CareNotes: The Home Care Newsletter Vol 3. Issue 8
Letter from the Editor:
The month of September shed light on a number of important issues for the aging population, seniors and baby boomers alike, through National Cholesterol Awareness Month and with the release of The 2010 World Alzheimer’s Report for Alzheimer’s Awareness Day (the staggering global cost associated with treating and caring for those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia was estimated at $604 billion!). Each respective topic underscores the importance of taking care of oneself, both mentally and physically, by making healthy lifestyle choices and staying active. Research continues to show that mental and physical activity combined with healthy eating habits and increased social ties among other lifestyle choices can improve health and longevity. We train our caregivers in all of these areas using our proprietary program, The Balanced Care Method™, based on the longest living people on Earth.Our book, Happy to 102: The Best Kept Secrets to a Long and Happy Life, also discuss the factors needed to enjoy an improved healthspan alongside an increased lifespan and what it takes to delay or escape Alzheimer's and other chronic diseases. If adhered to, these lifestyle changes will not only slow down the process of aging, but they can also delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Take a minute to re-evaluate your current health regime to make sure you are on the road to success!
HCA celebrates September’s National Cholesterol Awareness Month
Since September is National Cholesterol Awareness Month, I thought it was an ideal time to discuss ways in which we can all work on lowering our cholesterol. Drugs that are taken for lower low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) cholesterol are the most widely prescribed drugs in the entire world. A fact that was new to me, and probably you. I read an interesting article the other day on CNN.com that talked about The National Cholesterol Education Program. The author made recommendations on how to lower your cholesterol through exercise and diet. In short, basic lifestyle changes are important in lowering your cholesterol, so that you do not feel the need to turn to prescription drugs.
Diet is also a key factor. Lowering the amount of saturated fat as a percentage of total calories is the first step toward decreasing your cholesterol – as saturated fat goes hand-in-hand with higher cholesterol. Another suggestion is to eat more plant based foods and whole grains as well as limit red meat, full fat dairy products, baked goods and fried foods. All of these dietary changes can help reduce saturated fats. The intake of soluble fiber is another dietary measure the author stresses . Foods that have high amounts of soluble fiber include oats, beans, fruits and vegetables. Soluble fibers are effective when it comes to lowering cholesterol because they trap it in the digestive tract, thus passing through your body instead of into your blood stream. Adding stanols and sterols such as vegetable oils, nuts and seeds also help decrease cholesterol levels because they compete with cholesterol for absorption into the body’s system.
Living a therapeutic lifestyle that incorporates daily exercise is also very important. Women and men with belly fat are more likely to have high cholesterol. It is recommended individuals with excess belly fat lose as much as 10 percent of one’s body weight to significantly improve health.
If you make the above lifestyle changes, The National Cholesterol Education Program claims you can avoid the negative side effects that come from cholesterol reducing prescription drugs.
Being Heart Healthy Means Being Brain Healthy
Getting plenty of exercise and eating right for the sake of good health is basically common knowledge these days. While there are hundreds of reports regarding exercise and its positive benefits on the heart, there is now exciting new research that shows exercise and diet not only keep the heart healthy, but also slow down the aging of your brain.
The study found that people whose hearts pumped less blood had smaller brains, a symptom of aging, even when people did not have heart disease. The study was done on 1, 504 individuals from ages 34 to 84. It found that 30 percent had a low cardiac index and also had a smaller brain volume than average. With less blood flowing to the brain it causes one to age faster. Those that had a lower cardiac index were on average considered to have a brain that was two years older than those with a healthier cardiac index.
These findings also pertain to middle-aged people, even though they still had normal blood flow, if they had a lower cardio index they were still considered two years older in terms of their brain than that of healthier people with a higher cardio index.
Researchers are now trying to find a link between cardio output and risk for dementia, as brain shrinkage causes cognitive impairment. Hopefully this article will give you more motivation to stay healthy not just for your body, but for your brain as well.
The Washington and San Francisco Examiner talk to HCA’s Lily Sarafan about the book, “Happy to 102″
The Washington and San Francisco Examiner interviewed Lily Sarafan, COO of Home Care Assistance and co-author of the book, “Happy to 102″ to learn which lifestyle factors can increase longevity, what goes into aging “well” and the benefits of in-home versus facility-based care.
Caregiver Of The Month
Jennifer Atkinson has devoted over nine years to working closely with seniors. She assists them not only with their daily activities, but also with maintaining their independence and quality of life. Jennifer came to Home Care Assistance with impressive experience and expertise in many areas, previously working in both facilities and clients’ homes. Despite her notable background, what makes Jennifer an ideal caregiver and role model is her ability to fully embrace The Balanced Care Method™ philosophy and incorporate each component into the care she provides her clients. Weaving The Balanced Care Method™ into her current client’s daily routine has proven vital to her overall quality of life, as she suffers from moderate stage Alzheimer's.
Each day, Jennifer makes it a priority to engage her client in indoor and outdoor activities that she knows her client enjoys and used to do in the past. She takes her on walks around the neighborhood, visits to the senior center and they bake muffins together and work on various arts and crafts projects. She has even spoken with several daycare facilities to see if they would be open to letting the two of them sit and visit with the children since the client derives such great joy and fulfillment in caring for others. The client also has an affinity for pets and so Jennifer convinced the client’s son to loan his dog to his mom for a few hours each day.
All of these combined efforts have led to a marked improvement in the client's mood, ability to communicate and level of engagement. The client's family frequently comments on these positive changes and constantly expresses their appreciation and trust for Jennifer. With Jennifer's compassion, patience, initiative and creativity, she truly exemplifies the high standard of quality care that we provide at Home Care Assistance.
Wonderful job, Jennifer – we are proud to have you as a caregiver!