I’m Not Ready for That!

I’m Not Ready for That!

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We all await milestones in our younger years, like getting a driver’s license or graduating high school. Those are exciting times, but later in life, we can become overwhelmed or perhaps even dread what aging may have in store for us.

The good news is that aging can be enjoyable with the right daily support and healthcare. It’s all about prevention, and outpatient therapy is one of the best preventive measures.

Preventative Therapy

Many people think they have to be recovering from an illness or surgery to qualify, but thankfully, those are not the only reasons. You could be eligible for outpatient therapy if you’re feeling weak, losing balance, or having falls—or even close calls! Therapy can help you work to prevent a fall.

By avoiding a fall, you could be saving yourself from a serious setback. Injuries from falls can result in ER visits, hospitalizations, and nursing home stays. One fall can increase the risk of leaving the home where you’re most comfortable. A therapy evaluation can evaluate your balance and strength and determine if you qualify for outpatient therapy services.

Along with this evaluation, therapists may also visit your home to assess your surroundings and identify any risks that increase your chances of falling. They may recommend making changes to enhance access to areas of your home or small additions like grab bars to keep you safe.

Home Health Services

You may achieve a better outcome by combining home health services and outpatient therapy. Home health offers a registered nurse to visit your home to provide help according to your goals.

If you need education to manage a new diagnosis or an ongoing health condition such as diabetes, home health visits can help you prevent unwanted setbacks. Managing life-limiting health conditions can put significant demands on anyone. The travel time alone to pharmacies and clinics and navigating waiting rooms to get care and consultation can feel like a full-time job.  Home health can add a layer of convenience to allow you time to rest and return to feeling better versus going into a clinic setting for every treatment.

From dietary education from a registered dietician to receiving IV fluids under your own roof, home health can be a helpful investment in your future. The more your health is managed or, better yet, stabilized, the less likely you will require frequent clinic and ER visits or hospitalizations.

Prepare For the Changing Seasons

As you prepare for the “ber” months this year (September, October, November, and December), consider what would help you stay well this winter. Cold days, snow, and ice can reduce activity levels. Instead of losing strength this season, think about how adding a home health service or two could help you to maintain or improve your abilities.

Connect with us if you think home health services could be right for you or a loved one. Simply reaching out to discuss concerns and needs is just that; it does not guarantee services, but talking through it can provide peace of mind to know if it might be time. We are also happy to help our patients explore insurance coverage to relieve any worries that home health services will cost too much.

Contact us at info@caringedge.com. We’re here to help those on the road of aging to have peace of mind!

Safety Tips for the Outdoors this Summer

Safety Tips for the Outdoors this Summer

senior man hands spraying mosquito / insect repellent in the for

Summer months are so enjoyable and precious that most people want to soak up every second of the beautiful rays. It’s important to make memories while the weather is nice, but having some sense of safety before spending time outside can help you enjoy the season!

Drink Up:

While summer happy hours abound, it’s a good idea to use moderation with sugary sweet teas or those with a little kick. Too much sugar, caffeine, or alcohol can put you at risk for some unwanted souvenirs this summer!

Caffeine might help you stay up to enjoy everything from sunrises to fireworks at night. However, add some water alongside your coffee cup to stay balanced, as caffeine can cause dehydration.

Opt for refreshing beverages with fresh fruits and garnishes, and go easy on the sugary ones or cocktails. No one needs a UTI from lots of sugar or to risk a fall because the only beverage option contains alcohol. These can be tasty, but consider drinking them in moderation and alongside a glass of high-quality H20 for the win!

Staying Sun Safe:

The sun can provide us with many good things, but too much can backfire and keep you stuck indoors the next day. Sunburns are nothing to mess with.

Keep the SPF 30 handy, along with a hat. A cool pair of shades complements any look! Don’t forget to reapply your sunscreen if you’re in and out of the water or spending a marathon amount of time outside. Keep some moisturizer handy after your day of basking, too.

Don’t Let the Bugs Get the Best of You!

The downside to picnics can be the ants—it’s inevitable. Thankfully, many sprays and even more natural options are available to help keep the pests away. Here are a few ideas:

Mosquito-Repelling Granules: There are several options on the market, but “Mosquito Beater” has great natural properties that can keep bugs away from your lawn without the chemical smell.

Bug Zappers: These come in several sizes, including fun tennis rackets for kiddos or adventurous adults. They are especially handy for the mosquitos that invade your home!

Citronella Candles: These tend to have less chemical scent and can add some nice ambiance to any patio party. Just remember to keep the kiddos and pets away from the flame.

Thermacells: These devices are available as lanterns and table décor and can be clipped to your belt. Each Thermacell contains a fuel cell and a small sheet coated with an insecticide that heats up, creating an almost odorless barrier for bugs. While very handy and effective outside, the components for Thermacells must be re-ordered to remain bug-free all summer.

Bug Spray: Good old-fashioned bug spray to the rescue can work wonders while you’re enjoying an evening outside. Consider keeping an extra can in the car so you’re armed and ready for the skeeters everywhere you go.

Clothing: Depending on your color preferences, a few scarf options and colorful bracelets containing bug repellent are available. For those adventuring deep in the woods, there are mosquito net suits and hats to keep you off the menu for the mosquitos.

Bite Relief: If you get mosquito, gnat, or horsefly bites, consider having an itch remedy handy. From lotions and sprays to small sticks that fit nicely in your purse, there are a few ways to alleviate the irritation. Tea tree oil rollers can be quite effective if you like a natural option.

Don’t Get Ticked! Wood ticks can be teeny-tiny these days. Cover yourself and use repellent if you like hiking in the woods or tall grasses. After your day, take a shower or bath to help reduce the risk of a tick bite.

If you get a tick bite, try to identify the type of wood tick that bit you and when you may have been bitten so you can follow up with your medical provider to create a care plan. Those little ticks can cause big problems, from paralysis to flu-like symptoms, so awareness is important.

Stay Safe All Year!

While summer safety tips are nice for the season, what about the rest of the year? Could you use some help to keep your strength so you can keep enjoying an active lifestyle? Are you struggling with staying balanced and strong or managing your health?

If you or a loved one is aging and beginning to feel the effects, and you’re worried about maintaining your independence, CaringEdge can help! From outpatient therapies to home health services, we can add a layer of safety and independence that can last throughout the year, and we can come to YOU. Connect with us at info@caringedge.com

These Boots Are Made for… Walking Month!

These Boots Are Made for… Walking Month!

walking

May is National Walking Month. It seems like a fitting time to celebrate because it’s also Nurse’s Month, and no one gets their daily steps in like a nurse on the go!

Getting plenty of exercise and hitting step goals can seem easy while we’re feeling our best, but as we age, we can slow down, and we may not even realize it. Decreased movement can creep up and become problematic after retirement or reducing our workload. While not everyone is headed out to do a marathon, regular walking is a great way to maintain mobility, strength, and long-term independence.

Benefits of Walking:

  • Strengthens bones and muscles
  • Reduces stress
  • Enhances energy
  • Fortifies the immune system
  • Improves sleep quality
  • Brightens your mood, reduces anxiety, and improves depression
  • Increases your balance and coordination
  • Helps to ease arthritis
  • It may lower your risk of developing a chronic disease

After a day’s walk, everything has twice its usual value.

—George Macauley Trevelyan

Common Barriers to Walking:

Finding Relief

Unfortunately, as we age, if we don’t move it, we lose it, so it’s best to address mobility issues as soon as possible. If you are experiencing barriers to everyday movement like walking, don’t delay speaking with your medical team.

Whether you have discomfort when you move around or you’ve slowed down a bit, your doctor may be able to find a root cause for your issues. They may also be able to order physical or occupational therapies.

Outpatient therapists can teach you how to move in a way that limits your pain and maximizes your independence. They can also help you find ways to move to decrease your risk of falling.

Lastly, if you need mobility aids such as a cane or walker, outpatient therapists can help you find safe options. Canes and walkers are not one-size-fits-all. Sure, they’re available at medical supply shops, but they are all different, and some devices could cause harm if they’re not the right size for your needs. Outpatient therapists can help you find the best devices and teach you how to use them so you can enjoy moving again!

How to Make Walking Fun:

  • Speak with your doctor about any discomfort when you walk to learn the root cause before you begin.
  • Find a walking partner (join a group or think about starting one).
  • Scope out a beautiful place to walk, such as an established path at a local park or a trail near lakes and rivers.
  • If the outdoors isn’t safe for you, consider walking at your local shopping mall during quieter times, or find out if your local schools allow hallway walking.
  • Wear bright, easily visible colors.
  • Keep your hands open to catch yourself if you have a fall (avoid holding phones or water bottles).
  • Watch the ground and everything around you for uneven ground or potential obstacles that could trip you up.
  • Carry a light bag such as a waist pack or backpack to keep a few essentials handy and your hands free.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Wear comfortable shoes with plenty of grip.
  • Dress for the weather.
  • Start small and increase your daily steps/distance as you gain confidence and ability.

If you are in a bad mood, go for a walk. If you are still in a bad mood, go for another walk. Hippocrates

If you’re interested in how CaringEdge’s outpatient therapists can help you get back on your feet, contact us at info@caringedge.com.

Celebrating the Hope of Outpatient Therapy!

Celebrating the Hope of Outpatient Therapy!

April is Occupational Therapy Month and Parkinson’s Awareness Month. What do the two have in common? Occupational and other therapies can help those living with Parkinson’s!

Before we explain how occupational therapy can help Parkinson’s, let’s shed some light on this disease. Parkinson’s is a progressive neuromuscular disorder or a neurodegenerative disorder that results in the loss of dopamine-producing cells (neurons) in the brain. Many theories exist on why these neurons die, but no single cause exists. To put it into perspective, let’s explore what dopamine in the brain does.

Dopamine helps motor signals find their way to the cerebrum and the motor neurons in the body. If the signals get “stuck” or can’t find an open pathway, we lose motor initiation and motor control, leading to symptoms such as:

  • Stooped posture
  • Back rigidity
  • Flexed elbows & wrists
  • Tremors in legs
  • Masked face
  • Forward tilt of the trunk
  • Reduced arm swing
  • Hand tremors
  • Slightly flexed hips & knees
  • Shuffling, short-stepped gait

Common earliest signs of Parkinson’s:

  • Fatigue
  • Decreased ability to smell (which may also lead to appetite changes and weight loss)
  • Constipation
  • Small, cramped handwriting
  • Voice changes
  • Stooped posture

The early signs of Parkinson’s disease often go unrecognized. The body tries to alert you to this movement disorder for years before movement difficulties are generally even recognized, and your body compensates for these early warning signs. However, more noticeable symptoms occur as the disease progresses to the mid-to-late stages.

Four major characteristics:

  • Tremors (shaking that occurs at rest)
  • Stiffness in the arms, legs, and trunk
  • Slow movements
  • Problems with balance and a tendency to fall

Secondary symptoms:

  • Reduced arm swinging when walking
  • Tendency to get “stuck” when walking
  • Tendency to fall forward
  • Muffled, low-volume speech
  • Blank facial expression
  • Decreased blinking and swallowing

Lesser-known symptoms:

  • Increased risk of melanoma (skin cancer)
  • Flaky white or yellow scales on the skin, known as seborrheic dermatitis
  • Sleep disturbances with vivid dreams
  • Hallucinations
  • Difficulty with visual-spatial relationships
  • Problems with attention and memory
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Muscular pain

What Relief is Available?

Therapies, in general, help those who wish to maintain their independence. Occupational therapy, or OT, can help those living with Parkinson’s to learn how to complete daily tasks in a way that reduces pain and increases safety.

OT is beneficial for those trying to maintain independence while living with Parkinson’s disease because the focus is on safe movements that you need to make as you go about your day. From safely showering, dressing, and completing other hygiene-related tasks to preparing food and cleaning up your home, occupational therapy helps you learn how to keep everything you need to do throughout the day to remain healthy.

Physical therapy can also help those with Parkinson’s disease with motor control, gait and balance training, and posture. Here are some additional specialized treatments that can offer relief to those living with Parkinson’s:

LSVT BIG® and LOUD®

Since 1987, individuals have been experiencing the benefits of amplitude-based treatment developed by Dr. Lorraine Ramig called Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT LOUD). It is based on the principle of “recalibrating” the understanding of using the voice to provide for increased volume, clarity of speech, and facial expression. A specially trained speech therapist directs LSVT LOUD and follows a specific dosage for optimal results. More recently, LSVT BIG has been developed with the same principles of amplitude-based training and recalibration from LSVT LOUD, but this time to focus on the body’s overall movements. Certified physical and occupational therapists lead the participant through a one-on-one, intensive four-week program to optimize the performance of walking, balance, dressing, handwriting, and whatever other tasks are meaningful to each participant.

Parkinson Wellness Recovery (PWR!)

Parkinson Wellness Recovery (PWR!) is a model of fitness and health for life developed by Dr. Becky Farley in 2010 for individuals with Parkinson’s disease. It creates a natural flow to and from group fitness classes and skilled one-on-one therapy with a certified PWR! occupational or physical therapist to decrease symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and promote an optimal quality of life. PWR! uses four primary movements, PRW! Up, PWR! Rock, PWR! Twist and PWR! The steps that work to counteract the symptoms of stiffness, slowness of movement, incoordination, and reduced body awareness are commonly found in individuals with Parkinson’s disease. PWR! builds physical, cognitive, and emotional health through specialized delivery of service and through empowering participants to live well every day.

Rock Steady Boxing

Empowerment and hope are the keywords for Rock Steady Boxing. This one-of-a-kind program is designed to knock out the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease through a specially designed non-contact boxing program. It optimizes physical fitness and provides a non-traditional support group where participants and their care partners unite to fight against Parkinson’s disease. Whether you consider yourself an athlete or not, this program is for you!

With the help of CaringEdge’s outpatient therapy services, there is hope for those facing Parkingson’s disease or even those typical problems that can accompany aging! We can help those in need to find relief and comfort. Reach out to us today at info@caringedge.com to learn more.

Get Some “Spring” in Your Step!

Get Some “Spring” in Your Step!

caringedge gait speed image

Perhaps you’ve had a recent fall or a near miss or didn’t move as much as you would have liked this winter. Aging, injuries, stiffness, and being cooped up indoors can slow us down. The good news is there’s room to improve!

Did you know that walking speed can predict the future of your independence? Research shows that the slower someone walks, the more likely they are to have difficulty with tasks of daily living, more likely to have falls, and more likely to be hospitalized! This is astounding information, and many don’t realize that gait speed can be tested and improved.

What is Gait Speed?

How fast someone walks.

A Gait Speed Evaluation Can Predict:

  • The risk of future falls
  • If assistance may be needed with tasks of daily living/personal care
  • Life expectancy

Why Complete a Gait Speed Analysis?

If you’re falling, losing balance, or you’ve started to slow down, the test may help indicate if you’re at risk for further decline. It can help your healthcare providers create a plan of care to help you improve. Sometimes, the plan can include outpatient therapies along with the recommendation for having help with tasks of daily living to reduce your risk for further decline.

How Long Does the Test Take?

Under five minutes!

What do I have to do?

Walk as usual for a short distance while you’re observed by clinical staff.

Gait Speed Analysis by CaringEdge:

 Our physical therapists can offer a gait-speed analysis evaluation. Depending on the results, you could be eligible for regular and routine physical therapy. Physical therapy has been proven to improve independence and safety and, ultimately, enhance your quality of life!

A free gait speed analysis can provide a consistent, reliable, and statistically relevant way to track and prevent falls and calculate the risk for further decline. The scores can also be documented as a data point that we can re-screen regularly to monitor the residents’/patients’ mobility, safety, and risk level with functional mobility.

Demystifying Gait Speed:

Many seniors feel that they have to slow down when they walk. While this rings true when walking on icy or uneven surfaces, it’s not so true for walking around your home daily to complete the tasks you need. The slower seniors walk around their homes, the more likely they will have a trip or a fall.

We say it often: you lose it if you don’t use it. A gait speed analysis can be a great starting point to help you get back to doing the things you want to be doing again. We’d happily meet with you, assess your condition, learn your goals, and create a care plan. Best of all, we accept Medicare for our home health services! Therapies can typically be covered to keep out-of-pocket costs minimal or completely erased.

Your future is now! Let CaringEdge’s therapists and home health get you back to feeling your best. Reach out to us today at info@caringedge.com.

Don’t Go Falling for It!

Don’t Go Falling for It!

senior man climbing upstairs with walking stick

The majesty of winter is here. You’re bundled up and headed out to adore the beauty and ope! You’re staring up at the universe faster than you can say the word ice.

We’ve all been there. When we were young, we might have a good laugh over it. When we begin to age, each fall can cause panic. So, how do you avoid these nasty little blunders when old man winter sets in?

  • Walk like a penguin with a wide stance
  • Wear ice cleats (YakTrax is a familiar brand)
  • Keep your hands free to catch yourself
  • Use railings whenever it’s possible
  • Keep snow melt or sand handy for sprinkling
  • Take someone’s hand—only if it’s safe
  • Avoid rushing
  • Bundle up (dress for the slide, not the ride—this is usually advice for being on a motorcycle, but it can apply to winter, too)
  • Go through the snow if it’s safer (wet feet/clothing is no fun, but falls can be worse)

What to do After a Fall

If in doubt, have your doctor check you out! Sometimes, you dust off and get up and limp away, only to find that three days later, you’re struggling with pain in your lower back.

Be diligent and seek care if you have any thought that you’re injured, and ALWAYS see a doctor if you hit your head from a fall. It’s just better to be safe than sorry for falls.

It’s also important to track how many falls you’ve had. Those who have fallen often need to see their doctors to learn the root causes. It’s not always a slippery floor. There could be several factors putting someone at risk.

When you see your doctor, list all your symptoms and any changes to your sleeping, eating, or activity patterns before you visit. If you’re taking supplements and medications, be sure to bring a current list and be honest about how you take your medications. If you forget now and again, offer that information, too. Your doctor is not there to scold you, but they want the best for you. Clarity is essential to receive the best treatment!

Home Evaluations & Therapy Services

Therapy services from CaringEdge can help! Our physical and occupational therapists can help you get back to working order if you’re falling or at risk of a fall.

Our occupational and physical therapy staff could give you a lot of tips to improve your safety. One of the most important things they can recommend is the placement of grab bars around your home.

Grab bars are often found in the shower or bathroom, but they should always be purchased and installed by someone knowledgeable about how they work. Stick-on or suction grab bars are unlikely effective and could pose a danger if they come unstuck as you fall and grab them.

Check with your doctor to see if you qualify for outpatient or home health therapy services, or contact us at CaringEdge at info@caringedge.com. We aim to help as many seniors as possible to live independently and safely!