8 Respiratory Care Tips
Did you know that nearly 37 million Americans live with a chronic lung disease like asthma and COPD, emphysema and chronic bronchitis? That is why it is so important to stay active, breath deep, toss those cigarettes and remember to laugh! We’ve all heard that laughter is the best medicine and in lung health, it’s true! Laughter helps to get rid of stale air so that more oxygen can enter. Not only that, but, it release peptides that lower stress and help with pain management. At VRI, we’re here to help, even if that help is to tell you a funny joke. Toss the cigarettes: Over time cigarette smoke destroys lung tissue and may trigger changes that grow into cancer. If you smoke, it’s never too late to benefit from quitting. Minimize exposure to pollution: Secondhand smoke, chemicals in the home and workplace, and radon all can cause or worsen lung disease. Make your home and car smoke free. Test your home for radon. Avoid exercising outdoors on bad air days. Stay Active: Aerobic exercise provides the best workout for your lungs. The more you exercise, the more efficient your lungs become. Creating strong, healthy lungs through exercise helps you to better resist aging and disease. Even if you do develop lung disease down the road, exercise helps to slow the progression and keeps you active longer.Breathe deep into your diaphragm: Deep breathing helps clear the lungs and creates a full oxygen exchange. Breathing exercises can make your lungs more efficient. As you inhale count 1-2-3-4. Then as you exhale, count 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8. Shallow breaths come from the chest, and deeper breaths come from the belly, where your diaphragm sits. Be aware of your belly rising and falling as you practice. When you do these exercises, you may also find you feel less stressed and more relaxed.Prevent infections: A cold or other respiratory infection can sometimes become very serious. Wash your hands often with soap and water. Avoids crowds during the cold and flu season and remember to get your flu vaccine every year!Sit up tall: Since the lungs are soft structures, they only take up the room that you make for them. Lean back slightly in a stable chair, lift your chest and open the front of your body as you breathe deeply.Stay hydrated: Getting enough water is as important for the lungs as it is for the rest of the body. Staying well hydrated helps keep the mucosal linings in the lungs thin. This thinner lining helps the lungs function better.Laugh!: Laughter helps to get rid of stale air so that more oxygen can enter. Not only that, but, it release peptides that lower stress and help with pain management. Download VRI’s Repiratory Care Tips Here
5 Tips for Seniors to Beat the Heat
As we welcome the warmer weather of summer, it is important to make sure you are taking extra precautions to avoid the downsides of increased temperatures. Establish good air. Whether you enjoy some air-conditioning, use your ceiling fans, or open windows to allow for air circulation, make sure your home has good air flow to keep you cool. Minimize the sun. Heat from the sun can increase quickly. Use your shades to block light into your home during the day, and minimize the amount of time you need to be outside when the sun is out. Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is always important, and it is an essential component to staying cool. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Stay active safely. Continuing to stay active is important – but do it in a safe way! Take part in indoor, air-conditioned activities, keep activities to the coolest parts of the day, or try our local pools to stay fit and cool. Watch for warning signs. Heat exhaustion signs include fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and headaches. If you begin to see these signs, get help! Contact a friend, neighbor, or press your personal emergency response button to connect to VRI so that you can get help. Download VRI’s tip guide here.
5 Tips to Stay Independent As You Age
No one wants to relinquish their independence. As we age, the challenges to maintain it do as well. Luckily, there are a few things we can do to help preserve our independence: Staying fit. Exercise can help improve balance, keep your bones strong, and prevent many health conditions that could compromise your independence. Ask your physician what activities might be right for you to stay fit and active. Staying balanced. Falls can be detrimental to health and confidence when it comes to independence. Working on building your balance can help prevent falls form happening. Talk to a physical therapist about activities you can do to help build your balance. Removing hazards. Many homes have several fall hazards that are easily removed. Consider evaluating your space and removing items like throw rugs, loose carpets, clutter, and cords to prevent falls. Staying engaged. Independence is more enjoyable when you engage with people you care about. This can not only keep you sharp as a tack, but it can enhance your happiness. Whether it is a regular volunteer opportunity or visits with friends and family, keep up the conversations. Asking for help. Independence can change over time, and that’s ok! Sometimes, preserving independence means asking for help. Build out your support network with friends, family, and even organizations like VRI who provide emergency support and reminder calls to help keep you independent. Download VRI’s Tip Sheet here.
6 Tips to Make Your Home Aging Friendly
You have enjoyed your home for years, and you want to stay in it. However, what you need from it changes. Some simple modifications can help make you house better supportive of your continued independence as you age: 1. Light it up. Great lighting can help prevent falls by helping you see where you are going. Look through your home and check to see if there are areas that could use better lighting. 2. Add support. Getting up from a seated position can be tough. Consider adding support bars in bathrooms, next to seats, and next to your bed to make it easier. 3. Remove hazards. Falls can be detrimental to your health and confidence in your home. Look for ways to prevent them by removing hazards like rugs, cords, and clutter. 4. Step less. Having at least one no-step entry into the home can reduce fall risk as you go in and out of the house. Small ramps can easily be added to remove steps into your home. 5. Consolidate rooms. Reduce the amount of times you need to go up and down stairs by consolidating your highest use areas onto the first floor of your home. 6. Add resources. From electric stair lifts to emergency buttons, like those provided by VRI, adding resources to your home can make moving around easier and connect you to help when you need it. Download VRI’s Tip Sheet here.
5 Resources to Help Seniors Stay Independent
There is a plethora of resources available to support seniors stay independent, but it can be difficult to know where to start for your own support or that of a loved one. If you are beginning to think through ways to stay safely independent, here are a few organizations to consider looking into: Area Agencies on Aging While all AAAs offer five core services under the Older Americans Act (nutrition, caregivers, health and wellness, elder rights and supportive services), the average AAA offers more than a dozen additional services, including insurance counseling, case management and Senior Medicare Patrol. Contact:n4a.org202.872.0888 Meals on Wheels Meals on Wheels America is the leadership organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based programs across the country that are dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger. This network serves virtually every community in America and, along with more than two million staff and volunteers, delivers the nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks that enable America’s seniors to live nourished lives with independence and dignity. Contact:mealsonwheelsameria.org/find-meals National Council on Aging Benefits NCOA is a respected national leader and trusted partner to help people aged 60+ meet the challenges of aging. They partner with nonprofit organizations, government, and business to provide innovative community programs and services, online help, and advocacy. Contact:benefitscheckup.org PACE Association PACE was created as a way to provide you, your family, caregivers, and professional health care providers the flexibility to meet your health care needs and to help you continue living in the community. Care includes medical resources, personal care, rehabilitation, social interactions, medications, and transportation. Contact:pace4you.org1-800-MEDICARE VRI Emergency response devices can help provided an extra layer of support, reducing the need for moves to assisted living communities. Our services may be available through many of the above listed organizations. Additionally, those who do not qualify may coordinate support directly through VRI. Contact:vricares.com800.860.4230 Download our tips guide here.
4 Tips to Be a Great Caregiver
When your loved ones depend on you, it can be a lot of pressure. However, there are a few best practices to providing support that can help you to be a great resource. 1. Practice Patience Your loved one needs your caregiving because daily tasks have become more challenging. This is a difficult point in life, and their frustrations may show. Practice patience while they work to maintain their independence by taking a deep breath and counting to five slowly before responding when you become impatient. 2. Reliability Rocks For many people who are beginning to need extra support, the process can be stressful. Having reliable resources is important to relieving that stress. Make it easier for your loved ones by clearly communicating when you will be there next. Try posting a calendar in a visible spot with days that you will be visiting clearly marked. 3. Feel Flexible Caregiving is often evolving. What your loved one needs today may be different tomorrow, so it is important to be flexible. Try building out your own support network and asking for help when you need to adjust your plans to support your loved one. 4. Share Support You do not have to bear the burden of providing support by yourself! Whether it is leaning on other caregivers, establishing in-home support, or setting up a network with organizations like VRI to provide emergency response devices or Companion Calls, you do not have to tackle care all by yourself. Download our tips guide here.
3 Tips to Build Your Support Network
Caregiving is a big job. As we age, building a support network does not have to mean leaning on one or two people. Instead, we can build out a network to help stay safe and preserve our independence. 1. Connect with neighbors. It takes a village, and your village is a great place to start. As you think of your support network, connect with neighbors on a regular basis who can help support you when you need it. 2. Engage in the community. Your community is a great place to give back, get involved, and build support. Whether it is volunteering at a hospital or local school, connecting with these organizations can also help you build a network of people who are as invested in you as you are in them. 3. Use technology You don’t always have to connect to your support network in person – you can build a network all over the work with technology! Whether it is a Zoom call, FaceTime chat, or using an emergency button like VRI’s Mobile and in-home solutions, support can be available anywhere. Download VRI’s quick tips here.
3 Tips to Help Seniors Stay Connected
Social isolation is a key concern as loved ones age – and helping them stay engaged and active is key to their happiness and yours. Knowing where to start can be challenging, though. We’ve found that there are a few steps you can take to create a plan. 1. Find a volunteer opportunity. Organizations like the United Way and RSVP help match individuals with opportunities to volunteer in their community. These activities can drive purpose, connection, and passion – all while helping others! 2. Go virtual. Technology is helping make connections easier than ever. Using tools like the Amazon Echo Show or Zoom calls can connect seniors to loved ones with voice commands or easy interfaces. 3. Add resources in the home. Some home care organizations can provide services well beyond skilled care, including companion visits. Also, tools like personal emergency response systems are not just for emergencies – some organizations, like VRI, encourage members to press their buttons even when they just want someone to talk with. Download VRI’s quick tips guide here.
4 Tips to Help Seniors Stay Safely in Their Homes
As loved ones age, caregivers are often challenged with considering how to help support their desire to stay in their homes safely. While there are many factors to consider, there are a few key actions that can be taken to help seniors stay in their home. 1. Create a safe environment Reducing risks for falls and installing support is an important step to adapting a home to support aging seniors. Consider removing fall hazards like rugs, improving lighting, and installing support rails in places like bathrooms. 2. Consider in-home support The day-to-day support doesn’t have to fall on one person. Consider expanding the support team for your loved one by coordinating weekly or daily support to ensure they are safe, taken care of, and fully supported. 3. Manage medications Proper medication adherence is essential to ensure a loved one’s health, but normal adherence is only around 50%. Help improve the efficacy of medications by managing use with tools like VRI’s medication management dispenser or our Companion Call support. 4. Leverage technology Many new technologies can make it easier to support your loved one from wherever you are located. Consider tools like video doorbells, video conference boxes, and emergency response buttons, like VRI’s in-home or mobile devices. Download a copy of our tips here.
6 Tips to Help You Take Your Medications
Sticking to a medication regimen can be challenging. In fact, it is estimated that adherence to medications is only around 50%. However, adhering to prescriptions can reduce risk, help us stay healthier, and improve the efficacy or our medications. Check out these 6 tips for ways you can make sure you are taking your regular medications: 1. Combine it with a daily task Whether it is making your coffee or brushing your teeth, there are usually a few tasks that we each do around the same time each day. Add taking your medication in with the task to help stay on track. 2. Create a self-care ritual and connect it Whether it is reading the paper, talking a walk around the block, or enjoying a cup of hot tea, make time to do the things you enjoy each day. Then, combine your self-care ritual with taking your medication so that you connect the two acts together each day. 3. Set an alarm Need to take your medication at a regular time each day? Try a recurring alarm! The timed reminders will help prompt you to take your medication at the right time each day. 4. Keep it visible We are less likely to act on the things we don’t see. Keep your medications in a visible spot as a reminder to take them. 5. Use technology Technology, like VRI’s medication management solutions, can help you stay on track! With options to keep up with even the most complication medication plans, including dispensing medications up to 4X/day, these tools can be your pillbox and alarm reminder in one! Even better? These solutions can be combined with monitoring to add extra support and accountability. 6. Set up calls Whether it is a loved one or VRI’s Companion Call support, having someone check in to remind you to take your medications regularly will help keep things on track. Download a copy of our quick tips guide here.