6 Things You Can Start Doing Today for Healthy Aging
Lifestyle and overall health are big drivers in aging well, and you can always make changes to improve your experience! Check out these six things you can start doing today for healthy aging: Healthy Eating + Hydration Eating a fresh, healthy diet while limiting processed food and staying hydrated are essential for your health and disease prevention. Healthy foods and hydration not only improve your health, but can also improve your mood and energy levels. Sleep If you are 65+ you need between 7-8 hours of sleep. If you’re not getting quality sleep this could affect your mood, memory, weight, immunity heart disease or even shorten your life expectancy. If you nap, do so before pm, exercise early and start a bedtime routine to wind down and limit screen time 30 minutes before bed. Exercise Regular exercise and stretching can improve your balance and keep your body strong and limber which can help prevent falls by 21%. You don’t have to run a marathon to see the benefits. A couple days of exercise per week can also benefit people with heart disease, help brain health, boost your mood, arthritis, diabetes and chronic conditions. Preventative Care There are many preventative screenings that can help you live longer so that you can focus on enjoying life. The good news is, Medicare covers preventive screenings in full! We broke down a few key screenings here:https://vricares.com/preventative-screenings-by-age-gender/ Social Relationships Loneliness can have a devastating effect on your mental health as well as your physical health. Keep connected with neighbors, engage in the community with volunteer work or community centers, use technology to keep in contact or play games. Support System Your support system should include loved ones and tools to make it easier to maintain your health, like emergency response systems. Learn more about VRI’s connected solutions here: https://vricares.com/how-it-works-signal/ 6Tips_AgingDownload
STROKES: Know the Warning Signs
Strokes are the No. 2 cause of death worldwide and the leading cause of disability. Getting someone to the hospital within three hours of symptoms gives them the best chance for treatment and recovery, so it is important to know the warning signs. Just remember to FAST: Face Dropping When you smile, does one side of your face drop? Arm Weakness Try lifting both arms, does one drift downward? Slurred Speech Recite a simple phrase, does the speech sound different that itnormally does? Time to Call 9-1-1 If you’re seeing these signs, it’s time to call 9-1-1 Strokes-TipSheetDownload
Combating Compassion Fatigue
If you are a caregiver, you know providing support can be both rewarding and exhausting. Caring for people can cause compassion fatigue by creating stress and trauma. It is important to know the signs of building compassion fatigue and steps you can take to combat it. Signs of Compassion Fatigue: Loss of empathy Feelings of burnout and numbnessHeadaches, nausea or dizziness Difficulty concentrating or making decisionsFeeling detached or self-isolation Self-blame or dwelling on thoughtsIncrease, anger, irritability, sadness or anxiety Tips to Combat Compassion Fatigue: Try to get some exercise or walk each day Schedule out breaksStay connected with friends or loved ones Talk to a therapist or join a support groupMake sleep a priority Continue doing activities you enjoy Learn More: Here are 2 great resources you can visit for more resources if you’re feeling compassion fatigue and need some guidance:http://www.compassionfatigue.org/http://www.healthycaregiving.com/ CombattingCompassionFatigueDownload
Tips to Stay Hydrated During the Summer
With the hot, summer months upon us, it is important to not only stay cool, but also stay hydrated and about 20% should come from your food alone! Staying hydrated helps rid your body of waste, helps regulate body temp, lubricates joints, and protects tissue. Here is a quick guide to help you stay hydrated and avoid dehydrating foods and drinks. Hydrating: Drinks – Water, milk, fruit infused water, sportsdrinks with electrolytes, 100% fruit juice(low sugar), coconut water, caffeine-freetea, milk alternatives (soy, coconut,almond). Foods – Watermelon, spinach, tomatoes,strawberries, bell peppers, radishes,pineapple, cucumber, grapefruit, iceberglettuce. Dehydrating: Drinks – Avoid sugary or caffeinated drinks such asalcohol, coffee, teas, soda, hot cocoa,lemonade, sweet tea, energy drinks,flavored milk, smoothies (excess sugar). Foods – Avoid salty, processed foods like,dehydrated meats, breads, pancakes,waffles, canned foods, soy sauce, highprotein meats, fast food. Hydration-Tip-SheetDownload
Caregiver + Family Meeting Communication Tips
5 Tips on Discussing Decisions with Family Caregiving is a huge task alone, and coordinating those efforts with other loved ones and family members can be complicated. Here are 5 tips to try to help you navigate these types of meetings to help them be less stressful and more productive: ATTENDANCE CALL! Family can mean a different thing for each person, but this meetingshould include everyone who would be part of the Caregiver teamand the decision making. This could also change based on the topici.e., if the topic is finances, this may only include immediate family.Agree ahead of time with the group who should be involved ininfluencing which topic. PREPPING YOUR COMMUNICATION Before your meeting, prepare an agenda and distribute it to all whowill be attending the meeting so that everyone can gather theirthoughts prior to the discussion. You can also make thecommunication more convenient for all involved by offering flexiblemeeting options, like video calls, conference calls, or meetingrecordings. MEETING SUCCESS Host meetings in a safe, neutral place for the entire group. Thisallows each participant to contribute easier and feel involved in thecare coordination planning. FAMILY DYNAMICS + CHALLENGES Family dynamics can be complicated. Remind all participants of thegoal of the meeting, refrain from bringing up off-topic subjectmatters, and include a neutral mediator as necessary. WRAPPING UP Make sure everyone is aligned before you finish the meeting byreviewing decisions, action items, owners, and deadlines. Then, sendout a recap to the group so everyone can reference the same list. FamilyDecisionTipsDownload
Preventative Screenings By Age + Gender
There are many preventative screenings that can help you live longer so that you can focus on enjoying life. The good news is, Medicare covers all costs of screenings that it considers preventative! We broke down a few gender specific screenings in a quick guide for you to download. PreventiveScreenings_VRI-1Download
8 Red Flags to Help You Avoid Fraudulent Scammers
While people of all ages can fall victim to scams, seniors are often targeted and lose more than $3 billion per year in fraudulent scams. Watch and listen for these red flags to help protect yourself and loved ones: WIRE TRANSFERS Wire transfer requests are often made as funds are instant and harder to pull back. If a wire transfer is being requested, ask yourself: -Do I know the recipient? -Am I confident I owe the money? -Should I run this by someone else? DEMANDS FOR SECRECY Scammers will often pressure you by creating fear and demanding you keep the transaction a secret from your loved ones. While they may try to persuade you that it is for your benefit, there is no reason that an official agency would tell you not to share information with your support team. GIFT CARD PURCHASES Fraudulent requests often include gift cards as they are harder to trace or recover than funds that are transferred or wired. If someone is requesting several, high dollar gift cards, stop! Legitimate companies will never request gift cards as payment. HIGH PRESSURE CONVERSATIONS Scams usually include a sense of urgency to prevent you from talking to your support team. If someone is demanding funds immediately, pause, talk to your support team, and ensure the request is legitimate. TOO-GOOD-TO-BE-TRUE OFFERS If an offer is too good to be true, it is probably is just that. If someone is offering to overpay for something if you wire them a portion back, if they promise an exceptionally high return on your investment, etc. – talk to someone you trust to see if they think it might be a scam! Real companies will not ask for payment to give you a prize. GOVERNMENT AGENCIES + UTILITY COMPANIES Someone calling posing as person collecting for the IRS, social security, the bank, or utilities companies. If you get a call requesting money from one of these institutions tell them you can call them back. Proceed to call the company with it’s public phone number and ask them if they have called requesting money. FAMILY OR ROMANTIC IMPOSTERS Is a family member or loved one acting out of character? Some scammers will pose as loved ones or romantic interests with claims that they urgently need money for visas, medical emergencies, or to visit. When loved ones act out of character, ask other loved ones if their story is accurate before sending funds. COMPUTER TECH SUPPORT Your computer will not send you a pop up ad with a support number to call. However, these ads can appear. Often, they will be directed to someone who requires money for a fix that you did not need in the first place. Do not call or click these links. People lose an average of $500 per “support call”. 8Flags_Fraud-1Download
4 Tips for Bathroom Safety
Nearly 200,000 people are injured in their bathrooms annually, and one of activities most likely to cause injury is getting in and out of the bathtub. Seniors are often at the highest risk for bathroom injuries, but these tips can help reduce risks. Prevent falls with these 4 tips:1. Place no-slip strips or mats in the bottom of your shower.2. Install safety handles in the tub or shower and by the toilet to make getting up and down easier.3. Keep a no-slip rug or bathmat beside the bathtub or shower to avoid falls.4. Vision issues increase your fall risk, so make sure you have bright lighting that’s easy to reach. In addition to preventing falls, it is important to have support quickly when you need it. Consider resources, like VRI’s water resistant emergency response pendants, to connect you to assistance at the press of a button. 4 Tips for Bath Safety PDFDownload
6 Ways to Stay Engaged
If you haven’t heard by now, social isolation is taking it’s toll on not only the elderly, but people of all ages. There is a higher rate of anxiety and depression now more than ever. We have complied a list of fun things we can all do to stay connected and wanted to share some ideas with you. DRIVE-IN MOVIES You may have seen these starting to pop up again during COVID so do a quick google search to see if there is one close to you! We’ve also been seeing people projecting movies onto a building wall and gathering at a safe distance. Don’t forget the candy! DIGITAL DINNER Agree on a set dinner time and invite your friends or family to eat with you. This can be a great time to catch up especially with those who live alone. WEEKLY GAME NIGHT Everyone agree on a game and go around playing via Zoom! BOOK CLUB Keep your mind sharp! Meet every week online to discuss a book of choice. WINE TASTING Everyone orders the same bottles of wine and have one person lead the tasting. Don’t drink? Try different brands of Root Beer! STAY FIT Connect your fitness tracker of choice and challenge some friends to a step or fitness competition TRIVIA NIGHT One person leads the questions and everyone writes down their answers. Need a cash prize? Say hello to our friend, Venmo! Download
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.
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.
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.