When you retire, you finally have all the time in the world to get out and do the things you love instead of sitting at a desk all day.
But did you know jumping back into your favorite hobbies or finding a new adventure to try can power your brain to ward off memory loss and dementia? When seniors keep their minds and bodies active, they actually create new neural pathways in the brain to help keep it agile for years to come.
Here are a few fun-filled activities with memory-boosting benefits:
One of the biggest risk factors for memory loss and dementia is a sedentary lifestyle. By switching your recliner for a bike and your TV for a book, you can help prevent the cognitive decline that threatens the independence of so many seniors in their golden years. For additional brain-boosting games, apps and ideas, visit the AARP Staying Sharp website.
Seven Foods to Stock Up on to Slow Down Memory Loss
When we reach middle age, memory loss can leave us hanging at the worst moments. We always seem to misplace our car keys as we’re running late for an appointment. Or, we’re stuck playing a mental game of Guess Who? when we run into someone familiar at the grocery store, but just can’t recall how we know them.
While we can’t completely stop age-related memory loss from occurring, we can slow it down and minimize its side effects. And one of the best ways to build up our brain is by eating a balanced diet—in fact, researchers found that the Mediterranean diet, rich in vegetables and fruits, lean protein and essential fatty acids, is associated with improved cognition and a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Here are some of those memory-boosting foods to always keep in your kitchen:
Altering your diet is a critical step in protecting your brain health, but it’s not a cure-all. If you find yourself mixing up or forgetting common words, getting lost while driving, experiencing changes in your mood for no reason, or having trouble completing daily tasks, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider to diagnose any underlying conditions that may be affecting your memory.
For those members of the Greatest Generation and their children, the Baby Boomers who are entering their own golden years, Memorial Day holds a special place in their hearts. If they didn’t serve themselves, there’s a good chance their spouse or their parent did. In fact, 50 percent of U.S. veterans are age 65 or older.
Giving the seniors in your family the chance to honor those service members who have passed can make Memorial Day even more meaningful to them. Between the BBQs, the baseball games and pool time, it’s important to recognize what this day is truly about, especially with those who it touches the most. Here are six ways to help your loved one honor the holiday:
With most World War II veterans and their spouses now in their late 80s and 90s, it’s more vital than ever to recognize their experiences and capture their stories, whether you celebrate the holiday with them at a special event or in the comfort of home. We at AccuCare Home Health Care of St. Louis thank those seniors we serve for their service and honor the sacrifices they and their families made to give us the freedom we enjoy today.
Seniors in St. Louis need home health care services for any number of reasons, but one of the most preventable is stroke. Each year, 795,000 Americans will suffer a stroke, and for the thousands who do survive, the road to recovery can be a long one as many patients work to overcome limited mobility, speech and swallowing impairments, and memory loss.
May is Stroke Awareness Month, making it the perfect time for a quick refresher on protecting yourself and your loved ones against this devastating blockage to the brain and what you can do if you suspect someone is suffering a stroke in order to save their life.
Going on the defense
Although age, race and family history can all increase your chance of a stroke, 90 percent of risk factors can be thwarted by following a healthy lifestyle and properly managing—or even overcoming—chronic health conditions. While the risk for stroke doubles each decade after age 55, you’re never too young to start taking steps to protect yourself.
Know the signs of stroke and the steps to take
Because stroke is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. and a leading cause of short- and long-term disability in seniors, knowing the signs of an attack and what do to in the heat of the moment can be life-saving. Getting a victim care within three hours of the first symptoms can significantly improve their chance of recovery.
The National Stroke Association has created F-A-S-T, an easy-to-remember acronym you can use to jump into action at the first sign of a stroke, whether in a loved one or in yourself:
Being aware of the signs of a stroke could make a big difference – it could even save a life!
When it comes to one’s healing, health and happiness, houseplants are a pretty powerful force, especially for those who spend a great deal at time in the home or are homebound.
No longer just pretty décor, plants, ferns and flowers have found their way into many seniors’ overall care plans. While their main job is to help make breathing easier for patients by removing toxins from the air and upping oxygen levels, the additional advantages they offer can improve a senior’s overall quality of life:
If your aging loved one is unable to participate in the activities they once enjoyed, growing and taking care of houseplants is a hobby that almost anyone can do, even with limited mobility. And the health benefits make it worthwhile for anyone, not just senior citizens.
Finding low-maintenance houseplants
Studies show that houseplants can give seniors a sense of control and boost their self-esteem as they watch their plants grow and thrive. Therefore, it’s important for you and your loved one to choose plants together and select ones that are indoor-friendly for best results. A few good options include:
Succulents – While they may be the plants of choice for trendy Millennials, succulents, like aloe, jade plants and hens-and-chicks, are ideal for anyone working on their green thumb since many are simple to care for. Seniors can easily maintain a few plants or create an indoor succulent garden.
Peace lily – The peace lily requires a living space that mimics its home in the rainforest—a warm environment, lots of water and little light. When properly cared for, its white blooms make it a beautiful accent to any home. However, it can be poisonous to pets, so use caution in a home with cats or dogs.
Devil’s ivy – Otherwise known as a pothos plant, devil’s ivy gives your loved one creative control over how they want their plant displayed. Depending on how it’s planted and cared for, devil’s ivy can climb up a trellis, sit in a traditional flower pot on a shelf or table, or flow down from a hanging basket.
African violets – For those who prefer colorful flowers to ferns and ivy, African violets add a pop of pink, purple or yellow year-round. Just be sure to avoid watering the leaves and flowers to prevent discoloration and set them next to a west- or south-facing window so they can soak up the sunshine!
Snake plant – The snake plant, also referred to as mother-in-law’s tongue, adds visual interest to a room with its vertical leaves that reach for the sky and its snake-like stripes. Best of all, it requires little care—just keep out of direct light and water only when the soil is dry.
Other easy-to-care-for houseplant varieties include peperomia, spider plants, English ivy, asparagus fern, and calathea. To find the ideal plant for your loved one’s home, talk with a St. Louis garden store or other local plant expert. They’ll not only provide recommendations for hearty plants, but will also share tips for keeping them their healthiest in the months to come.
Springtime has finally arrived. We are all so excited to see new growth in the grass, trees, and flowers, not to mention sunshine and warmer weather! Unfortunately, the bright beauty of spring comes with a price: allergies. Mold, pollen, and ragweed are not only a problem outside, but they’re also sneaky little troublemakers, always finding a way to slip into a house undetected. In fact, 67 percent of indoor pollen concentration is due to the pollen outside.
For the elderly and those facing serious lung and pulmonary disorders, allergies can mean more than itchy eyes and a runny nose—they can trigger life-threatening conditions, including chest tightness, asthma attacks and shortness of breath. In St. Louis where we’re known for our allergies as much as our Arch, having your defense up is critical to your health, as well as your aging loved ones.
Keep allergens outside where they belong by following a few simple tips this spring:
Starting with these six steps can have you well on the way to stopping spring allergies. If you or your loved one is still coughing, sniffling and itching, it might be time to dig deeper into where these sneaky little allergens are hiding. Of course, if relief cannot be found, be certain to schedule that physician appointment. We wish you a happy, healthy spring!
Often times, individuals with chronic illness must also cope with the isolation of being homebound. Issues with mobility, vulnerability to infection or cognitive impairment may prevent participation in activities that were once held dear. The resulting loneliness can be almost as painful as the chronic illness itself, affecting both the patient and the family members or friends who serve as caregivers.
Finding joy in the everyday can mean the difference between heartache and happiness. While your loved one may not be able to take a run in the park or go to church every week like they used to, there’s still fun to be had and new things to experience. These activities have been proven to help lift the spirits and improve overall wellness:
If you or a loved one has a condition that requires you to stay home much of the time, don’t allow isolation to exacerbate your condition. Consider these small steps that may improve your daily life, health, and well-being!
When you spend your days caring for a partner or relative, you tend to forget someone who needs just as much love and support.
As a caregiver, you deserve a little me-time each day to de-stress and recharge. But a lack of time, others’ needs and even guilt may hold you back from practicing the self-care we all require for our overall physical and mental health.
According to AARP, 22 percent of caregivers say their health has declined due to stress. And when stress is long-term and toxic, it can lead to a higher risk of depression, obesity and life-threatening illnesses. That’s why fitting in a few minutes to take a walk or read a book isn’t selfish or indulgent—those few minutes can prevent the burnout that affects your ability to care for your loved one.
So how can you fit in self-care?
The experienced staff at AccuCare understands the struggles caregivers face and is here to support you at every step. Contact us today to learn how our care team can take some of your stress off your shoulders and give you the break you need to be a better caregiver overall.
For many people, Valentine’s Day is when you show the special person in your life just how much you care for them. However, as a round-the-clock caregiver, you demonstrate true love each and every day, giving your whole heart and full attention to the person who needs you the most.
This holiday, we want to celebrate you and everything you do to keep your loved one home with you. Here are just a few reasons why caregivers like you are so amazing in our eyes:
At AccuCare, we appreciate how much you take on as a caregiver. That’s why we’re here for you when you need us, offering experienced professionals and custom care plans to help your loved one stay at home for as long as possible. To learn more, contact us today.
AccuCare owner Jacque Phillips was recently interviewed on the podcast Mich Mash! Listen to her story and some of the great insights she has into helping people live a better life.
Jacque: Sometimes you just need a little touch to remain independent.
Jacque: Sometimes you need somebody just to heat up your dinner and cut up your food. But you can do everything else, or go grocery shopping. Just very simple, little things. Sometimes just getting dressed.
Mich: Yeah, right, and we-
Mich: We don’t … like you don’t know until you get there that wow, this is really a difficult thing for me.
Mich: You know?
Jacque: And I realize it every year I get older, I’m like, wow, why did I think when I was 22 this was never going to happen?
Mich: I know, I think we’re in denial-
Mich: About it all times. Yes, no, I’m with you, I get it. I do the same thing.
Jacque: But now I go into clients’ homes and they’re 95, and I’m like going … that’s my next stop.
Mich: I’m going to get there someday.
Jacque: I better do what I can do right now.
Mich: But you so know the right people to help you out, so-
Jacque: Oh, yes. Oh, yes.
Mich: But your staff is … I mean, you’ve had staff that have been there forever and a day, right?
Mich: You take a lot of pride in your staff, and acknowledging them and their awesomeness.
Jacque: Yes, I have a lot that have been with me for 10 or 15 years.
Mich: That is so cool.
Jacque: Yeah, it’s great-
Jacque: They care.
Mich: When should people reach out to you?
Jacque: Usually … it’s usually a family member, sometimes it’s a spouse, sometimes it’s a child, an adult child. When they have concerns about safety. That usually is the trigger point.
Jacque: Or if there’s been an accident or an incident where they end up being hospitalized, their loved one ends up being hospitalized, then it’s like, I can’t come home and do what I was doing. So maybe it’s a short term recovery thing, or maybe it’s just a little bit of help at home, and then it ends up expanding and being 24 hours, seven days a week.
Jacque: It’s all different, everybody’s an individual, everybody has their own personal life, and what we do is very personal. It’s very personal. And it’s just important that we respect everybody that we take care of. We allow them to continue to have dignity, and as much independence as possible while remaining safe.
Mich: Right. So … and then a little piece of mind to the families, or family members. And that has to really help, you know, we see these people that are now taking care of their parents, as an example, and they get fatigued, there’s a caregiver fatigue. So it’s … I mean, what an awesome thing to know that there’s someone I can call and get a break.
Jacque: Oh, yes. It’s … you definitely need … we call it rest, but care.
Jacque: You need a break, and I really try to work with the caregivers, because they feel guilty if they leave for five minutes. They don’t want to leave their loved one alone. But they also feel stuck. And basically, I just feel this way in life. If you can’t keep your own bucket, or your own soul fulfilled by taking care of yourself, you won’t have anything left to give to others.
Mich: Right, yeah.
Jacque: So it’s like they have to get a little break to go … even get their nails done, or just have a break to walk in the park.
Jacque: Just be themselves, and be with themselves instead of always worrying about being the caregiver.
Mich: So one of the things I know … you know, and like we hear so much about it is Alzheimer’s. And that has got to be a really difficult thing for a caregiver to deal with.
Jacque: It’s extremely difficult. As a caregiver, but even more as a caregiver loved one.
Jacque: Because there’s lots of times they don’t recognize you, it’s a lot of repetitive thing, there’s a total cognitive disconnect. And you can say things and it doesn’t connect.
Jacque: So it just is very sad, very emotionally difficult to deal with, and I don’t know if you’ve been in an emotional situation. For me, it’s more draining than the hardest physical workout I’ve ever done.
Jacque: The emotional pull and push of having a loved one that is … suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Jacque: We get a combination of both, and they kind of overlap, but Alzheimer’s is something very specific. Dementia, they all fall … kind of follow a lot of the same ways, which are cognitive decline.
Mich: And it’s kind of like they have to say goodbye to their loved one while they’re still alive.
Jacque: Yes, yes.
Mich: You know? We talk to … yeah.
Jacque: My mom was … lived a lot longer than she was with it, so it was like, okay, this is not my mom. I mean, it’s physically my mom-
Jacque: But mentally, it’s not my mom.
Mich: But I was … my grandmother was-
Jacque: So I learned a lot, yes.
Mich: Yeah, and it was just … you know, at one point I was like, this isn’t my grandma.
Mich: I just didn’t … they didn’t feel … it looked like my grandma, but just didn’t feel like my grandma.
Mich: And she was doing things that grandma doesn’t do, so-
Jacque: Didn’t act like your grandma, yeah.
Mich: Yeah, you know, and it was … so that was my grandma, but watching my mom go through dealing with that, it’s just heartbreaking.
Jacque: Very heartbreaking.
Mich: You know.
Jacque: It’s so difficult.
Mich: So you were saying … we were talking about the difference between like Medicare, Medicaid, you know, you’re up on all that. What … enlighten us on that.
Jacque: I think for laypeople it’s hard to understand, but … it’s just, it’s very simple and I just want to kind of go through real quickly. So Medicaid is when you don’t have much money, you have to have less than $20,000.00 in assets. And there’s certain care that can be had through that, a lot of care, and when people call me I try to educate them so that they can get the proper care and head them in the right direction to either get Medicaid certified, or … or to access the services.
Jacque: Because they’ll have caregivers come in, help clean your house, they’ll … I mean, they’ll-
Jacque: Take care of you, and there’s a fair amount of Medicaid services you can get, which are free. So just because you don’t have money, you’re not stuck.
Jacque: There are some limitations, of course. That’s Medicaid. Medicare is basically … there are always exceptions. Medicare is if you’re over 65, doesn’t matter how much money or what socioeconomic bracket you’re in, you can qualify for Medicare services. But they’re short term acute. It’s basically, there has to be an incident, accident, you have to have a hospitalization, some reason to get into an acute setting, where you need … or just a new diagnosis as a diabetic.
Jacque: So you need to be taught something by a nurse, or you need some physical therapy because you’ve broken your leg, or had a hip replaced.
Jacque: So that’s short term acute, they come in, they visit, they do some teaching. They teach your caregiver, who might be your spouse, or a loved on to help care for you. That’s short term. Usually if it’s not anything serious it’s about a six week duration.
Jacque: Sometimes it doesn’t even last that long. So that’s Medicare. And then I say an offshoot of kind of Medicare is Hospice, because it follows some of the same rules of Medicare, but the key thing is it doesn’t have to be an accident or injury, it has to be basically … you’re probably going to die within six months.
Jacque: And we’ve had people graduate from Hospice. They all the sudden did a turn around, and they’re alive-
Jacque: And it’s eight or nine months in, and the Hospice is like, “We can no longer justify these services.” And those are free services too, those are paid for by the government-
Jacque: When it’s not shut down.
Mich: Yeah, right. Oh-
Jacque: It’s still paid for by the government, but I-
Jacque: And I don’t do any of those services. We will help with the Hospice services and fill in with the Medicare services if there’s something they don’t cover, we’re just private pay.
Jacque: You have to pay out of pocket. But we will work side by side with Medicare and Hospice, and do every day. To fill in the little gaps.
Mich: Right. And so you can kind of help guide people a little bit-
Jacque: Oh, yes.
Mich: Like this is what is going to be covered-
Mich: You can do the following things, you have rights to this-
Mich: And then we’ll do this part.
Mich: Very cool.
Jacque: Yes. And I like to let them know what other services are out there.
Jacque: And if there’s something I can’t help them with, I like to … you know, give a recommendation of people that I’ve checked out that are good people.
Mich: So you’re very successful at this, ma’am. But when did you know? What was your hundredth monkey moment? When was the time you went, “Yep, this is what I’m doing?”
Jacque: Well, I searched for about a year, I was working in a big hospital as a nurse on a floor, and going up the chain of command and becoming assistant head nurse, and acting head nurse, and I was just like … this is really not about the patient, or making the patient better, or being proactive at all. It’s really a big business.
Jacque: And I understand it has to be, but I was like, I need to do something that’s more impactful, that makes me feel better, and fulfilled by being able to give what I can give and use my knowledge to help make people have a better life. The best life they can have. So I kind of thought about that, and interviewed for jobs for over a year, and then I left my big hospital job and started working for a home healthcare company, which was a national company, and I started their private duty side of that company. And I’m like, I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know what I’m doing. So, and then while I was working there, probably within the first six months, I hired a nursing supervisor who later became my business partner. She’s like, “We can do this ourselves.” I’m like, “Yeah, we sure can, we can probably do a better job of it.”
Jacque: So … I was there for not much over a year, and then started out on our own. I started when I was 26, my first company, with a business partner.
Mich: That’s awesome.
Mich: And so then you just knew, “I want to do this differently and better.”
Mich: “And so I’m going to start … ” which, that’s the mother of invention, right?
Mich: Usually you say, “I know a better way to do this.”
Jacque: Yes. And I feel like I could do a better job for them, and then it was way more fulfilling for me, because I was passionate about doing the best I could.
Mich: And I mean, I’ve seen the testimonials. I mean, people … you are doing right by people. You do exactly what you say you’re going to do, and you don’t disappoint. So thank you for that.
Jacque: Yeah. Well, I’m not perfect. I’m a nurse, I’m a caregiver. I love taking care of people. I’ve learned over the years I have to take care of myself as well.
Jacque: But … I just love doing what I’m doing, and I think passion just shows through, and I … you have to worry about the money, but the money really follows if you’re doing something that you’re passionate about.
Mich: Right, right.
Jacque: If you’re doing it from your heart, it works. So …
Mich: So where can people find you?
Jacque: We are on Old Olive Street Road in Creve Coeur, but most importantly it’s Accucare.com. A-C-C-U-C-A-R-E dot com. Or my phone number is 314-692-0020, which is answered 24/7.
Jacque: And people [crosstalk 00:11:33].
Mich: And you have a great Facebook page.
Jacque: Oh, yeah, thank you.
Mich: Say, “And find us on Facebook,” come like the Facebook page.
Jacque: Okay, find us on Facebook, come like our Facebook page. Yes, and LinkedIn, and all those good things that … I don’t know about.
Mich: All that crazy social media stuff, right?
Jacque: All that crazy social media stuff, Mich, that you are so great at.
Mich: Well, you guys are great, it’s fun to work with you. And I mean, I love … I love people that … I mean, that understand, you know, that it is … we need to represent you well, and you guys give us a lot of great information, and it’s wonderful, so thank you.
Jacque: You’re welcome. There’s so much education we can help people with, and you’re helping, being a great conduit to do that.
Mich: Aw, thanks. Well, everybody out there, we’ve been visiting with Jacque Phillips with Accucare, thank you so much for what you do.
Jacque: You’re welcome.
Mich: All right. See you all next time on 100th Monkey Business.
Jacque: Bye bye.