The staff at Southern Arizona Eldercare would like to wish everyone a very Happy Easter!
With the temperature heating up and summer right around the corner, staying hydrated is a very crucial part of staying healthy- especially for seniors. Not only do our bodies need water to survive, but consuming water also protects body tissues, lubricates joints, stabilizes body temperature and gets rid of waste. On average, men should consume approximately 3.7 liters of water and women should take in 2.7 liters; this of course is different for everyone and varies depending on level of exercise and other medical issues.
Many of us unfortunately don’t prefer drinking a lot of tasteless water.. So, let’s look at some of the alternatives: Try squeezing some fresh lemon in your water, add water flavoring (you can find flavor packets at the local grocery store), drink tea (hot or cold), try propel, zero water, or another similar product and eat a lot of fruits or vegetables. Fruits and vegetables contain a large amount of water, so you’re basically eating your water in the fruits and veggies.
Staying hydrated in Arizona can be difficult- especially for those of us who dislike drinking plain water. Staying conscious of your water intake and drinking even when you’re not necessarily thirsty can be the difference between staying hydrated and becoming dehydrated.
~Staff at Southern Arizona Eldercare
One concern of many aging adults is difficulty sleeping. Although our bodies require less sleep as we age and people think of troubles sleeping as a part of growing older, it’s necessarily not. Some very severe sleeping problems or insomnia in the elderly are caused by poor sleeping habits, side effects of medications or medical conditions.
It is extremely important for Elderly adults to get a good night’s sleep; lack of sleep can suppress cell repair and the immune system, the ability to concentrate and one’s memory. So, what are some tips to a better night’s sleep?
1. Keep the room dark
2. Limit intake of all fluids just before going to bed to avoid frequent urination
3. Limit caffeine intake
4. Do not drink alcohol prior to going to sleep
5. Avoid spicy foods prior to going to sleep
6. Don’t go to sleep hungry
7. Avoid taking too many naps during the day
These tips may not work for everyone and some elderly adults may need to take an over the counter or prescribed sleeping medication to aide in their sleep. If you or your elderly loved one believes insomnia may be the reason for lack of sleep, it could be beneficial to consult a doctor.
Adults of all ages should have a living will to ensure their wishes are carried out should something happen to them. As we age, it is more imperative that we have documentation for our health wishes along with any financial requests should we pass. These documents not only give our family members peace of mind knowing that our wishes are taken care of, but also alleviate the burden of having to deal with assets and any other financial decisions. Some helpful documents to have in place are:
- Durable power of attorney- This document gives one person the legal right to conduct matters involving real estate, banking, financial investments, government benefits, beneficiary and estate transactions and any personal maintenance issues.
- Healthcare power of attorney- This allows one person to make health care decisions based on your wishes should you not be able to speak for yourself.
- Living will- This document contains any end of life wishes that you would like to be carried out upon passing.
- DNI/DNR- A do not intubate or do not resuscitate are put in place when a senior does not wish to receive life saving measures. A Do not intubate order states that the person does not wish to have a breathing tube inserted to keep him or her alive, while a do not resuscitate prevents medical personnel from providing CPR.
- Advance Directives- These documents can be some of the most important documents seniors can prepare. Typically, advance directives are a collection of written instructions for a person’s medical care and end of life comfort preferences. These documents include the extent of life saving measures a person wishes to receive such as organ or tissue donation, use of a feeding tube, resuscitation of any kind or the use of life support, dialysis or breathing machines.
No one wants to have a conversation regarding end of life decisions, but it is something we all need to consider to ensure our wishes are carried out. If you or a loved one needs help completing or understanding any of these documents, feel free to contact our office; we can provide assistance at no cost to you.
~Staff at Southern Arizona Eldercare
As we age, dealing with stress becomes more detrimental to our overall health. Stress can come from many different things and can be harmful to seniors. Stress is the body’s way of reacting to something around it by releasing chemicals into the blood. When this happens, muscles become tense, blood pressure and heart rate rise, breathing becomes faster, sleeping becomes difficult and immune activity decreases.
The more we allow ourselves to become stressed, the more likely we are to encounter the physical, mental and emotional symptoms of stress. We have listed a handful of things seniors can easily do to help calm their stress and put their minds at ease.
- Take a walk (or a stroll if you’re in a wheelchair). The combination of being outdoors in fresh air along with light exercise can reduce the levels of stress hormones in the body.
- Try breathing exercises. Taking a few moments to really focus on your breath will calm your mind and release tension in your body.
- Massage therapy is another great way to release tension in your body. Massage relaxes the muscles in your body while ridding it of harmful toxins.
- Use a stress ball. Squeezing a ball may sound silly, but you can actually release tension simply by squeezing the ball.
- Play with a pet. Pets are fun loving companions who love attention.
- Maintain strong social connections. As we age, we tend to lose some of the people around us so having a strong bond with friends and family is very important. Having someone you are able to talk to and spend quality time with is key to your emotional health.
- Move your body. Many seniors have a hard time getting around, so moving in any way you can is a helpful way to reduce stress. Even if you’re only able to raise your arms above your head and take a few heavy breaths, which could be enough to decrease some of the stress you may be feeling.
- Finally, do something you love. Doing something you enjoy gives you pleasure, allows you to clear your mind and re-energizes you.
Stressors are everywhere in our lives and come in many different forms. Realizing what stresses you and finding a way to productively encounter the stress is an essential part in maintaining your health.