Archive for the ‘Healthy Living Newsletter’ Category
News from ComForcare – Jacksonville
In conjunction with the North and Central Florida chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, ComForcare continues to train our caregivers (Home Health Aides and Certified Nurse Assistants) on the latest information and techniques to successfully work with clients with dementia. This allows our clients to remain as independent as possible and stay at home for as long as possible. This is a dream come true for many families, especially for couples so that they may remain together in the home. Call us for more information.
In addition to providing unparalleled care in the home, we are available to professionals and community groups to speak about Caring for a Loved One at Home; Transitions of Care: Preventing Hospital Readmission; Dementia and You – How You and Your Family Can Cope and Thrive; Stress Management – The Key to Maintaining Your Health and Well-being; and a number of other topics.
ComForcare was recently awarded a $3,500 corporate wellness grant to work with nationally-recognized Health Designs in Ponte Vedra to create and implement a wellness program for the staff of ComForcare. Thirty volunteers – both administrative and field staff – have started a year-long journey to wellness by engaging in activities to promote health and wellness and improve overall health status in the company.
Anita Leverett, Operations Director said:
“With our home health aides and certified nurse assists helping people in their homes, it is a challenge to build a cohesive program but we are doing it. By having team captains to communicate the program and be a resource for the field staff, we are committed to showing overall improvement in weight management, blood pressure and diabetes control. We are excited and fired up to be the healthiest work force we can be!”
Staying Active with Arthritis
Exercise Can Alleviate Symptoms
There are two common types of adult arthritis:
Osteoarthritis – the most common form in which joint cartilage breaks down.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) - an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the joints.
Arthritis symptoms often include joint pain, swelling and stiffness. Treatment plans may include medication, physical therapy and exercise.
Exercise can be helpful in controlling arthritis pain and stiffness and improving muscle strength, mobility and range of motion. It also helps with weight control and stress reduction.
Walking, swimming and programs that focus on balance and gentle stretching such as yoga and tai chi are effective forms of exercise that are easy on the joints.
Walking requires just comfortable clothing and supportive shoes. It can be done outdoors when the weather permits and indoors at a gym or shopping mall in inclement weather.
Yoga and tai chi also only require something comfortable to wear and shoes are usually optional. Many community centers offer affordable classes or these exercises can be done at home with a DVD.
Most communities have a public pool where people can swim laps or take aqua aerobics classes. Most large fitness centers have pools too. Of course, before starting any exercise routine, everyone with a chronic illness or condition should have it approved by their physician.
Every year since 1963, May is proclaimed Older Americans Month throughout the nation and each year the President signs a proclamation in celebration of the achievements and contributions of the nation’s older persons.
This year’s national theme is ‘Unleash the Power of Age’. Cities across the country are celebrating seniors in their own way. There are speaker series, fairs, awards ceremonies, public events and honor ceremonies for our older veterans. In Jacksonville, Wednesday, May 15 and Thursday May 16 the annual Senior Expo takes place at the Prime Osborn Center downtown feting seniors with rows and rows of booths and tables with information about area services for seniors and lots of pampering, education and giveaways to help celebrate.
Last year, ComForcare co-hosted with the Carriage Club a wonderful Celebration of Centenarians featuring 12 distinctive guests ranging in age from 98 years young to the age of 107. This wonderful panel shared with us their insights into growing well into older age with the adage – ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff’. All of us in attendance benefitted by being in the presence of these esteemed citizens and they were equally honored to be admired by an adoring audience and to be asked to share with us their stories.
The history of Older Americans month begins in 1963. At the time, there were only 17 million living Americans reaching their 65th birthday. President John F. Kennedy met with what was then the National Council of Senior Citizens, and acknowledged that the status of our seniors at the time was poor. In fact, about 1/3 of older Americans lived in poverty and there were few programs to meet their needs and concerns.
Today, there are more than 41 million Americans over the age of 65 – that is one in every eight people in our nation. In the 85 and older group, we have more than 5 million Americans. For many, their economic, social and health status have greatly been improved.
How will you celebrate Older Americans month? Just reading this article and having a greater awareness of our venerable seniors is a start. Say thank you to a senior citizen in your community, sit down with an older veteran and ask him or her to teach you about the years in the service or what it was like growing up in their era, attend a rally in their honor, and be sure to start making plans to hold an event or activity for next year’s Older Americans Month celebrations -
it’s not too early to start planning for May 2014!
Five Tips to Improve Eye Health
As we age, changes in vision are common and our risk of developing vision problems such as glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration increases.
If you are one to make New Year’s resolutions, considering adding this one to your list: “take good care of my eyes.” Your vision is priceless and you should take steps to protect it:
Have regular eye exams -Even if you are healthy and have no vision problems, regular exams can help detect the early signs of eye disorders and damage. People with certain medical conditions and those a family history of eye problems may need more frequent exams. Consult your physician about recommendations for the appropriate screening intervals for your age and health.
Protect your eyes from the sun’s rays - Always wear large sunglasses that filter UV rays and wear a hat with a wide brimfor extra protection.
Eat a healthy diet - There are many health benefits to eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. When it comes to your vision, some of these foods include vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that may promote good eye health. See the recipe below for more details.
Give your eyes a break and avoid eyestrain - Read or work in a brightly-lit space. We tend to blink less frequently when we focus, so look up or away about every 10 minutes when reading or working at a computer and about every 30 minutes when watching TV. Get enough sleep at night to rest your eyes.
Don’t ignore any warning signs - Consult a physician right away if you experience symptoms such as blurred or cloudy vision or eye pain. Many eye problems can be treated if diagnosed in the early stages.
Company Wellness Benefits Help Employees Lead Healthier Lives
Losing weight and getting fit may be as easy as participating in the wellness programs your employer offers.
Many companies are introducing health and fitness initiatives or adding to their existing wellness programs to improve employee health and reduce health care costs.
By encouraging employees to increase their physical activity and make better food choices, employers hope to help them lead healthier lives and prevent disease.
In January 2012, the Society for Human Resource Management, the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management, conducted its annual survey to gather information on the types of benefits employers offer to their employees.
The survey revealed that more than one-third of companies offered incentives for completing certain health activities. About 20% provided a discount for not using tobacco products, 15% offered discounts for participating in a wellness program and 9% provided health care premium discounts for participating in a weight-loss program.
According to a Health Affairs report on U.S. workplace wellness and disease-prevention programs, every dollar spent by employers on wellness programs resulted in a reduction of medical costs by $3.27 and absenteeism costs by $2.73.
Ways Companies are Promoting Employee Health
Weight Loss Programs – Companies subsidize all or part of the cost of weight loss programs such as Weight Watchers® and/or host on-site meetings before or after hours or during lunch. Employees report they enjoy the camaraderie of attending the meetings and losing weight together.
Low-calorie Lunches and Snacks - Whether its once a week or every day, companies have their food service vendors feature low-calorie, low-fat menu items. They also work with their vending machine suppliers to stock healthier options.
Smoking Cessation – Employers encourage employees to stop smoking and support their efforts by offering assistance such as telephone-based counseling services, subsidized access to online smoking cessation support and providing self-help materials.
On-site Fitness Centers – Companies create on-site fitness centers with treadmills, stair climbers and free weights. Many offer fitness classes such as aerobics and yoga and access to personal trainers.
Employers also offer additional programs and benefits to help with preventable and chronic conditions. These include hosting seasonal flu vaccination clinics and providing screening programs for high glucose or high cholesterol levels.
If your employer offers wellness programs, take advantage of them and if it does not, talk to your human resource representative about the benefits of these types of programs to both employee health and the company’s bottom line.
Exercise Can Lower the Risk of Diabetes in Overweight Children
Yet another study has reinforced the message that children should spend less time in front of the TV and computer and more time exercising.
According to a study published in the September 19 issue of theJournal of the American Medical Association, regular aerobic exercise can help overweight children reduce their risk of diabetes.
Today, one-third of elementary school-aged children in the United States are overweight or obese. Children who are obese are at risk of developing serious health problems, including type 2 diabetes.
The study assessed more than 200 inactive, overweight or obese children (average age of 9.4 years) and looked at how different amounts of aerobic exercise affected the following:
Researchers randomly assigned some children to the “low” aerobic training group (20 minutes per day) and some to the “high” aerobic training group (40 minutes per day). These children participated in aerobic training five days a week for an average of 13 weeks. They were then compared to a control group of kids who maintained their normal level of physical activity.
Children in both the low and high group experienced greater reductions in insulin resistance and overall body fat and abdominal fat than those in the control group.
This news points out the importance of daily exercise for healthy, fit children. Making exercise a regular habit for children is easy and fun when the family plays together. Parents can encourage daily aerobic exercise by:
Be Sun Safe to Prevent Skin Cancer
By taking precautions to protect yourself from the harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun, you lower your risk of developing skin cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, more than 3.5 million skin cancers are diagnosed each year in the United States and it estimates there will be more than 76,000 new cases of malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, this year alone.
While skin cancer can often be treated successfully when caught early, it is best to prevent exposure to the sun’s UV rays.
Reduce your risk of skin damage and skin cancer by taking these steps:
And remember these four words whenever you are about to step outside for some fun in the sun: “Slip, Slop, Slap, Wrap!”
Like other form of cancer, early detection is key to the successful treatment of skin cancer.
Have your physician check your skin during visits and be vigilant about self-examining your skin once a month. Note any new moles, changes to existing moles or anything about your skin that concerns you and notify your physician.
There is Help for Leg Pain