot each year
  • More than 200,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized from flu-related illnesses each year
  • Medicare has been covering flu shots since 1993

 


How Seniors Can Stay Mentally Sharp

Feeling forgetful? Here are some tips for preserving your mental abilities as you age. 

You've noticed some changes in your thinking. Maybe you misplace your keys often or have trouble coming up with the right word in conversations. How do you know when these changes are a "normal" part of getting older, or if they might point to a health problem, such as dementia? 

How the Brain Typically Ages 

As you age, your brain's volume gradually shrinks. When this occurs, some of the nerve cells in your brain can shrink or lose connections with other nerve cells. In addition, blood flow within your brain slows somewhat in old age. 

These age-related transitions are thought to be behind the changes in cognitive function many people notice as they get older. Everyone has lapses in memory from time to time, but significant memory loss is never a normal part of old age. It's important to talk with your doctor if you or a loved one is experiencing whose memory loss and other cognitive symptoms that are interfering with your normal activities and relationships.

 


Mobility Issues and the Elderly

How to select the appropriate mobility device 

Limited mobility. It is something that often comes with age or debilitating joint diseases, such as arthritis, osteoporosis or neurological diseases. It was not too long ago that limited mobility felt like a jail sentence to many seniors. Not so anymore. There are many assistive devices and mobility products that have been introduced that are allowing the elderly to get out and enjoy life almost as well as they did in their youth. Dr. Stephen Stricker, rehabilitation specialist with University of Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital says, “Wheelchairs and other mobility products have come a long way in being able to help patients achieve independence. It is always our goal to help people become as independent as possible for doing activities of daily living, of getting from one place to another, being able to turn the household appliances, being able to reach the objects in the upper cabinets.” Mobility products are key in doing this. 

"Medicare usually pays up to 80% of the cost of a mobility device with a doctor’s approval." – AARP 

Mobility devices run the gamut, from simple walking canes and walkers and rollators to sophisticated scooters and electric wheelchairs. How do you determine which mobility product is right for you? 

Canes and walkers 

Canes and walkers are used to provide a person with increased stability and support. Canes and walkers are often prescribed to a person after an injury, but more often than not, they are used for the elderly to prevent an injury due to a fall. The elderly also use canes and walkers to relieve pressure on painful joints such as the knees or hips due to arthritis or other degenerative joint diseases. 

When selecting a cane, make sure the handle or grip is comfortable, and the cane is the right length. To measure the correct length, you should stand normally wearing your usual shoes. Bend your elbow on the side of your body where you will hold the cane with your hand held at a comfortable height, as if you were holding the cane. Your hand should be at around the top of your hipbone. Have a second person measure straight up from the floor to your wrist with a measuring tape. This is the length your cane should be. Wooden canes come in pre-cut common lengths, or can be custom cut by the manufacturer. Many aluminum canes are adjustable to different heights.


Seniors And Stroke: How Neighborhood Support Helps Survival

The odds of surviving stroke appear to be much better for seniors living in neighborhoods where they interact more often with their neighbors and count on them for help and social support, according to research published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association. 

Seniors and Stroke Survival 

"Social isolation is unhealthy on many levels, and there is a lot of literature showing that increased social support improves not just stroke, but many other health outcomes in seniors," said Cari Jo Clark, ScD, lead author of the study and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. "What is unique about our research is that we have taken this to the neighborhood level instead of just looking at the individual." 

Social Support Is Invaluable 

Clark and colleagues at the University of Minnesota and Rush University in Chicago studied 5,789 seniors with an average age of 75, living in three adjacent neighborhoods in Chicago. Researchers interviewed the participants about their neighborhood and their interactions with neighbors. Using the National Death Index and Medicare claim files, they identified 186 stroke deaths and 701 first strokes over 11 years of follow-up. In their analysis, they factored out potential contributing variables such as socioeconomic status and cardiovascular risk factors like high blood pressure, smoking, physical inactivity, diabetes and obesity. The researchers used questions measuring "cohesiveness." They asked how often—often, sometimes, rarely or never—the following occurred in each neighborhood:

 



Refer a Friend

Know someone who can use a hand? We can speak privately with your family or friends about how we can help. We have caregivers all over.

It starts with a complimentary consultation where we meet with the family to see what the greatest needs are and to set goals for daily living. We can meet in your home, your friend's home, or our offices - whatever is most convenient. Senior Helpers makes life easier.

Please call us.
 If you are already our client we will give you $100 credit toward services when your friend has received 40 hours of service from Senior Helpers!

Thanks for taking the time to read and learn!

Sincerely,
Senior Helpers team